At the Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings, we represent people facing investigation and charges for violent crimes. According to California law, mayhem and aggravated mayhem are crimes that result in serious physical and emotional injury to the victim. Aggravated mayhem requires the prosecution prove the intentional and malicious nature behind the act, as well as all other elements of the crime. Riverside violent crime attorney Gregory H. Comings brings more than a decade of experience to his legal advocacy, and as a skilled trial lawyer he is prepared to work to reduce or mitigate your criminal charges.Aggravated Mayhem According to California Law
Aggravated mayhem is a more severe form of mayhem, which is defined in California Penal Code §§ 203-205. A person may be guilty of aggravated mayhem if they unlawfully, with extreme indifference to the well-being of another, intentionally cause permanent disability or disfigurement to another, or cause the loss of an organ or limb. An example of aggravated mayhem includes holding down a victim while dismembering them, or taunting a victim and psychologically harming them after inflicting physical harm. Mayhem focuses on the effects to the victim, unlike the crime of torture which may result in a conviction when the victim did not endure pain.
Disabling injuries traditionally include a broken limb, such as a leg. When a part of someone’s body is made useless, more than temporarily, it is usually deemed disabled. If a disability continues for a material period of time, it can serve as the basis for a mayhem conviction. A slight disability may not rise to the level of mayhem, but courts have held that a victim suffering an ankle injury for six months qualifies as “sufficiently disabling” according to mayhem charges.
Disfigurement refers to permanent injuries. A victim that undergoes reconstructive surgery or “saves” their body part will still be considered to have suffered permanent injury. When the defendant burns or brands a victim, or causes blindness through throwing a toxic substance, for example, this is considered disfiguring.Aggravated Mayhem as a Felony Conviction
As a felony, aggravated mayhem carries serious consequences. Felony convictions can result in the loss of the right to hold certain public offices, and the loss of the right to possess a firearm. A felony conviction remains on permanent record, and individuals often face challenges securing housing and employment. Due to the serious nature of the crime, punishment for aggravated mayhem may include a sentence of life imprisonment. In certain situations, it may be possible to receive parole.
In some instances, a defendant may face charges for mayhem and torture. According to CA Penal Code § 206, torture occurs when the defendant inflicts great bodily injury on another, with the intent to cause extreme suffering and pain, for the purpose of persuasion, revenge, or other sadistic purpose. Intent is crucial to a torture charge, and this crime may be charged even if there is not proof the victim endured pain.Fight Aggravated Mayhem Charges
Self defense is a potential defense to aggravated mayhem charges, if the defendant shows that they were in imminent danger of being killed or suffering serious injury, and believed that their use of force was necessary to prevent their own harm. They must also have used appropriate force, under the circumstances. It is important that injuries inflicted upon the victim be reasonable, under the circumstances.
The defense of accident may apply to reduce or dismiss aggravated mayhem charges. Malice is required for a conviction, and if the defendant can show that the victim’s injuries resulted without intent to harm, they may be able to assert this defense. Often, mayhem charges result from a violent argument that gets out of hand. Additionally, there may be a constitutional defense, such as a violation of the 5th Amendment right to remain silent, or the 6th Amendment right to counsel.Consult an Experienced Riverside Lawyer to Understand Your Legal Rights
Attorney Gregory H. Comings serves clients throughout Riverside and nearby communities, including Palm Springs, Temecula, Indio, Highland, and Rancho Cucamonga. Our goal is to protect your rights and give you an honest assessment of your case and potential defenses. We offer a free consultation and can help you understand your next steps. Our office can be reached by calling (951) 686-3457 or online.