What Actions Constitute Mayhem Under Wisconsin Law?

Understanding the criminal court system can seem confusing and complex. Often, there can be multiple charges for one incident making the situation feel overly complicated.

Mayhem and battery can be charges that seem similar and difficult to distinguish. While they are two different charges, there are important distinctions that can lead to severe consequences.

Here’s what you should know about the differences (and similarities) between battery and mayhem charges in Wisconsin.

Covering a wide range

Battery covers a range of potential offenses where someone intentionally causes bodily harm to another. Depending on the circumstances, battery charges can start as low as a Class A misdemeanor and get into the felony range depending on the amount of harm caused compared to intended harm.

When battery becomes mayhem

While battery covers a more general intent to cause bodily harm, mayhem applies to the intent to cause a specific type of bodily harm. According to Wisconsin statutes, someone can be charged with mayhem when someone who “[intends] to disable or disfigure another, cuts or mutilates the tongue, eye, ear, nose, lip, limb or other bodily member.”

Although several specific body parts are listed in the statute, court cases show that the intent to disfigure can include any body part, not exclusively the ones listed.

Distinguishing mayhem

When considering the differences between battery and mayhem, battery covers intentional bodily harm in general, while mayhem adds an intent to disable or disfigure.

It is essential to distinguish mayhem from battery since mayhem is typically a Class C felony, but the degrees of battery tend to be lesser offenses. When you are facing criminal charges, it is important to talk to an experienced professional to explain your case and the process.