Assault is the act of threatening to cause injury on another person with the intention to do so and does not require the assaulter to inflict actual harm or injury. The prerequisite for such a charge being that the other person is aware of such threat and the consequential harm and that the assaulter is in a position to carry out such assault. If an assault is committed intentionally, then such act of felony amounts to mayhem within the purview of Section 220 of the California Penal Code which penalizes the act with imprisonment for a period up to 6 years. The elements needed to prove an assault amounting to mayhem include
(i) A person threatened another person of inflicting physical harm by applying force intentionally and unlawfully.
(ii) When the assault was committed, the accused should have been in a position to commit the act by applying such physical force.
(iii) The victim was aware that the assaulter is capable of causing physical harm or injury and that threatened him of dire consequences.
Assault and Aggravated Forms of Mayhem
In the case of assault, if the act resulted in the harm of a person other than the one intended, the law presumes that the act has been successfully committed. The assaulter will be penalized in the same manner and as if he had assaulted the original target disregarding the fact that the intention of the assaulter was not to harm the victim.
The Penal Code in Section 205 recognizes the act of aggravated mayhem as an act of felony. The accused would have committed the act in fullest legal description by unlawfully, intentionally and with disregard to the physical and mental wellbeing of the person. Such an act could cause the victim to sustain permanent disfigurement or disability such as loss of limb, an organ or member of this body.
The section does not require the perpetrator to have acted with the intent to kill within the description of the statute.
The punishment for aggravated mayhem is imprisonment with the possibility of parole. It is for the prosecution to prove the intention of the defendant to cause permanent disability of disfigurement to the victim.
Assault is one legal term that suffers misinterpretation and misrepresentation in criminal prosecution and the onus is on the legal community to ensure that the statute is rightly applied. Hope this clarifies your questions regarding and if you are still shrouded by doubts, please talk to a criminal legal practitioner.
Are you wondering what is mayhem? What are the actions that can be described as mayhem? What are the punishments for such an offense? Then please read on. You might find this article an interesting read.
What is mayhem?
Any severe assault on an individual that leaves some kind of lasting physical impact or damage is known as mayhem. So the definition of mayhem included infliction of any form of physical injury in such a way that the body part is removed or has to be removed or is rendered useless.
When are the actions that come under mayhem?
Most States in the United States have included the definition of mayhem under crimes of assault and battery. But there a few states that still define mayhem as a separate offense in their criminal code. For example in the state of California, any person who ruthlessly deprives another individual of any body part or renders it useless or inflicts such a severe injury that it has to be removed, then he is guilty of mayhem. This may include cutting the tongue or an eye, or slitting a lip or the nose.
What is aggravated mayhem?
If the defendant commits the action with complete indifference to psychological as well as the physical well being of the injured person, then he is guilty of aggravated mayhem. The injury should be a permanent one and not temporary for the offender to be convicted.
What are the punishments given to individuals who are convicted of mayhem?
For a person to lose his limb, or nose, or an eye or any other part for that matter is completely life altering. For this very same reason, the punishment given to an individual who commits such a heinous crime should be one that will deter others from committing such crimes in the future. Depending on the nature and circumstance of the offensive action, a person in California convicted of
mayhem may receive a sentence two, four or even up to eight years in prison. Also, an individual convicted of aggravated mayhem which is considered on par with criminal offense or felony can be sentenced for a life term in prison with possibility of parole. On the other hand, an individual convicted of mayhem in the state of Massachusetts can be sentenced up to twenty years in prison.
For fighting cases of mayhem avail the services of an experienced lawyer. Charges of mayhem are considered very serious and so you will need such lawyers to fight for or against such charges.
Mayhem in criminal law refers to serious intentional infliction of injury to a person’s body in parts or as a whole thereby rendering the body or part(s) useless owing to a lasting physical impact. In simple terms, mayhem is a serious form of assault that is committed intentionally. Maiming and disabling a person significantly is also accountable as mayhem. The impact of mayhem could deprive or disable the victim of a member of his body part, cut or disable the tongue, slit the nose, ear or lip.
What is aggravated form of Mayhem?
Mayhem is considered as “aggravated”, if the infliction of harm was extremely reckless and without any regard for the physical or mental well being of the victim of the attack. For the accused to be convicted, the deprivation or disablement should be permanent. In the event of death of the victim, the accused will be tried for felony and murder even though the intention was only to commit mayhem. The accused would be charged in such a case for first degree murder and consequentially could potentially face the death penalty, life imprisonment with or without parole depending on the State laws and may have to spend a major or rest of his life in prison; twenty-five years of life in prison would by all means qualify to be construed thus. Aggravated mayhem however if proved may lead to conviction for life term.
Defense in Mayhem
Mayhem undoubtedly is an act of felony punishable by law. In a case involving mayhem, the defense strategy is to establish that the offence was committed either in self-defense or in defense of others. The infliction of injury in the course of defense should stand justified to be considered for invoking self-defense as defense strategy given the facts and circumstances of the case.
Enhancement of Sentence
There are instances when, person convicted of mayhem or aggravated mayhem may be imposed with enhanced sentence, adding up to 8 years additionally in prison. Conditions such as the alleged victim being blind, deaf, mentally retarded, paraplegic or quadriplegic also make the convict fit for enhanced sentence depending on the nature of the harm involved.
If the infliction of the injury causes great bodily harm (refer bodily injury definition) or such injury is caused with the intention of causing extreme pain, then the convict may have to undergo extended term of imprisonment for 3 or 6 years or as the court deems it just under the facts and circumstances of the case.
