Arrests Made Under New Strangulation Law 

Police in the Richmond region appear to be making use of a new law that makes strangulation a felony. In Richmond, Henrico and Chesterfield counties, police have made 124 arrests under the law since it went into effect July 1, 2012.

The law defines strangulation as impeding a person's circulation or respiration "by knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully applying pressure to the neck" and causing injury. It's a class six felony, which carries a prison term of between one and five years or, at the discretion of a jury or judge, "confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both." 

The passage of the law surprised some people. Wasn't it already illegal to strangle someone? Yes — but the charge that typically resulted was simple assault. In domestic-violence situations, even if "they've got a whole heck of a lot of bruises, that [was] still a misdemeanor assault," explains Sgt. Faith Flippo, the Richmond police officer in charge of youth and family crime in the major crimes division.

Strangulation is a common and serious crime, according to Safe Harbor, a local nonprofit that helps survivors of domestic violence. While victims may not show outward signs of injury, they may suffer long-term physical effects, Safe Harbor says. Nationwide, 10 percent of violent deaths are caused by strangulation.

Chesterfield reported the most arrests under the new law, charging 62 people with strangulation from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013. During roughly the same period, Henrico officers charged 38 people with strangulation and Richmond police made 24 strangulation arrests.

The ability to make these arrests seems to be a helpful tool, Flippo says, but it's judges who will have to get used to the new law. "So, in theory, it's a good law. In practice, we're still working that out."


Latest in News and Features


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Connect with Style Weekly

Most Popular Stories

  • Off the Beaten Path

    Off the Beaten Path

    A runner and lifelong lover of the James River captures evocative images of the park system in photo book.
    • Jul 27, 2021
  • Museum Makeovers

    Museum Makeovers

    How four Richmond museums are being transformed.
    • Jul 20, 2021
  • ’Lil Bit Country, ’Lil Bit Rock ’n’ Roll, Lotta Tiki

    ’Lil Bit Country, ’Lil Bit Rock ’n’ Roll, Lotta Tiki

    Some of our favorite watering holes and what makes them special.
    • Jul 13, 2021
  • One Stop Shop

    One Stop Shop

    Jackson Ward’s beloved Stoplight Gelato set to reopen this fall with a new partner, Richmond Seltzer Co.
    • Jul 13, 2021
  • More »

Copyright © 2021 Style Weekly
Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
All rights reserved
Powered by Foundation