New York firefighter Baraka Smith was arrested at his first day at work at Engine Company 225 after an altercation in the lock room with another firefighter Salvatore Corallo took place. Smith, an 11 year veteran, is accused of putting a chokehold on Corallo until he fell unconscious. Smith’s attorney, James Kildruff, says that Smith denies the charges of assault and strangulation and says he was only defending himself. Department sources say that Smith was transferred to Engine Company 225 from a Brownsville firehouse to cool off tensions with colleagues and has had past disciplinary problems.
Under New York Penal Code Section 121.12, the crime of strangulation is considered a separate felony offense from assault when you choke another person or strangle them with the intention of stopping their ability to breath or impeding their blood flow to the point that the person passes out or is incapacitated in any other manner. The crime of strangulation has becomes a common criminal offense in domestic violence cases.
There are three degrees of strangulation that you could be charged with in New York:
Class A is a misdemeanor. This is where an individual is guilty of the criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation of another person, but no damage or injury has taken place.
Class D felony or strangulation in the second degree. This is where the victim loses consciousness, is in a stupor, or there is a physical impairment.
Strangulation in the first degree. This is considered a hate crime and carries additional penalties.
Class C Violent Felony. This is when the strangulation results in a serious physical injury or impairment or the strangulation causes death of another.
Under New York Penal Code Section 120.00, assault and related offenses, are categorized as first degree, second degree or third degree assault. Assault and battery are used interchangeably and mean that you intended to harm another person. Simple battery is considered a misdemeanor.
First degree assault. There must be intent to cause serious physically harm to someone.
Second and third degree assault. The defendant must have acted recklessly or with a dangerous weapon or was negligent. No intent is necessary.
Aggravated assault is a more serious felony offense, which means that you deliberately intended to harm, injure or kill someone, or you used a dangerous weapon to harm them.
Why You Need a NYC Strangulation/Assault Attorney
You could face serious penalties and a long prison sentence if convicted for a felony strangulation and/or assault. Therefore it is essential that you find a qualified NYC strangulation and assault criminal defense attorney to represent you.