Utah Criminal Code 76-5-105: Mayhem
1. Every person who unlawfully and intentionally deprives a human being of a member of his body, or disables or renders it useless, or who cuts out or disables the tongue, puts out an eye, or slits the nose, ear, or lip, is guilty of mayhem.
2. Mayhem is a felony of the second degree.
Terms Used In Utah Code 76-5-105
• Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
• Person: means an individual, public or private corporation, government, partnership, or unincorporated association
“Mayhem” is defined in Utah law as the act of unlawfully or maliciously doing any of the following to another person:
1. Depriving him/her of a member of his/her body (such as a limb);
2. Disabling, disfiguring or rendering useless a member of his/her body;
3. Cutting or disabling his/her tongue;
4. Putting out his/her eye; or
5. Slitting his/her nose, ear or lip.
“Mayhem” is a fairly obscure word and is not as familiar to most people as other violent crimes like torture and aggravated battery. But it is a serious crime, and Utah law punishes it quite harshly.
Here are several examples of people who might find themselves facing mayhem charges:
• A man pulls a knife on a woman who has just taken money out of an ATM, intending to commit robbery. When she struggles with him, he cuts her with the knife and ends up slitting her ear.
• During a fierce argument with her husband, a woman attacks him with a hot iron. She burns his arm in several places, leaving him with permanent scars.
Mayhem is a felony in Utah law. A conviction under Utah law can lead to two (2), four (4) or eight (8) years in Utah state prison, and a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000). Aggravated mayhem, on the other hand, can lead to a sentence of life in state prison with the possibility of parole.4
Mayhem Legal defenses
But there is hope and a good criminal defense attorney can help you find the most promising legal defenses against mayhem charges. Depending on the circumstances, these might include:
• You did not act intentionally or maliciously (a form of the legal defense of accident);
• You acted in self-defense/defense of others; and/or
• You were falsely accused.
The potential penalties for mayhem under Utah Law are:
• Felony (formal) probation;
• Two (2), four (4) or eight (8) years in California state prison; and/or
• A fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
Your sentence may also be enhanced if the alleged victim is:
• Sixty-five (65) years of age or older;
• Under the age of fourteen (14);
• Blind or deaf;
• Developmentally disabled; or
• A paraplegic or quadriplegic.
If any of these is the case, you will receive a one (1) or two (2) year sentence enhancement, provided that you knew or reasonably should have known that the relevant fact about the victim was true. Mayhem is a specific crime that involves the disfigurement, loss of limb, loss of use of a limb or the severing of body parts of the victim and can leave the person severely harmed in the process. There are various acts involved in these crimes that can increase the severity of charges or add to the charges depending on the situation.
Maiming the Victim
One act of mayhem is the act of maiming the other person. There is intent to harming the person and ensuring he or she is not whole after the crime ends. This act can involve dismemberment through maiming and severing body parts. However, even assault is one aspect of mayhem that can leave the victim without the possibility of recovery. The intent is important along with the ability to instill fear. The person committing mayhem may even
Examples of Mayhem
The more common examples that the police use as mayhem include the loss of an eye, ear or even the nose. However, the loss of a limb such as an arm or leg is also common. The loss of the use of a limb is less common and more difficult to understand if the person still has the limb attached. This can involve the internal processes where something happened on the inside of the body for the person to lose access to the limb such as damaging the cornea of the eye or bursting blood vessels. These complications may require the help of a doctor to describe and detail to the court.
Comparable Crimes To Mayhem
Assault and battery often take the place of mayhem but are more aggravated charges in certain states. The illegal force that is more brutal and can lead to disfigurement, disability and extensive scarring is usually an act of mayhem. Other states will lump this crime together with malicious acts with the intent to cause severe harm to the person. This is more difficult to prove because the intent is not always apparent. The prosecution may rely on the injuries and any witnesses or video surveillance that are available. The state may compare the injuries to other crimes to determine if the act was mayhem.
Additional Criminal Charges
Mayhem is a criminal act that can occur in conjunction with other illegal activity. The person could abduct the victim, inflict emotional and psychological fear and intimidation long before any injury occurs and even performs different crimes in front of the victim to instill additional distress and trauma. The long-lasting injuries are often felt inside rather than through disfigurement or the loss of a limb. With the testimony of the victim in the courtroom, it is possible to hold additional charge for other crimes true in the legal proceedings. This could increase penalties or compound the sentences and leave the person with a conviction in prison for years or decades.
