Every state has a few quirky laws that you can be charged with violating.  Perhaps none sound more ominous than “Mayhem.”  But, what does the crime of mayhem actually mean?  Previously, courts did not recognize aggravated forms of assault and battery, but they wanted a way to punish a felon.  These attacks were often savage, but didn’t end in death (otherwise they could be charged with some form of murder).  While trying to find a serious offense for a person who commits such serious assault or battery, judges created the crime of mayhem.  The crime of mayhem occurs whenever the defendant intentionally maims or permanently disables his victim.  The bottom line: when you seriously hurt someone, you might be charged with mayhem

How Serious Of An Injury Do You Need To Be Charged With Mayhem?

If a court will only consider great bodily harm as part of mayhem, how injured must a person be; in a wheelchair, unable to talk or just walk with a limp? Most courts have taken the view that the injury must be quite serious.  So serious, in fact, that the injury must be permanent.  For example, if Todd punched Frank in the face and broke Frank’s jaw, Todd wouldn’t be charged with mayhem because the injury isn’t permanent.  However, if Todd cut off Frank’s hand with a sharp knife, Todd could be charged with mayhem.

Do You Have To Try To Severely Injure Someone To Be Charged With Mayhem?

Sometimes serious injuries happen, but should a person be charged with a serious crime just because there was a serious injury?  In most states, the courts will require that someone negligently or recklessly endanger another and that person must suffer serious injury.  This means that if Bob takes a chainsaw and tried to hurt Red after Red crashed Bob’s car, Bob could be charged with mayhem.  Some states would also charge someone with mayhem if the person tries to harm the victim, but not necessarily seriously injuring them.  For example if Mort intends to karate chop Lola in the face, but because Mort is wearing his lucky ring, he takes out Lola’s eye, Mort could be charged with mayhem.

Do you think someone should be charged when they didn’t mean to seriously injure someone?

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