Everyone has a pretty basic understanding of what torture is, but like many criminal acts, the legal definition isn’t quite the same as the commonly accepted definition. If you have been accused of torture in San Diego, it is critical you contact a skilled lawyer as soon as possible.
What is Torture Under California Law?
Under the law, torture involves inflicting great bodily harm on another person with the intent to cause cruel or extreme pain for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion, or for any sadistic purpose. It’s important to note that the specifics of this crime are far more concerned with the intent of the defendant than the actual pain suffered by the victim, which is partly what distinguishes torture from aggravated battery. In fact, if the prosecution cannot prove you intended to cause cruel or extreme pain for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion, or for any sadistic purpose, your attorney should be able to get the charges reduced or dropped.
The Victim Doesn’t Actually Have to Suffer
A few notable things about the law is that torture does not need to be premeditated, the pain does not need to be prolonged and the victim doesn’t even need to suffer pain at all as long as the defendant intended to inflict pain. Also, the injury does not have to be permanent, disabling or disfiguring although it does have to inflict substantial physical injury. This means that if someone broke into an apartment of someone they wanted to get revenge on, cut off their victim’s toe and then ran away before realizing the victim had no sensation in his foot, they could still be convicted of torture even though the act ended up being quick and painless.
Penalties for Torture in California
Whereas aggravated battery is punishable by up to four years in prison and a strike on your record, torture is drastically more serious and can carry a life sentence. If the victim dies, you can even face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. This is why the intent and motivation are so important to this crime and why it’s critical you speak with a lawyer as soon as you are arrested so you do not say anything to the police that may later harm your case.
If you have been accused of any violent crime, particularly torture, please call(760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free consultation with top defense attorney Peter M. Liss.
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