California Penal Code Section 203 PC And California Penal Code Section 205 PC: Mayhem And Aggravated Mayhem

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimesmayhem

The California legislature has recognized that attacks causing permanent disfigurement and disability should be punished more severely. As a result, someone who causes these types of injuries may be charged with mayhem pursuant to California Penal Code Section 203 PC or aggravated mayhem under California Penal Code Section 205 PC. Unlike many assault and battery offenses, the mayhem statutes are more concerned with the degree of injury rather than the amount of force used.

To prove that a defendant is guilty of mayhem, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant caused serious bodily injury when he or she unlawfully or maliciously:

  1. Removed another’s body part.
  2. Disabled a part of someone’s body and the disability was more than slight or temporary
  3. Permanently disfigured someone
  4. Cut or disabled someone’s tongue
  5. Slit someone’s nose, ear or lip OR
  6. Permanent damaged someone’s eye

Someone acts maliciously when he or she intentionally does something wrong or when he or she acts intentionally to annoy or injure someone else. A disfiguring injury may be permanent even it can be repaired by medical procedures.

To be convicted of aggravated mayhem, the following elements must be present:

  1. The defendant unlawfully and maliciously disabled or permanently disfigured another person
  2. The defendant acted with the intent to disable or permanently disfigure AND
  3. Under the circumstances, the defendant’s act showed extreme indifference to the physical or psychological well-being of the other person.
2. Examples

A man is part of a group that beats up a rival fan at a sporting event. The victim is beaten so brutally that he suffers permanent loss of vision in one of his eyes. The man could be prosecuted for mayhem due to the permanent and disabling injuries suffered by the victim.

If instead of permanent eye damage, the victim suffered cuts and bruises, the man would not be criminally liable for mayhem or aggravated mayhem. He would most likely be prosecuted for battery, aggravated battery or a similar violent crimes charge because the injuries were not permanent.

3. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. TortureCalifornia Penal Code Section 206 PC
  2. Battery - California Penal Code Section 242 PC
  3. Aggravated Battery - California Penal Code Section 243(d) PC
  4. Assault with a Deadly Weapon - California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1) PC
4. Defenses to Mayhem

The crime of mayhem requires malicious and intentional conduct. There may be situations where a person seriously maims another during an argument but the conduct was unintentional. In these circumstances occur, an accident defense may apply.

Additionally, people are permitted to use force to protect themselves or others from a reasonable threat to their lives. It is possible that someone could seriously maim their attacker in the course of defending themselves. In these cases, there would be a valid self-defense argument.

5. Penalties

Mayhem under California Penal Code Section 203 PC is a felony-level offense. If convicted, a person can face up to eight years in prison or formal probation, hefty court fines and restitution to the victim.

If the victim was younger than 14, older than 65, blind, deaf or disabled or a paraplegic or quadriplegic, the defendant can be sentenced to an additional two years in prison consecutive to any sentence.

If someone is convicted of aggravated mayhem under California Penal Code Section 205 PC, he or she can be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

6. Criminal Defense for Mayhem Cases

Mayhem and aggravated mayhem are very serious criminal offenses that carry substantial prison sentences. If you or a loved one have been charged with either of these offenses, it is imperative that you speak with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney who is experienced at handling major cases of this nature. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who has handled felonies of this nature. Mr. Kraut understands the serious consequences that conviction can cause and fights hard to defend his clients charged with such offenses. Mr. Kraut is highly regarded throughout the court system as a tough litigator who possesses a deep knowledge of the criminal law.

For more information about mayhem charges, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

Share |
Featured on CNN
ABC News
NBC News
Los Angeles Times
CBS News
The New York Times
Us Weekly
Entertainment Tonight
Good Morning America
Legal Broadcast Network
Avvo Rating 10.0
Client Reviews
Michael Kraut is outstanding! He genuinely cared about my case and instructed my mom and I throughout the entire process. He was very clear on what he needed in order to receive the best results. He kept us updated until the end. I thank him so much for getting my charges rejected. I highly recommend him to anyone with legal needs! Shaquan
I contacted Michael with concern for my personal and business reputation. He was very reassuring and confident the entire time. After about 3 weeks it was determined that no charges were being filed by any agency and I was in the clear of any investigation. One thing that is amazing is just how FAST Michael is at replying to phone calls, texts, and even emails! We are talking under 30 minutes in most cases. That is unheard of for most attorneys! Michael is incredible and not your typical run of the mill attorney. For best results hire him if you feel like you might be under investigation or could face charges. Even if you know you are innocent it is best to take care of the smoke before it becomes a fire. Brad
Michael Kraut is-hands down-the best criminal defense attorney and I can't begin to thank him for all that he did for me and my family. I reached out to him in the middle of the night and less than a couple hours later, he had gotten back to me and scheduled a meeting. He's a no-nonsense attorney who knows how to get the job done! From the second we retained him, I had peace of mind in knowing that we were in the best hands possible. If Michael Kraut couldn't get it done, I knew that it couldn't be done at all. You can't put a price tag on your freedom. He was worth every single penny. Lida
Michael Kraut is an outstanding attorney. He was extremely professional, and straightforward, yet sensitive with my case. I am confident I made the right choice by hiring Michael. I highly recommend him to anyone seeking a truly experienced lawyer. Daniel
Michael Kraut - I cannot thank you enough for all that you did for ​my son. When I came to you I read that you used to be a district attorney but I never knew how much that meant until I watch you in court. I knew it took 3 months but the final day when I heard the judge say that all charges were dismissed it was all worth it! I will always be grateful for all that you did for us. A.N.