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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 15D: Strangulation or suffocation; penalty; aggravating factors; batterer's intervention program

Section 15D. (a) For the purposes of this section the following words shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

''Serious bodily injury'', bodily injury that results in a permanent disfigurement, loss or impairment of a bodily function, limb or organ or creates a substantial risk of death.

''Strangulation'', the intentional interference of the normal breathing or circulation of blood by applying substantial pressure on the throat or neck of another.

''Suffocation'', the intentional interference of the normal breathing or circulation of blood by blocking the nose or mouth of another.

(b) Whoever strangles or suffocates another person shall be punished by imprisonment in state prison for not more than 5 years or in the house of correction for not more than 21/2 years, or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(c) Whoever: (i) strangles or suffocates another person and by such strangulation or suffocation causes serious bodily injury; (ii) strangles or suffocates another person, who is pregnant at the time of such strangulation or suffocation, knowing or having reason to know that the person is pregnant; (iii) is convicted of strangling or suffocating another person after having been previously convicted of the crime of strangling or suffocating another person under this section, or of a like offense in another state or the United States or a military, territorial or Indian tribal authority; or (iv) strangles or suffocates another person, with knowledge that the individual has an outstanding temporary or permanent vacate, restraining or no contact order or judgment issued under sections 18 or 34B of chapter 208, section 32 of chapter 209, sections 3, 4 or 5 of chapter 209A or sections 15 or 20 of chapter 209C, in effect against such person at the time the offense is committed, shall be punished by imprisonment in state prison for not more than 10 years, or in the house of correction for not more than 21/2 years, and by a fine of not more than $10,000.

(d) For any violation of this section, or as a condition of a continuance without a finding, the court shall order the defendant to complete a certified batterer's intervention program unless, upon good cause shown, the court issues specific written findings describing the reasons that batterer's intervention should not be ordered or unless the batterer's intervention program determines that the defendant is not suitable for intervention.