Maiming Text on a Computer Screen With the Scales of Justice in the Background | Oklahoma Criminal Defense LawyerIn Oklahoma, a simple assault and battery is a misdemeanor offense. However, there are a number of circumstances that can elevate the charge to a felony with much more serious consequences. One of these is the severity of the injury.

When an assault results in the alleged victim suffering permanent disfigurement or disabling injury, you may be charged with maiming. In Oklahoma, maiming is a felony with potential penalties of up to a $1,000 fine, up to life imprisonment, or both.

Understanding the Elements of a Maiming Charge

Maiming is discussed in 21 OK Stat § 21-751. This statute defines the crime as follows:

Every person who, with a premeditated design to injure another, inflicts upon his person any injury which disfigures his personal appearance or disables any member or organ of his body or seriously diminishes his physical vigor, is guilty of maiming.

Injuries That Support a Charge of Maiming

While the injury doesn’t necessarily need to be permanent to support a charge of maiming, it does need to be fairly serious. If the alleged victim has fully recovered before the trial, this injury is not sufficient for a conviction.

In our practice, we must often see maiming associated with cases where an individual has injured someone with boiling water or hot grease. Burn scars can lead to disfigurement as well as a possible loss of mobility, which means they meet the criteria for a maiming charge. However, if a person has a small scar that is not visible without close inspection and does not affect bodily function, this does not qualify.

Mental health injuries do not support a conviction for maiming, regardless of their disabling effects. An alleged victim may struggle with PTSD, depression, or anxiety that limits their ability to perform day-to-day activities, but this can’t legally be the basis for a maiming charge. Maiming only refers to physical injuries.

Intent to Injure Is a Crucial Element of a Maiming Charge

To be convicted of maiming, you must have deliberately caused an injury. However, you don’t need to have intended to cause the specific injury that occurred. For example, let’s imagine that you were drunk and in a fight with your brother. If you punched him in the face and he ended up with a black eye, that’s a domestic assault and battery. If you punched him in the face with the intention of giving him a black eye but accidentally knocked his eye out of the socket, that’s maiming.

Please note that premeditated intent doesn’t necessarily mean that you extensively planned to cause injury to the alleged victim. It is possible for premeditated intent to occur the instant before the injury is inflicted. This means that spur-of-the-moment actions due to anger or frustration still meet the criteria for a maiming conviction.

How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Since the punishment for maiming in Oklahoma can include life imprisonment, it’s vital that you seek experienced legal representation as soon as possible. You need a skilled Tulsa criminal defense attorney who can advocate for your interests and build the strongest possible defense to

minimize the negative consequences of the charge. Depending on the circumstances, this may include reducing the charge to a lesser offense, accepting a suspended sentence, or accepting a deferred sentence. 

At Berlin Defense, our focus is on providing aggressive defense services for individuals accused of domestic violence and other violent crimes that involve elements of coercive control in intimate partner relationships. Request our free offer, Top 10 Ways You Are Killing Your Defense, to learn about the common mistakes we often see clients make and what you can do to protect your legal rights when facing serious criminal charges in Oklahoma.

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If you or a loved one has been charged with a violent crime in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call 918-384-0850 for your initial strategy session. We are proud to serve Tulsa and all surrounding areas.


Lee Berlin
Dedicated to defending clients accused of domestic violence, sex & violent crimes throughout eastern Oklahoma