Many people are not familiar with the legal definitions of mayhem and aggravated mayhem in California. These serious charges can apply if an individual is intentionally disfigured in any way. Mayhem and aggravated mayhem are considered violent crimes and they can result in harsh penalties.
The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can help you find out more about the specific definitions for California Penal Code Section 203 and 205: Mayhem and Aggravated Mayhem. Dig deeper into the penalties for convictions for mayhem as well as some common legal defenses for these criminal charges.
Defining PC 203: Mayhem
The court system in California legally defines mayhem very specifically. Individuals may be charged with mayhem if they:
- Cut or Disable and Individual’s Tongue
- Slit an Individual’s Lip, Ear, or Nose
- Take Out an Individual’s Eye
Mayhem charges can also apply if an individual disables, renders useless, or disfigures a part of someone’s body, such as an arm or a leg. Depriving someone of the use of a body part also qualifies as mayhem.
Individuals must act maliciously and unlawfully to be convicted under PC 203. This means that accidents that lead to disfiguration or disability should not be prosecuted as mayhem.
Defining PC 205: Aggravated Mayhem
In many ways, the charge of aggravated mayhem resembles PC 203. An aggravated mayhem charge requires individuals to act intentionally to:
- Cause a Permanent Disfigurement or Disability OR
- Deprive Someone of an Organ, Limb, or Body Member
PC 205 charges are generally considered to be more severe than basic mayhem charges in the state of California.
Examples of Mayhem and Aggravated Mayhem in California
Go over the specifics of mayhem and aggravated mayhem charges with these examples:
Woman A is making dinner for some friends and boiling water to cook pasta. One of her friends startles her at the stove and she upsets the pot, spilling boiling water across her friend’s chest and legs. The water causes serious burns that do not heal properly. While her friend experiences a disfigurement, Woman A should not face mayhem charges since the injury was accidental.
Woman B is worried that Woman C will get a part she wants in a play. She decides to take Woman C out of the picture by breaking her leg in the parking lot. Woman C is disabled for several months while her leg heals. Woman B could face mayhem charges for intentionally disabling Woman C.
Penalties for Mayhem and Aggravated Mayhem
Both PC 203 and PC 205 are considered felonies by the court. The penalties for these charges vary slightly. A basic mayhem conviction can lead to:
- Prison Time: Up to Eight Years
- Fines: Up to $10,000
Note that individuals may face sentencing enhancements if the victim of the act of mayhem was:
- Blind, Deaf, or Developmentally Disabled
- Paraplegic or Quadriplegic
- Younger than 14
- Older than 65
Aggravated mayhem can be punished with life in prison with the possibility of parole. Note that, depending on an individual’s intent when disfiguring or harming another person, the court system may instead use charges under California Penal Code Section 206: Torture.
Legal Defenses for Mayhem and Aggravated Mayhem
The severity of mayhem and aggravated mayhem charges call for immediate professional help. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you understand your legal options if you are charged under PC 203 or 205.
Based on the circumstances surrounding your case, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to show that:
You Were Not Acting Intentionally
PC 203 and 205 charges should only apply if you intentionally and maliciously harm another person. If you accidentally hurt or disfigure someone this is understandably very upsetting, but it is not an example of mayhem or aggravated mayhem.
You Were Acting in Self-Defense
Individuals in California have the right to protect themselves and others. This defense can involve the use of force. This means that if you are attacked – or you see someone else being attacked – and you use reasonable force that results in disfigurement or injuries, you may avoid PC 203 or 205 charges.
You Are Facing False Accusations
Not all criminal accusations in Los Angeles are brought in good faith. Sometimes, people make false accusations. Your lawyer can go over the facts of your case if you are facing false charges for mayhem or aggravated mayhem.
Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help You in Los Angeles
You can start handling CA Penal Code Section 203 and 205: Mayhem and Aggravated Mayhem charges today by reaching out to the Simmrin Law Group. Find out more about your legal situation by calling us at (310) 997-4688, or filling out our online contact form.
Let our criminal defense lawyers start helping you with a FREE case evaluation.