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California Penal Code 203 defines mayhem as the act of disabling, disfiguring or cutting off or making useless one of the members (leg, arm, hand, foot, eye) of another either intentionally or in a fight. These are referred to as maiming or mayhem. The serious nature of the injury makes mayhem a felony. Alternatively, the prosecutor may bring a charge of “aggravated assault”.

Often, mayhem is not the intended crime by the perpetrator. For instance in the middle of a brutal fight, it happens that one of the parties may use a knife to cut the other’s face or use a hammer to crush the other’s finger. By definition, this results in the loss of a person’s organ or body part, hence mayhem. Slashing someone’s face that results in multiple stitches permanently disfigures that person and qualifies as mayhem. If the mayhem results in substantial injury to the victim, the crime of aggravated mayhem may be brought per California Penal Code 205 which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison with the possibility of parole. In more extreme situations, one could be potentially charged with torture under California Penal Code 206 if the injury was based on revenge and inflicted on the victim with the intention of making that person suffer or continue to suffer.

An experience criminal defense lawyer may defend a charge of mayhem by showing that defendant acted in self-defense. It could also be shown that the defendant accidentally caused the substantial injury and did not intend to cause mayhem as alleged. To prove mayhem the prosecution must show evidence of malice, which means the defendant planned to do what he did or specifically intended to achieve the end result. If the state of the evidence is insufficient to show malice, your attorney may either get the case dismissed or be in a position to plea bargain your case to a lesser offense such as a felony under California Penal Code section 245(a), or even a misdemeanor assault under California Penal Code section 242.

If convicted of mayhem, you could receive 2, 4, or 8 years in state prison. Mayhem is a serious and violent felony under California 3-strike law. This means that if you plead guilty to or are convicted of mayhem and you are later charged with another felony, your sentence in that case could be doubled, merely because you had a prior strike.

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Criminal prosecution can affect your health, freedom, employment, and social life. You need help and you need the best criminal defense you can get. At the Law Offices of Tony M. Seyfi, with the state-of-the-art computerized legal research tools and forensic techniques, we will focus on identifying the defenses you may have and will develop numerous challenges to any crime possible.

Our goal is victory for our clients and to keep them from going to jail, and we are confident of our defense strategies. If you would like to discuss your case, call us today for a FREE CONSULTATION and case analysis.

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