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New NJ law boosts consequences for strangling assault

July 13, 2021 GMT

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The crime of assaulting someone by strangling them will be punishable by up to 10 years in prison under a new law New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed on Tuesday.

The offense also can now carry a fine of up to $150,000, along with prison time. That’s up from a five-year sentence, a fine of $15,000 or both, under previous law.

Murphy, a Democrat, said the new law is based in part on research showing that strangling assaults are a red flag for domestic violence homicide victims.

“This legislation recognizes the seriousness of strangulation assault and gives us the tools necessary to hold people accountable for their actions,” Murphy said in a statement.

Advocates for domestic violence victims praised the enactment of the new law.

“A victim of domestic violence who survives a strangulation is seven times more likely to be killed by their abuser when compared to survivors who have not been strangled by their abusive partner,” said Nicole Morella, director of policy and education at the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence. “This legislation is a critical step toward holding dangerous offenders accountable, and to reduce the risk of fatal and near-fatal domestic violence against survivors.”