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Mayhem is a serious crime that generally involves bodily harm, physical injury, and disfigurement to a victim. Mayhem is a charge you could face if you caused severe harm to another person either during the commission of another crime. It can also be charged as a crime itself.


The crime may be charged as “aggravated mayhem” if you intentionally caused someone a permanent disability or disfigurement, or deprived the person of a limb or organ. The difference between mayhem and aggravated mayhem is that with aggravated mayhem, the defendant intentionally caused harm, while with regular mayhem the act was malicious but not intentional.

California Penal Code 203 governs the crime of mayhem. The legal definition of mayhem is “the act of unlawfully or maliciously” causing harm to another person by:

  • Depriving the person of a body member (for example, a limb). If a person loses a limb due to your actions, mayhem charges could apply.
  • Disabling, disfiguring, or rendering a body member useless. When your action results in a temporary or permanent disability or disfigurement, the charge could be mayhem. Disfigurement can be a scar left by an injury you inflicted.
  • Cutting or disabling the tongue. If you cut someone’s tongue rendering the person disabled, you will face mayhem charges.
  • Causing someone to lose sight in an eye. When you knock someone’s eye out or render someone blind, the charge could be mayhem.
  • Slitting the lip, ear, or nose. You could face mayhem charges even if you accidentally slit someone’s lip while you were otherwise trying to harm them.

To be convicted of mayhem, the prosecutor must prove that you acted in a malicious manner. A malicious act means that you intentionally meant to cause harm or that you intended to injure someone else. If you injured a person by accident, mayhem charges should not apply. You could face mayhem charges if you intended to hurt someone, but didn’t want to harm them so badly.

Permanent disfigurement can include any part of the body, not necessarily areas that are not covered by clothing. The prosecutor need only prove that the injury occurred, regardless of the outcome. The injury could heal and you will still face mayhem charges.

  • If you are convicted of mayhem you will face up to 8 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. The sentence could be enhanced depending on the circumstances.
  • Aggravated mayhem carries higher penalties and could include a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole. Mayhem is a violent felony that falls under the three strikes law.
  • In California, when you are convicted of a violent felony you receive one strike. A second conviction doubles the penalties. A third s conviction results in 25 years to life in prison.

If you or a loved one is facing mayhem charges, call our firm today. We are here to listen. We are here to help, and we can help you fight for your future. Give us a call today.

If you have been charged with

mayhem, call 805-477-0070 now.

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The Law Offices of David Lehr provides legal representation to individuals facing felony charges of mayhem in Ventura, Oxnard, and Camarillo, California. No attorney or law firm can make any promises or guarantee an outcome for your criminal case. The contents presented on this site are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Visiting this website does not establish an attorney/client relationship.

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