Mayhem under the Penal Code Section 203, says that every person who unlawfully degrades the physical appearance of a human being by cutting the body parts like nose, ears, tongue etc is found guilty of mayhem. In order to punish such a person you need to provide sufficient documents to prove such cases beyond reasonable doubt. Aggravated mayhem which comes under the Penal Code Section 205 involves the extreme case of changing the physical or psychological well-being of the victim.
Extreme Case of Mayhem
The extreme case of mayhem deals with the case when the defendant disfigures the victim. It can even lead to the death of the victim. Once the victim dies, because of the very act counts of felony and murder can be charged even if the intention of the defendant was only to scare the victim. In the case the victim dies due to his injuries sustained, first degree murder (coming under the Penal Code Section 187) can be charged. That person who is found guilty of such offenses can face the death penalty, along with life in prison without the possibility of parole. The defendant may have to lead twenty-five years life in prison according to Penal Code Section 190.
Scope for Defense
The defense to mayhem is similar to that for battery. In the first instance, the defense of the defendant or that of others can defeat a charge of mayhem without any doubt if they can present a case of innocence and prove it. The points on injuries caused to the victim must have reasonable justification under the circumstances. For example, consider a case when one person is held at knifepoint. To save himself the hostage may grab a beer bottle and attack the head of other person. In the means to escape from the murder attempt, one may break the attacker’s facial bones. In such a case it is not a case of mayhem and you can easily defend the case.
Another case of defense is with that of accident by mistake. For example, a cricket player who may argue with the umpire and while doing so, he throws down the ball down in anger. By accident, the ball bounces back from the ground and strike the jaw of the player standing nearby. This is also not the case of mayhem. You can defend such a case with ease.
Causing physical or mental injury is a crime and maiming the body of another through aggravated mayhem is barbaric. If proved, the guilty can get a minimum of two years imprisonment, without any doubt. It can even lead to life time imprisonment.
“Every person who unlawfully and maliciously deprives a human being of a part of his body, or disables, disfigures, or renders it useless, or cuts or disables the tongue, or puts out an eye, or slits the nose, ear, or lip, is guilty of mayhem.”
The above statement is a rather simple interpretation of Penal Code 203 PC. A person is said to be guilty of Mayhem if he causes serious injury to a person and with the malicious intent to do so. Thus in a nutshell, the elements required to prove the crime are,
(i) There was unlawful infliction of force on the victim
(ii) The force thus inflicted caused serious injuries and
(iii) The infliction of force to cause injuries was accompanied by malicious intent to do so.
Penal Code 205 PC
“A person is guilty of aggravated mayhem if he or she maims someone and exhibits an extreme or reckless disregard for the physical or psychological well-being of the victim.”
To be penalized for the offence, the following elements must be present and proved beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.
(i) Involvement of extreme or reckless disregard for the physical or psychological well-being of the victim and the defendant may be charged if he holds down the victim while disfiguring or taunts after injuring.
(ii) Such act should have been done unlawfully and intentionally
(iii) Such act resulted in permanent disability or disfigurement of the victim to the extent of depriving the victim of a limb, organ or member of the body.
Mayhem Resulting in Death
If the evidence on hand suitably demonstrates that the intention of the defendant at the time of commission of the crime was unlawful or malicious only to the extent of inflicting serious form of mayhem but unintentionally killed the victim, then the act of mayhem subjects the defendant to be convicted for first-degree felony murder and a possibility of the death penalty, life in prison without the possibility of parole or 25 years to life conviction in prison.
Mayhem is a form of felony that attracts a minimum sentence of 3 years or maximum of 8 years in
state prison while aggravated form mayhem convicts the defendant with a life sentence. Despite the fact that the act of the defendant amounts to mayhem, if such act was in the process of defending oneself or another, the act may be excused per se on the ground of self-defense.
The laws that deal with the act of mayhem, battery and assault are rather complex. Aspiring lawyers are well advised to go through a long list of cases that deals with these conflicts to get a better understanding of the same.
Have you ever got your name involved in an act of crime? Well if yes don’t get worried as you can get your name wiped off from all records just by following up a simple instruction set. You may or may not get involved in a criminal act with or without your knowledge. Whatever may be your act, you have a number of loopholes to exploit to get your name cleared. How is it done?
The amount of effort and the legal advice you required to get your name off the charge sheet depend on the harshness of the misdemeanor as well as the degree of indulgence. Basically, on the basis of the severity criminal acts are classified into three- simple, serious and C. If you are framed in an act of aggravated mayhem you would be having a hard time in getting your name of the police records.
Instructions to follow up
- Whatever may the act of crime it is always wise to head for the support and help of a legal suit or an attorney to get your name erased from the records. Talk it over with your attorney and provide him the necessary details of your position during the crime as well as the crime scene. Well, if your pockets aren’t strong enough to afford a personal lawyer you can walk into the office of the public attorney to help you out of the problems.
- The very next step after you have hired in a legal professional is to attend your arraignment. This would be scheduled to the first week post the incident. The judge would go through the physical evidences if any and the charge sheet that has been filed by the investigating authority. now you can file in the plea. You can file in a guilty, not guilty, and ‘nolo contendere’ plea. Consult with your lawyer before you file in the plea.
- Follow the instructions that your lawyer has given you. Talk and consult with your lawyer to have your sentence minimized if you have submitted in a pleads guilty or nolo contendere.
- Try to attend all the hearing dates as per scheduled to you. During the period of your trial you would be asked in to remit court fee and other monetary penalties. You can ask your attorney to file in the necessary details to get your name off aggravated mayhem accusation.
Your lawyer can then use the evidence as well as your cooperation with the police and your willingness to come clean to influence the judge that you have turned a new leaf in life or are wrongly blamed for the action of others.