If you have been charged with a crime under California Penal Code Section 203, you could be facing severe criminal consequences for a Mayhem conviction. This is a violent crime that carries some of the harshest penalties in the state.
If you have been charged or are expecting to be charged with a crime under California Penal Code §203, make sure you have a legal defender on your side who can help you secure a favorable outcome in your case.
What Is California Penal Code Section 203?
California Penal Code §203 is defined as Mayhem. This involves maliciously or unlawfully:
- Pulling out someone else’s eye
- Depriving someone else of a part of their body
- Disabling or cutting off someone’s tongue
- Disfiguring, disabling, or otherwise making another part of someone else’s body useless
- Slitting someone else’s lip, nose, or ear
Mayhem is not one of the words you hear more frequently in the criminal justice system. However, it involves some of the most violent crimes recognized by the state of California. For the prosecutor to bring forward Mayhem charges under California Penal Code Section 203, the following elements must be met:
- You must have been intentionally engaging in a wrongful act through malice.
- You must have had the unlawful intent to cause serious bodily injury or annoy another through malice.
- The alleged victim must have suffered a disfiguring or permanent injury.
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Offenses Related to Mayhem
There are several types of offenses related to Mayhem under California Penal Code §203. Some of the more common crimes include:
- Aggravated Mayhem under California Penal Code §205 – This involves intentionally causing a disfiguring or permanent disability to someone else or depriving them of an organ, limb, or another body part.
- Torture under California Penal Code §206 – You can be charged with torture if you intentionally inflicted severe bodily injury to another in order to cause extreme pain or suffering for a sadistic purpose, extortion, or even revenge.
- Battery under California Penal Code §242 – This involves the intentional and illegal use of violence or force on another.
- Murder under California Penal Code §187– If someone is killed accidentally while you were attempting to commit or committed Mayhem, you could be charged with first-degree murder. This is commonly referred to as California’s “felony murder rule.”
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What Happens if You Are Found Guilty Under California Penal Code §203
The consequences of a conviction for Mayhem under California Penal Code §203 can be severe. Generally, Mayhem may be considered a felony offense. If you are found guilty, you could spend up to eight years in a California state prison and be ordered to pay fines as high as $10,000.
If you are found guilty of aggravated Mayhem, you could expect far more severe penalties. Many people convicted of Mayhem under California Penal Code §203 have been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. You could also expect sentence enhancements if the alleged victim in your case meets any of these criteria:
- 14 years of age or younger
- 65 years of age or older
- A quadriplegic, paraplegic, or paralyzed
- Developmentally disabled
Under California’s three strikes law, if you have previously been convicted of a crime and were subsequently charged with Mayhem at the felony level, you will get an additional strike on your record. Once you receive three strikes, if you are convicted on the third strike, you could be sentenced to life in state prison.
The penalties of a Mayhem conviction could be life-altering. If you hope to protect your future and your freedoms, you need to take action on your case. Be sure to contact your criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your potential defense strategies today.
Challenging Mayhem Charges Under California Penal Code Section 203
If you have been charged with Mayhem under California Penal Code Section 203, you do not need to panic just yet. You have the opportunity to defend yourself and fight for your future. Mayhem charges will generally not be eligible for a pretrial diversion program, as these are typically only available for individuals who have committed non-violent offenses.
However, if you are a first-time offender, the prosecutor may be willing to allow you to enter into a plea agreement depending on the circumstances of your case. If the prosecutor is unwilling to work with you, or if their offer is not suited to your needs, you may need to prepare a powerful defense strategy. Some of the potential defenses used to challenge charges under California Penal Code Section 203 include:
False Mayhem accusations happen more frequently than you might think. In some cases, people who are dealing with mental health problems may suffer self-inflicted injuries and blame someone else. In other cases, the real perpetrator takes steps to convince law-enforcement officials that you are responsible when in actuality, they are the liable party.
Lack of Intent or Malice
The prosecutor can only prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt if they can show that you intended to inflict a disabling or disfiguring injury. If you did not act in malice, you cannot be found guilty of Mayhem, no matter what your actions were at the time of the event.
Acting in Self-Defense or the Defense of Others
Defense of self or others is one of the more common types of defenses against Mayhem charges. However, this defense will only apply if you reasonably believed that you or someone else was in imminent danger of physical bodily injury or death. You must have reasonably believed that the use of force was necessary and only used a reasonable amount of force to defend yourself or others against the imminent danger.
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Get Help from a California Criminal Defense Lawyer
Mayhem is a serious offense in the state of California. If you are convicted under California Penal Code Section 203, the penalties could be disastrous. If you hope to protect your future and move forward with your life, you may need to be prepared to present a powerful defense strategy.
Contact our office today to find out which options may be available to you. You can fill out our secure contact form or call us for a confidential review of the charges against you.