Malicious Wounding Laws and Penalties in Virginia

April 3, 2020
guy pointing  a gun

Severe injuries often occur as a result of a physical altercation. Although most injuries are relatively minor and are done without intent to inflict severe harm, other injuries are the result of a concerted effort to cause permanent harm to another person. Since wounding someone permanently is a serious offense against law and order, Virginia has malicious wounding and unlawful wounding laws that seek to severely punish the perpetrators of violent crimes that are done with malicious intent.

Malicious Wounding Laws in Virginia

Virginia defines malicious wounding as a crime where someone maliciously causes bodily harm to another person by any means and with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill. The injury does not need to be life-threatening in order to constitute malicious wounding. Instead, courts focus on the perpetrator’s intent and whether the victim was injured in some way.

When Malicious Wounding Charges Apply

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the most common test for malicious wounding is when the wounds penetrate a victim’s skin. Therefore, courts usually look at whether a defendant intentionally used a knife, gun, or other weapon or implement in the course of committing the violent act. However, punches and kicks can also lead to malicious wounding charges when a defendant intended to injure internal organs and/or has managed to break the victim’s skin.

As long as an injury of any type occurred, there is no requirement for prosecutors to prove that a serious wound was inflicted. Additionally, when serious wounds occur, prosecutors usually choose to press more serious charges under Virginia’s aggravated malicious wounding statutes. In the alternative, if the violent act is determined to have been done unlawfully but not maliciously, and with the same intent for bodily harm, the charge can be reduced to a lesser offense of unlawful wounding.

When You Can Avoid Malicious Wounding Charges

There are many cases where malicious wounding charges cannot be pressed against a defendant. For instance, the requirement of proving that a defendant intended to cause permanent injury or death is usually difficult. Additionally, and unlike many serious offenses, there are two lesser possible offenses to malicious wounding: unlawful wounding and assault and battery. In many cases, Fairfax VA criminal attorneys can successfully argue that a defendant’s intent cannot be proven or mitigating circumstances to try to get the charge reduced or dropped. Consequently, Rudolphi Law can help create options for a defendant facing malicious wounding charges.

Consequences of Malicious Wounding Charges and Lesser Offenses

Ordinary malicious wounding charges are Class 3 Felonies punishable by 5 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. In contrast, the lesser charge of unlawful wounding carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Finally, the even more mitigated charge of Assault & Battery is a Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Defending Against Unlawful Wounding Charges

If you have been accused of malicious wounding, unlawful wounding, or assault and battery, you can defend yourself from facing serious consequences by having competent Fairfax VA criminal attorneys at your side. Rudolphi Law helps people who have been accused of violent crimes to avoid serious penalties. Get in touch with the skilled Fairfax VA criminal attorney at Rudolphi Law today to receive the competent defense that you need.