Nevada mayhem charges are not to be taken lightly. These severe charges could result in steep fines and several years in prison if convicted. Mayhem laws criminalize maliciously disabling or disfiguring someone else. Prevalent mayhem charges entail slitting a person's tongue, gouging out a victim's eye, or severing a person's reproductive organ. Simply put, committing any act that permanently maims or disfigures another person could subject you to mayhem charges in Nevada.

If you are charged with mayhem, it is essential to obtain expert legal representation. You will require an aggressive defense to defend your rights and freedom. At the Law Offices of Martin Hart, our defense lawyers have years of experience fighting for clients facing mayhem charges in Las Vegas. We boast the tenacity and skills to poke holes into the prosecution’s evidence, casting doubt on their version of events. We have a proven track record of obtaining successful outcomes in courtrooms.

Do not leave your freedom to chance. Call us today to schedule a cost-free consultation and case evaluation with one of our experienced lawyers.

The Legal Definition of Mayhem

Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 200.280 describes mayhem as illegally depriving a person of a part of their body, disfiguring it, or making it useless. It is any deliberate act that leads to serious bodily harm to someone else. This means the defendant must have meant for the victim to suffer harm and inflicted a substantial physical injury for them to be convicted.

For the judge to convict you of mayhem charges, the prosecution must prove these critical elements:

  • You disfigured or injured the victim.
  • The injury resulted in permanent disfigurement or disability.
  • You committed the act intentionally and maliciously.

Note that you need not use a weapon to do the disfiguration to be convicted. Using your hand to punch, kicking with your feet, or biting with your teeth suffices if the result is a permanent deformity or handicap.

Note also that disfigurement is deemed irreversible even if plastic surgery or physical therapy can correct it. It is categorized as mayhem, provided the harm is irreversible and requires extensive medical intervention. For example, even if just one finger or toe is hurt, it may still lead to mayhem charges. But if the injury is temporary, for example, bruises or broken bones, then you would face different criminal charges, like assault or battery.

You also must have acted maliciously to be convicted of the mayhem crime. This does not mean you must have intended for the victim to be disfigured. Instead, you are considered to have acted maliciously if the victim's permanent disfigurement was a natural result of your actions.

Mayhem Versus Other Criminal Offenses

Mayhem is usually confused with several other offenses like aggravated battery, battery, and assault. While these violations may also entail causing injury to someone else, there are critical factors that differentiate them with mayhem.

  • Battery—under Nevada law, battery entails intentionally and unlawfully using violence or force against someone else. This could include a result of bodily harm, but it need not lead to impairment or permanent disfigurement.
  • Assault—the crime of assault is the same as battery, although it entails threats of physical harm instead of actual bodily harm. Under Nevada law, an assault could be prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor based on the facts of the case.
  • Aggravated battery—an aggravated battery charge is generally reserved for instances where the involved victim has sustained severe bodily injury. Whereas mayhem could also involve severe bodily harm, the primary distinction is that the crime of mayhem specifically necessitates intention to inflict injury and irreversible disfigurement.

Instances That Constitute Mayhem

Instances that constitute mayhem, according to Nevada statute, include:

  • Cutting out someone's tongue.
  • Slicing a person's face.
  • Removing someone's limb.
  • Poking out a person's eye.

What Does Bodily Injury Mean?

Defining what bodily injury means per the law is critical since it is the primary element of mayhem charges. Bodily injury refers to causing another person either temporary or permanent physical harm. The injury could be severe bodily harm, like disfigurement, damage to a vital organ, or severing a limb. A temporary physical injury is an injury that can be cured in 12 or fewer months. Any act that results in permanent or temporary bodily harm can lead to criminal charges under Nevada law.

Consequences of Mayhem

Committing mayhem is considered a Category B felony. The consequences include prison for a period ranging between two and ten years and a maximum of ten thousand dollars in fines. A solid defense may have the prosecution lower your charge to a lesser included offense, such as misdemeanor battery, if it is your first violation or you have never been found guilty of an offense. This would lower the penalties and their impact on your future employment opportunities. For example, the penalties for a misdemeanor battery are:

  • Jail for not more than six months.
  • A maximum of one thousand U.S. dollars in fines.
  • A felony-free criminal record.

Immigration Consequences of a Mayhem Conviction

Mayhem is considered a deportable crime. Immigrants found criminally liable for mayhem could be removed or deported from the United States and marked inadmissible. That is why, if you are an immigrant, you want to seek expert legal counsel immediately after you are arrested. A lawyer can successfully have the charges against you lowered to a non-deportable offense or dropped altogether.

Increased Penalties for Deadly Weapon Use

You would be subject to an increased sentence if you used a weapon to commit the mayhem offense. In this case, the judge may enhance your mayhem sentence by one to twenty years. However, the increased sentence for utilizing a deadly weapon might not exceed the maximum prison term for mayhem.

Judges consider the following factors when determining the length of the increased sentence for utilizing a dangerous weapon in committing an offense:

  • The circumstances and facts surrounding the crime.
  • Your criminal record.
  • The impact the act had on the victim.
  • Any mitigating circumstances, like having a mental disability.
  • Any other relevant factors.

Note that the enhanced sentence is served consecutively with the mayhem’s underlying sentence, not concurrently. That means once you finish serving your term for the mayhem crime, you can begin serving the term for utilizing a dangerous weapon.

