NRS 200.280: Mayhem in Nevada—Definition, Penalties, Defenses, and More
Many people have a vision in their head of mayhem since television has created what we should believe about mayhem.
But what does mayhem really mean in reference to the law and criminal offenses?
Here, we’ll delve into the definition of mayhem in Nevada, the penalties associated with it, potential defenses, and more.
If you or someone you know is facing mayhem charges, contact The Defenders. Our team of experienced attorneys is here to help.
Facing any criminal charge can be overwhelming, but we have the knowledge and skills needed to fight for your rights and defend you in court. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Mayhem is defined as an intentional act that results in serious bodily injury to another person. This means that the perpetrator must have intended for harm to come to the victim and caused a significant physical injury.
In Nevada, mayhem is when another permanently:
- Incapacitates part of another person’s body.
A side note: a weapon does have to be used to cause the disfiguration. A person may use their hands with a punch, kick with their feet, or bite with their teeth.
The result must be the same as using a weapon though—the permanent handicap or deformity of another.
A disfigurement is considered permanent even if physical therapy or plastic surgery can fix it.
If the injury is permanent and necessitates medical intervention, it may be classified as a violation of mayhem law in Nevada. For instance, even if only a toe is affected, it could still result in a charge of mayhem.
However, if the injuries were temporary like a broken bone or bruises, then the defendant would be charged with another crime like battery or assault.
A defendant must also have malice for mayhem to occur. This doesn’t mean that it was intended that the victim be disfigured. Rather, the presumption of malice exists if the victim’s permanent disfigurement is a natural cause of the defendant’s actions.
Mayhem vs. Other Crimes
Mayhem is often confused with other crimes such as battery, assault, and aggravated battery. While these charges may also involve causing harm to another person, there are key differences that make mayhem a distinct charge.
- Battery: In Nevada, battery involves the intentional and unlawful use of force or violence against another person. This can include physical injury, but it does not necessarily result in permanent disfigurement or impairment.
- Assault: Assault is similar to battery, but it involves the threat of bodily harm rather than actual physical contact. In Nevada, assault can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances.
- Aggravated Battery: This charge is typically reserved for cases where the victim has suffered serious bodily injury. While mayhem can also involve serious bodily injury, the key difference is that mayhem specifically requires intent to cause harm and permanent disfigurement.
Examples of Mayhem
Under Nevada law, Mayhem is considered a type of battery. Some examples of mayhem are:
- Poking out someone’s eye
- Removing a limb
- Slicing the face
- Cutting out a tongue
N.R.S 200.280 states that:
Mayhem consists of unlawfully depriving a human being of a member of his or her body, or disfiguring or rendering it useless.
What Are the Penalties for Mayhem
Mayhem is a category B felony in Nevada.
The penalties include:
- 2-10 years in state prison, and
- Up to a $10,000 fine
If this is a first offense or you have never been convicted of a crime, a good defense team might be able to get the prosecutor to reduce the charges to a lesser crime like misdemeanor battery.
This would reduce the penalty and the effect it may have on future employment.
For example, misdemeanor battery penalties are:
- Up to six months in jail and/or
- Up to a $1000 fine
- No felony on your record
What Are the Common Defenses
The three most common ways a defense team might strategize your defense against a mayhem charge are:
- You acted in self-defense: Nevada allows a person to defend themselves against immediate danger. If you reasonably believe that your life’s in danger you can fight back. If you are in a situation where your life is in danger and you fight back and a person is permanently disfigured from the incident, you might be able to use the self defense strategy.
- The incident was an accident: Malice is a main component of a mayhem charge. If there is no malice then there is no mayhem. For example, if you are throwing darts as part of a game with others in what is considered a safe area and some walk through that area, resulting in getting hit in the eye with a dart causing blindness. You could not be charged with malice since it was an accident and no malice occurred.
- The injuries are not permanent: Mayhem only applies to permanent injuries. Injuries that are not permanent are not considered mayhem. This argument is only a partial defense. You could still face battery charges for inflicting unlawful physical force on the victim. A battery charge can be used whether or not the victim sustains injuries that are permanent or temporary. You cannot be convicted of both mayhem and battery that constitutes double jeopardy.
Related Criminal Charges Mayhem
Mayhem is considered a type of battery against another.
In Nevada, there are different types of battery and penalties associated with them. Some examples include:
- Battery with intent to cause harm: This is a category B felony with the purpose of causing mayhem, grand larceny, or robbery. Essentially someone else is harmed in commission of another crime.
- Battery with the intent to kill: This is a category B felony with a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. The same penalty will be imposed for attempted murder.
As you can see battery charges are usually related to or used in lieu of mayhem charges.
The charge of mayhem applies only if the victim suffers permanent injury or disfigurement. Otherwise, the appropriate charges may be for battery.
What Is Bodily Injury
Since bodily injury is at the heart of a mayhem charge, we should define what exactly is a bodily injury under the law.
Bodily injury is causing another individual either permanent or temporary physical harm.
The harm could be serious bodily harm, such as severing a limb, disfigurement or damage to a vital organ.
Temporary bodily injury is any injury that can be recovered in one year or less.
Any actions that lead to temporary or permanent bodily injury can result in criminal charges in Nevada.
Can My Records Be Sealed
Getting records sealed is helpful after a conviction for many reasons but mostly to secure employment.
There are laws in Nevada regarding sealing criminal records after the cases have been closed.
A mayhem conviction will remain on someone’s record for 10 years.
After the ten years is up, the defendant can ask the court to seal the records.
Category B felony convictions are usually sealable after 5 years. But since mayhem is a crime of violence, mayhem’s waiting period is 10 years.
If a good defense team gets the charges reduced to a misdemeanor battery conviction, the waiting period is two years after the case ends.
Contact a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been accused of the crime of mayhem, you need to contact The Defenders.
We can work with you to determine if your actions are considered mayhem.
We can help determine if you’re likely to get the best outcome by trying to fight the charges in court or trying to plead to a lesser charge, such as assault or a misdemeanor battery charge.
Lesser charges or plea deals could result in lesser charges and penalties for a defendant in a mayhem case.
The best choice is for you to respond to the charges against you as soon as possible.
Knowing what your alleged conduct was and what the evidence against you is important to your defense.
The Defenders will investigate all the evidence against you and use all the defense strategies they have to get you the best outcome of your case.
By giving The Defenders a call you can find out how we can help you respond to charges against them with a team of assertive lawyers on your side.