Mayhem in Los Angeles – Penal Code Section 205
The crime of mayhem is a very serious crime and carries with it a large punishment if somebody is convicted of it in Los Angeles County. Over the course of the past twenty-five years, I’ve handled a lot of mayhem offenses, and really what the crucial element is that the prosecutors have to be able to prove, is that the defendant caused some sort of disfigurement to the victim in the case. In order to establish this disfigurement for purposes of mayhem, prosecutors are going to have to show that the individual who is the alleged victim has some sort of a permanent injury.
This permanent injury, for purposes of mayhem, can manifest itself by way of a scar, some sort of a disfigurement on the person – either on their face or some other visible area. For the crime of mayhem, the prosecutors are usually looking at a prison sentence and the defendant, obviously, is going to want to get a good attorney to represent him if they have a mayhem charge in LA because of the serious nature of these type of offenses.
What Are Defenses to Mayhem in Los Angeles – Penal Code Section 205?
Usually when I see these mayhem cases develop, it involves some sort of a fight – whether it’s a fight with fists or a fight with some sort of weapon, or one person has a weapon and another person doesn’t, so obviously, the types of defenses that could be available to a mayhem case are self-defense, defense of others, and another big one that I see is people will get in a fight and were able to argue the concept of mutual combat. Meaning, that both parties agreed to fight. It was a fair fight. Everybody acted reasonably in the fight, but one person won the fight and caused some sort of disfigurement. That doesn’t necessarily mean the person is guilty of mayhem. So, if you could be shown that you were defending yourself in a reasonable manner in reference to some sort of an altercation with another person, then you wouldn’t be responsible for the disfigurement that occurs.
If on the other hand, you were not acting in self-defense or at some point you were acting in self-defense, but then your actions became unreasonable and you went too far – like for example, arming yourself with a weapon in a fist fight and acting unreasonably and causing disfigurement to the other party – then that wouldn’t be a defense.
So, really the defenses related to a mayhem charge turn on the totality of the circumstances in reference to whatever happened. And really, there’s going to be a situation where one party may say one thing, another party may say another thing, so it’s one person’s word against another. Then the question becomes, how do you break that tie? Well, you break that tie by evidence. You break that tie by witnesses. Video evidence is always great to break a tie because then you can really see what happened. So, if there are witnesses all on one side, obviously that person is going to have a stronger argument than the other person. If there are witnesses on both sides, now you’re talking about a case that is probably going to go to trial, and a jury is going to have to decide whether a person is innocent or guilty of mayhem pursuant to Penal Code Section 205.
So, the bottom line is this. You have to ask yourself – what is it going to take for me to get the best possible result in my case? And the answer to that question is, it’s going to take you getting an attorney who has dealt with these types of cases before, who is local and knows the people in the courthouse where the case is being prosecuted and can, if necessary, win the case in a jury trial. Without all of these ingredients in a mayhem case, you’re looking at a long prison sentence and a number of other penalties and ramifications that can come along with that.
What I like to do in these types of cases is, get you in the office and we go over everything. I get your whole story because a lot of times your version of events isn’t obtained by the police and the prosecutor. They only have one side of the story. So, your story needs to be gotten across. Sometimes the truth lies within the middle and in order to get that truth out, you’re going to need your advocate to go to bat for you, to argue, to do damage control and to show the prosecutors that you’re not that person and that you deserve a chance. A chance to save your freedom, your reputation and your criminal record and to get you out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible.
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