Also, remember that an immigrant found guilty of a crime involving using a deadly weapon faces deportation, too. However, an experienced defense attorney may successfully have the charges dismissed or reduced to a non-deportable crime.

Other Penalties for Mayhem

Beyond the criminal consequences of a Mayhem conviction, other devastating professional and personal consequences can further limit your future. Possible repercussions include:

  • Employment problems—you may have employment problems like permanent disqualification from given jobs, inability to pass criminal background checks to secure employment, and termination.
  • Custody challenges—difficulty obtaining or retaining child custody if the court scrutinizes parenting.
  • Social stigma—family, friends, and community members may see you differently, resulting in isolation or relationship damage.
  • Voting restrictions—you may lose your voting rights during probation or incarceration.
  • Loss of gun ownership rights—a felon is forbidden from possessing or purchasing firearms.
  • Housing limitations—you may experience challenges qualifying for loans or renting apartments if your felony record appears during background checks.
  • Excessive probation terms—requirements such as community service, limited travel, and ankle monitoring can feel punitive.

These repercussions show why expert legal counsel is imperative when subject to mayhem charges.

Defending Against Mayhem Charges

The most prevalent ways your attorney may develop your defense strategy against mayhem charges include arguing that:

You Acted Only to Defend Yourself

Nevada permits individuals to defend themselves against imminent danger, provided they use reasonable force. If you have reason to believe your life is in imminent danger, you could fight back and defend yourself. If you are faced with an instance where you are in imminent danger, you defend yourself by fighting back, and someone is permanently disfigured; consequently, you can argue the self-defense defense, and the judge may drop your charges.

Consider this example: Darren is walking down a street in her neighborhood when a strange-looking man unexpectedly appears, pointing a knife at him. Darren responds by drawing his firearm and shooting the man's leg. The bullet wounds his toe, causing irreversible disfigurement. Darren is not guilty of mayhem in this case since he was only defending himself.

Here, Darren had reason to believe he was in imminent danger and responded appropriately. Had the strange-looking man merely appeared and never posed any threat, Darren could have been charged with mayhem for causing irreversible disfigurement.

Your Act Was Accidental

Malice is one of the primary components of the crime of mayhem. If you did not act maliciously, then you did not commit mayhem. If, for example, you were playing the game of throwing darts with your friends in a safe zone and someone walked through that zone, leading to them being struck in the eye and leading to permanent blindness, you may not be convicted of mayhem because the act was accidental and you did not act with malice.

The Injury Was Temporary

Mayhem charges only apply to irreversible injuries. Injuries not considered permanent will not trigger mayhem charges or a conviction. Your lawyer may find a medical expert to attest that the victim's injury is only temporary.

Remember, this defense only applies partially. You may still be subject to a battery conviction for inflicting illegal physical force on the involved victim. The judge could charge you with battery whether the victim sustained temporary or permanent injuries or whether they did not sustain injuries at all. Note that a judge cannot convict you of both battery and mayhem for inflicting the same physical injury; that will constitute double jeopardy.

Other defenses that could apply are:

  • Misidentification—proving you did not commit the crime but someone else did could lead to the judge dismissing your charges.
  • Provocation—you could argue that the victim initiated the confrontation or provoked you.
  • False accusations—the alleged victim could have exaggerated or fabricated accusations against you.
  • A mental defect—underlying mental health problems question your capability to form criminal intent.
  • Intoxication—you could argue that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the commission of the crime, negating willful intent.

Crimes Related to Mayhem

Violating NRS 200.280 is deemed a form of battery on someone else. Under Nevada law, there are various forms of battery, each with consequences. Some examples are:

  • Battery intending to kill—this is considered a Category B felony punishable by a maximum of twenty years in Nevada State prison. This penalty also applies to a conviction of attempted murder.
  • Battery intending to inflict injury—this is considered a Category B felony aiming to cause mayhem, robbery, or grand larceny. In essence, another person sustains an injury during the perpetration of another offense.

That said, a battery charge is often filed instead of or alongside mayhem charges. Mayhem charges apply only when the victim sustains disfigurement or permanent injury. The appropriate charge, otherwise, might be for a battery.

Sealing a Mayhem Criminal Record

Having a record sealed after being convicted is helpful for various reasons, but the most critical is obtaining employment. Nevada has laws regarding sealing a conviction record after a case is closed. A conviction for mayhem will stay on your record for ten years.

Once this period ends, you can request that the court seal the record. Convictions for Category B felonies can usually be sealed after five years. However, because mayhem is considered a violent crime, its waiting time is ten years. If an experienced attorney manages to lower your mayhem charges to a misdemeanor battery, the waiting time will be two years from when the case is resolved. Dismissed mayhem charges can be sealed immediately under Nevada law.

Find an Experienced Assault and Battery Lawyer Near Me

If you are charged with mayhem in Las Vegas, you want to call The Law Offices of Martin Hart. Our assault and battery lawyers will work hand in hand with you to establish whether your act qualifies as mayhem. They can also assist in determining whether you will likely obtain the most favorable outcome by fighting the charges before the court or pleading to lesser charges like misdemeanor battery or assault.

Plea deals or lesser charges could lead to lenient penalties in your mayhem charge. Your ideal option is to act as quickly as possible. Understanding your supposed violation and the evidence the prosecution has against you is critical to building a compelling defense strategy. We will review all the case facts and argue all the relevant defenses to obtain the best possible outcome for your case.

Call us at 702-380-4278 to learn how we may assist you in responding to your charges.