House of Representatives

Bill to Add Strangulation to List of Violent Crimes Passes Committee

2/4/2020 3:15:00 PM

Contact: State Rep. Ross Ford

Office: (405) 557-7347


OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that would classify strangulation during a domestic violence incident as a violent crime and increases the punishment for the offense passed the House Judiciary Committee today with a vote of 16-0.

House Bill 3371 by State Rep. Ross Ford (R-Broken Arrow) modifies 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 from the current sentence of not less than one year nor more than three years of imprisonment to a punishment of not less than one year nor more than ten years of imprisonment. The punishment for a second or subsequent offense is increased to a punishment of not less three years nor more than twenty years imprisonment. The measure also adds domestic abuse by strangulation to the list of violent crimes.

“I have no idea why domestic violence offenses were not initially classified as violent crimes,” Ford said. “Violence is in the very name of the offense and at the heart of the nature of the crime. I am working to correct that, and starting with this bill that deals with strangulation is an absolutely necessary first step.”

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.

Figures from the 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.

Ross thanked the committee members for their support of this bill and looks forward to presenting it to the full membership of a House for a vote.