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What Is Considered Mayhem in California?


In California, mayhem is a serious crime that could result in severe consequences. Under Penal Code 203 PC, it is illegal for an individual to disfigure, sever, or disable the limb of another person. It is also unlawful to cut out someone’s tongue, put out their eye, or slit their nose, ear, or lip.

The injury inflicted on the individual must be more than a minor cut. It must be such that the person is unable to use the body part or organ as usual. Additionally, if the accused caused disfigurement, it must be permanent. Under California law, an injury is considered permanent even if medical procedures can correct the disfigurement.

To be convicted of this offense, the defendant must have acted unlawfully and maliciously. That means that the alleged perpetrator knew what they were doing was illegal and that it had the potential to cause the other individual to suffer an injury.

Penalties for a Mayhem Conviction

Under California law, a person accused of mayhem could be charged with a felony, which is punishable by 2, 4, or 8 years in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Aggravated Mayhem

If an individual intentionally causes another person to suffer permanent disability or disfigurement, they could be charged with aggravated mayhem, which is more serious than mayhem.

To be convicted, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant:

  • Purposefully meant to cause the other individual harm,
  • Unlawfully and maliciously inflicted permanent disability or disfigurement
  • Flagrantly disregarded the other person’s physical or psychological safety

Aggravated mayhem is a felony offense, and if an individual is found guilty, they could face life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Discuss Your Case During a Free criminal Consultation with Appel & Morse

Our team understands the potentially life-altering consequences for a conviction of a violent crime such as mayhem. That is why when you retain our services, we will review every detail of your case to develop a compelling strategy and fight allegations. Backed by over 40 years of combined legal experience, we know what it takes to get charges reduced or dismissed.

Schedule your free criminal consultation today by calling us at (805) 467-6060 or contacting us online.

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