Restitution for Mayhem
Some judges will incur the penalty of restitution to punish the criminal more and to connect the individual to the person suffering injury and long-lasting damage for as long as possible. Restitution will require the convicted person to pay damages through compensation to the injured party so that he or she may recover fully. The payments can cover medical costs, the pain and suffering or other expenses that the individual has after the initial recovery phase. These damages are usually based on the bills the person pays or economic damages that sometimes are part of a civil case.
Legal Defense Against Mayhem Charges
The person facing charges for mayhem will need a lawyer to support his or her case to either refute the charges or to attempt a plea bargain. The penalties when there is sufficient evidence for a conviction can cause life-altering consequences for the defendant without an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Aggravated mayhem is the act causing permanent disability or disfigurement. It is done with the specific intent of causing injury and with indifference to the well-being of another person. Aggravated mayhem is severe injury against another person with intent to cause harm, disability, disfigurement or to deprive him or her from organs, members or limbs. While mayhem the word is obscure in the current electronic age, it is a violent crime similar to torturing someone or aggravated battery against the body of an individual. These crimes are punished harshly due to the nature and aspects of the intent behind them along with what is done to the body of another. These injuries also cause psychological or emotional turmoil. Criminal charges are often issued immediately with evidence mounting quickly. Aggravated Mayhem may consist of a knife being used on a victim to steal money. While the intent is to steal, injury is often the conclusion when the individual struggles against the attacker. Permanent scars incurred during an argument could lead to these charges when they are repeated and continual. College fraternities that engage in hazing could harm a new recruit through tattoos or brands against the skin. The penalties are severe, strict and may alter the life of the accused if he or she is convicted of these illegal acts. The victim is often in the courtroom to provide testimony.
Penalties for Aggravated Mayhem
The seriousness of this crime is often reflected in the penalties. Normal mayhem may lead to two, four or eight years in a state prison in Utah. Fines may go as high as $10,000. However, because aggravated mayhem is so much worse, the accused when convicted may live out the rest of his or her life in the state prison. However, there is the possibility of parole. Fines may remain the same or increase based on the discretion of the judge in the case. These are criminal proceedings, and civil litigation is also possible for the victim of the incident.
Legal Defenses in Aggravated Mayhem
It is imperative that the accused hire a criminal defense lawyer to protect his or her rights and ensure he or she is provided a defense against the prosecution due to the injuries of the victim. One of the most important defense strategies is the unintentional harm to another. The willful act is what constitutes the graves of these crimes. However, if the intention was not to harm, injury, disable or disfigure the person attacked, it is possible to remove the aggravated part of the charge. In accidental incidents, the charge may be completely different which may lead to less severe penalties. When the person seeking to defend against the charges did not actually mean to hurt the other party, it is possible that the charges are incorrect. Mayhem is a rare charge to issue against a person, and if the officer or department is not aware of all the details, the accused may not face court with the correct crime. Mayhem requires intentional or malicious harm towards the victim. Self-defense and other actions are not mayhem, and the perpetrator may not face a conviction in these instances. It is important to understand the penal codes and how they affect citizens.
Defending with Criminal Defense Lawyer
When someone has been charged with a criminal act, he or she is then placed in a county jail until the charges are pushed through. Then, he or she will go through the court processes to defend against the allegations. It is important to know what the charges mean, to research if possible about how this could affect the accused and that legal representation is acquired to fight the charges. If the legal definition does not apply to the situation and actions taken during the incident, the allegations may be false. This could mean the prosecution is in the wrong. The criminal defense lawyer hired for these situations must initiate a plan of defense and a strategy of implementing the defense so that the accused is afforded a fair trial. He or she may need to claim the charges are false. This may lead to a dismissal of the case. However, other professionals may need to be hired to continue with this course of action, and the claim could become complicated.
Defenses to Mayhem
In order to convict you of mayhem, every element in the legal definition must be met. For example, if a construction worker accidentally drops a saw on a coworker’s arm and cuts it off beyond repair, this would not constitute mayhem. By virtue of being an accident, the incident lacks the requisite malicious intention. However, even if all the elements to mayhem are successfully proven, your experienced attorney may be able to cite certain “affirmative defenses” to lessen the charge or reduce the sentence. These include:
• Defense of another
• Alibi – You were not there during the time of the alleged incident
• The statute of limitations had expired
These defenses may serve to reduce or dismiss your charge of mayhem. However, an “imperfect” self-defense (in which someone commits a criminal act as a result of a mistaken belief they are or will be attacked) is not a valid defense to charges of mayhem.
Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
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West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506
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