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.