Assault by choking is a felony in Texas. If the police are called to a home and they believe there is any evidence of choking they will make an arrest on a felony charge. The police take domestic violence assaults very seriously and will almost always make an arrest if the suspect is at the scene. If the suspect has left the scene then they will take witnesses statements and a detective will have a Judge issue a warrant at a later date.
Officers are trained to ask the victim if they experienced any problems with the ability to breath during the assault. This can happen a number of ways. A person can be choked by a hand around the throat or could have their breathing impeded by having their face pushed into a pillow or mattress during a struggle. The law doesn’t require that the victim lose the ability to breath for a long period of time. It can be a just a few seconds. If the victim tells the officers that that they did have difficulty breathing then the charge goes from a misdemeanor to a felony.
There are many defenses to choking or impeding breath cases. Since the charge is a felony the case has to go through a grand jury for it to proceed through the court system. Most District Attorney’s offices allow criminal defense attorneys to submit grand jury packets to the grand jury for review. An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to convince a grand jury to No Bill the criminal charge. A No Bill ends the prosecution.
If the case is indicted there are still many defenses available. Victims are often unreliable witnesses. Their stories change and they sometimes have motives to have a person prosecuted. The physical evidence may be very weak in the case. The first thing a person charged with a felony choking charge needs to do is hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Work needs to begin on the case right away.