What Is Aggravated Mayhem in California Criminal Law?

California Penal Code 205 PC criminalizes intentionally causing a person permanent disability or disfigurement or depriving a person of a limb, organ or member of their body. This crime is known as aggravated mayhem. Aggravated mayhem penalties include a felony conviction that could include significant consequences. If you are charged with this offense, it is important to understand what it entails and what defenses may be raised. If you are arrested, then bail may be set and you can work with a bail bonds company to be released while the case is pending.

What are some defenses?

In order to be convicted under Penal Code 205 PC, the prosecution must be able to show all elements of the statute beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that there must be evidence to show the following:

  • The act was done intentionally, and
  • It caused permanent disability or disfigurement, or
  • Deprived a person of a limb, organ, or member of their body

If there is reasonable doubt as to any of these elements, then the person should be acquitted of the crime.

If your constitutional rights were violated in the investigation of the case, then there may also be other defenses available. Examples could include:

  • Warrantless searches
  • Lack of probable cause for arrest
  • Inadmissible statements
  • Illegal searches
  • Failure to Mirandize

Because there may be defenses available, you should seek out the help of a criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help you identify and raise defenses that may be applicable to your situation.

What are the potential penalties?

Aggravated mayhem penalties may vary from case to case and depend upon the facts of the situation and other relevant factors. In general, because the crime is a felony, you could face imprisonment, fines, community service, court-ordered treatment, probation or parole, loss of civil rights, restraining orders, and other significant consequences. The maximum imprisonment that could be faced is life without the possibility of parole.

Because of the potential for significant life-changing consequences, if you are charged you should not take it lightly. If you are arrested, you should seek out an attorney as soon as possible so you can discuss your options.

What happens if you are arrested for aggravated mayhem?

If you are arrested for aggravated mayhem, you will be advised of your rights and a court may set bail. Bail is a cash amount that can be paid to secure your release from incarceration while a case is pending. In addition to the cash amount, a court may also require additional requirements, such as drug testing.

Whether a bail will be set and the specific amount depends upon many different factors. A court will consider:

  • The specific facts alleged in the case;
  • Your criminal history;
  • Whether there is a risk of re-offense;
  • Your ties to the community;
  • Whether you are a flight risk;
  • If you have employment;
  • Any other relevant information.

If the court sets a bail amount, then you can work with a bail bonds company. The bail bonds company will require you or someone on your behalf to put down a certain percentage of the total bail amount as collateral to secure your release. This could be cash or other property. Once the fraction of the bail is paid, the bails bonds company will secure your release.

If you are released on bail, it is important to comply with any conditions of release and to attend all of your court dates. If you fail to do so, then you could be arrested again and possibly held on a higher bail amount or with no possibility of release.

Because any felony and crime is serious, it is important that you confer with a lawyer who can advocate on your behalf and protect your rights. An attorney can raise any necessary defenses and will seek out a resolution that is fair and just under the circumstances.