OKLAHOMA CITY — The state House passed a measure Tuesday adding strangulation during a domestic violence incident to the list of violent crimes and would increase the punishment for the offense.

House Bill 3371, by Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow, passed by a vote of 93-0.

The bill would modify the penalty for assault and battery with intent to cause great bodily harm by strangulation or attempted strangulation against an intimate partner or family member.

The measure increases the punishment to not less than one year to no more than 10 years of in prison. The punishment for a second or subsequent offense is increased to not less three years and not more than 20 years in prison.

The measure also adds domestic abuse by strangulation to the list of violent crimes.

“Strangulation is no doubt a violent crime, no matter who the victim,” Ford said. “And yet our current law allows for a greater penalty for someone who strangles a stranger than for someone that strangles their spouse. This law would properly classify domestic violence strangulation as a violent crime, and would ensure the perpetrators of this crime would face a much longer sentence.”

Ford said strangulation is one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence, and a person being strangled by an intimate partner or family member is 750% more likely to be killed later by that same person.

Oklahoma ranks 20th in the nation for domestic violence.

Figures from Tulsa Police Department show there were 701 reports of strangulation in 2019, up from 234 reports in 2016. There were 1,636 reports of domestic violence occurrences or victim protection order violations in 2019.

HB 3371 now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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Rains is police and court reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @cassrains.
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