Torture laws in California
If you cause great bodily harm to another person with the intention of causing cruel or extreme pain and suffering and you are motivated by revenge, extortion (blackmail), persuasion, or for any sadistic purpose, you are guilty of torture.
Torture is a serious offense that is punishable by a life sentence. For this reason, please contact a skilled defense attorney immediately to discuss your situation.
“Great bodily harm” is defined as a significant or substantial physical injury. Depending on the circumstances, the sentences for the crime of torture can vary. Each of these circumstances can add time to your sentence that is to be served consecutively with any other sentence:
- If during the commission or attempted commission of a felony you inflict great bodily harm on any person other than your accomplice, your sentence will be increased by three years.
- If the person you harmed falls into a coma as a result of a brain injury, or if they suffer permanent paralysis , your sentence will be increased by five years.
- If you inflict great bodily harm on a person who is 70 years old or older, your sentenced will be increased by five years.
- If they are a child 5 years or younger, your sentence will be increased by four, five, or six years.
- If the circumstances of the event involve domestic violence , your sentence will be increased by three, four, or five years.
These additional sentences do not apply in murder or manslaughter cases, or in cases of arson or unlawfully setting a fire. Also, prosecutors can add on any of the first four additional sentences if they apply, but they cannot add more than one to a single charge.
Defense against a Torture charge
In order to charge you with torture, the prosecutor will need to prove several things:
- You caused great bodily harm to another person,
- You had the intention of causing cruel or extreme pain to that person,
- Your motivation was revenge, blackmail, persuasion or for a sadistic purpose.
Here “sadistic purpose” is defined as taking pleasure in other person’s pain.
Your attorney has several options for your defense. First, if the other person’s injuries are not significant or substantial, he can argue that you did not cause great bodily harm to another person.
Another option is arguing that you did not have the intent to cause extreme pain to that person. Intent is crucial to a torture case, and without it, you cannot be charged with the crime of torture.
If you were motivated by anything other than revenge, blackmail, persuasion or the pleasure of seeing another person’s pain, your defense attorney will argue that your circumstances do not meet the requirements for torture. For instance, if you were acting in self-defense, you do not meet the criteria for torture.
When coming up with the best defense, keep in mind that the crime of torture does not require any proof that the victim suffered pain. It is mostly concerned with the intentions and motivations behind the great bodily harm, rather than the effects of the injuries. Proving intention and motivation can be difficult and it is therefore necessary to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.
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If you or a loved one is being charged with Torture, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and we will get in contact with you ASAP. We can provide a free consultation in our office, or by phone. Our experienced and assiduous attorneys will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.
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Every person who, with the intent to cause cruel or extreme pain and suffering for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion, or for any sadistic purpose, inflicts great bodily injury as defined in Section 12022.7 upon the person of another, is guilty of torture. The crime of torture does not require any proof that the victim suffered pain.
CA Penal Code 12022.7
Here “paralysis” means a major or complete loss of motor function resulting from injury to the nervous system or to a muscular mechanism. CA Penal Code 206
Domestic violence means abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has had a child, or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship. CA Penal Code 13700(b)