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Georgia prosecutor works to change choking laws

A case involving a Georgia man who received a misdemeanor battery sentence for choking his children's mother during a domestic disturbance has caused a local prosecutor and domestic violence groups to push to make this a felony under state law. This form of physical violence is currently categorized as a misdemeanor under Georgia law. Many states treat the act of choking another person as a more serious crime than does Georgia.

The prosecutor met with legislators at the end of November to discuss the issue and the need to change the severity of choking. His argument was based around how choking could kill an individual in the same way as a gun or knife. In the incident involving the Georgia man, he held a knife to his ex-girlfriend at the same time he was strangling her. The prosecutor and others arguing for the changes in state law advocate for changing the sentence for choking to up to 20 years in prison. Under current state law, individuals convicted of choking another individual can receive a sentence of a maximum of one year.

Some forms of domestic violence can be difficult for police officers to identify. Georgia police often look for certain signs, such as bloodshot eyes or a gravely voice. Police often have a difficult time prosecuting individuals for some forms of domestic violence because many victims don't press charges or report the incidents to the police.

Domestic violence is a serious and pervasive form of abuse. An attorney with experience in family law may be able to assist a client in pursuing restraining and other forms of protective orders.

Source: The Republic, "Northeast Georgia prosecutor, domestic violence advocates seek to make strangulation a felony", Joe Johnson, November 30, 2013

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