California Penal Code Section 206 PC: Torture

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimetorture

Considered to be one of the most serious felonies in California, the crime of torture under California Penal Code Section 206 PC involves intentionally inflicting great bodily harm on another in order to cause extreme pain. Torture is a felony-level offense that carries life prison sentences.

In order to prove that someone has committed an act of torture pursuant to California Penal Code Section 206 PC, the prosecutor must be able to establish the following elements:

  1. The defendant inflicted great bodily injury on someone else
  2. When inflicting the injury, the defendant intended to cause cruel or extreme pain and suffering for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion, or for any sadistic purpose.

Great bodily injury means significant or substantial bodily injury. It is an injury that is greater than minor or moderate harm.

Someone acts for the purpose of extortion if he or she intends to obtain something from another person with the person’s consent and obtains this consent through use of force or fear.

It is not required that the victim actually suffer any pain, the statute only requires that the defendant intend to cause cruel or extreme pain and suffering.

2. Examples

A man commits an armed robbery at a local convenience store. He soon discovers that all of the store’s cash is secured in a safe on the premises. The owner of the store refuses to open the safe. The man holds the owner and burns him with lit cigarettes until the owner agrees to open the safe. This man could be charged with torture pursuant to California Penal Code Section 206 PC, in addition to robbery in violation of California Penal Code Section 211 PC and mayhem pursuant to California Penal Code Section 203 PC, if the owner maintains permanent burn scars.

3. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Battery - California Penal Code Section 242 PC
  2. Aggravated Battery - California Penal Code Section 243(d) PC
  3. ExtortionCalifornia Penal Code Section 518 PC
  4. MayhemCalifornia Penal Code Section 203 PC
4. Defenses to Torture

If the defendant lacked the intent to inflict cruel or extreme pain, he or she is not guilty of torture no matter how egregious the resulting injuries are. Additionally, if the defendant did not cause or threaten injuries for one of the purposes listed in the statute (revenge, extortion, persuasion or sadistic purposes) then that person would not be guilty of the crime of torture.

5. Penalties

Torture is a serious felony-level offense that is punishable by a life sentence in prison, with the possibility of parole. Torture is counted as a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law that can be used to enhance future convictions. The life sentence can be imposed for those who aid and abet an act of torture in addition to the one who actually commits the tortuous act.

If the act of torture results in the death of the victim, the defendant can be prosecuted for first degree murder under California Penal Code Section 187 PC. Someone convicted of first degree murder can be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole or even the death penalty.

6. Criminal Defense for Torture Cases

Torture is one of the most serious felony charges available to prosecutors, and if you or someone you know is under investigation for or has been charged with this offense, it is crucial that you meet with an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who previously prosecuted major felonies, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut possesses the legal expertise necessary to defend those charged with offenses of this nature. Mr. Kraut has established key relationships throughout the criminal justice system and is highly respected for his skills as a top-level litigator.

For more information about torture charges, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers 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.

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