If one is charged with mayhem, or aggravated mayhem, it is not unusual for the rhetorical question of, “what is mayhem?” to be asked. After all, “mayhem” is not a word often used nowadays.
Penal Code § 203 defines mayhem as conduct that “unlawfully and maliciously deprives a human being of a member of his body, or disables, disfigures, or renders it useless, or cuts or disables the tongue, or puts out puts out an eye, or slits the nose, ear or lip.” In short, it is injuring someone in a very serious manner, with the intent to do so. While maiming someone certainly qualifies as mayhem, disabling someone in a significant way qualifies, too.
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