During the 2020 Legislative Session, laws were passed that now make suffocation and asphyxiation a felony in West Virginia.
“Suffocate” means knowingly and willfully restricting the normal breathing or circulation of blood by blocking the nose or mouth of another.
“Asphyxiate” means knowingly and willfully restricting the normal breathing or circulation of blood by the application of pressure on the chest or torso.
The penalty for both Suffocation and Asphyxiation is 1 to 5 years in a state correctional facility and/or a fine of not more than $2,500.00.
These two new crimes were added to the existing Strangulation statute, codified at W. Va. Code § 61-2-9d, and go into effect on May 6, 2020.