Aggravated Mayhem in California

Criminal Defense Picture

Aggravated mayhem is a crime that involves intentionally causing disfigurement or the loss of a limb, organ, or another body part. California details this statute under Penal Code 205. Aggravated mayhem is a severe offense with devastating consequences for those whom the state convicts. 

If you are facing charges for violating 205 PC, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer. There might be defenses available in your case, but you will need to discuss the details with an experienced attorney to find the best strategy. 

Understanding Charges for 205 PC

A person who commits aggravated mayhem may not intend to kill the victim but causes serious and permanent harm to the person. One example of this crime would be to remove a person's hand, finger, or other body parts in the course of an attack. Cutting a person's face to cause scars would also qualify, as would tattooing an individual against their will. 

The prosecutors must prove several factors to convict a person of this crime, including:

  • The defendant maliciously and unlawfully disfigured or disabled a person, deprived them of a limb, organ, or another body part
  • The defendant intended to permanently disfigure, disable, or deprive the person of their body part
  • The defendant demonstrated extreme indifference to the victim's physical and psychological well-being

The intent is an integral part of the crime. The prosecutors must show that the defendant was actively trying to carry out a disfiguring injury and succeeded in their effort to maim the victim. 

Penalties for Violating 205 PC

In California, aggravated mayhem is a felony crime. Felonies can result in severe penalties, including lengthy prison terms. The maximum sentence for this crime is life in prison with the possibility of parole. 

It might be possible to seek a less severe sentence depending on the specific details of the crime, the defendant's criminal history, and other relevant information. Some defenses might apply in the defendant's case and could lead to a dismissal or reduced charges.

Defending Against Charges for Violating 205 PC

One possible defense your attorney might apply in these cases is that the prosecutors lack the ability to prove each element of the crime. For instance, if the victim did not suffer a disabling or disfiguring injury, then aggravated mayhem would not be the appropriate charge in your case. The lack of injury does not mean that prosecutors would not charge you with a different or related offense, but it could potentially lead to less severe charges. 

You could also argue that you did not intend to cause disfigurement or disablement or display indifference to the other person's well-being. For instance, if you accidentally caused a disfiguring injury, you would lack the necessary intent to commit this crime. 

Your attorney may also work with you to determine whether law enforcement carried out a proper search and arrest. If the police violated your 4th Amendment rights, then the state may lose the ability to use the evidence they collected as a part of that improper search or arrest. When prosecutors lose vital evidence, they sometimes need to dismiss or alter the charges against you. Remember that the state must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a particularly difficult bar to meet.  

Similar Charges to Aggravated Mayhem

Aggravated mayhem is similar to several other criminal charges, including assault with a deadly weapon, torture, and simple mayhem. Assault with a deadly weapon, as defined in 245a1, is a crime that involves threatening a person well using a weapon such as a knife, baseball bat, or any other item that could potentially cause devastating or fatal injuries. 

Charges for assault do not include actual injury to the alleged victim. If you attempt to commit aggravated mayhem but failed to make physical contact with the alleged victim, you could potentially face charges for assault with a deadly weapon. Sentencing for assault with a deadly weapon will vary depending on whether prosecutors try the crime as a misdemeanor or a felony. Felony assault with a deadly weapon can lead to at most four years in prison. In cases of misdemeanors, the maximum sentence is one year in jail. 

According to 206 PC, torture outlaws the infliction of great bodily injury on another person with the intent to cause extreme pain for the purpose of extortion, revenge, persuasion, or any other sadistic reasons. You could face conviction for committing torture even if the victim did not experience extreme pain because of your actions. The essential factor is your intent to cause such suffering. Committing this crime can result in a life sentence. 

Simple mayhem is remarkably similar to aggravated mayhem. The only difference between the two charges is the intent of the defendant. Although a person who commits simple mayhem must intend to inflict injury, they need not intend to inflict a disabling or disfiguring injury. The sentence for simple mayhem is a maximum of eight years in prison. 

Defending Against Charge for Aggravated Mayhem

When facing charges for a crime as severe as aggravated mayhem, you will need the assistant said and experienced attorney. These charges may lead to many years in prison. With so much at stake, you must pursue every possible defense that may apply in your case.