Mayhem (Penal Code § 203) And Aggravated Mayhem (Penal Code § 205) Explained

Aggravated Mayhem in Criminal Law

“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

Aggravated Mayhem Cases

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.

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