Breaking it down
Malicious wounding in Virginia is shooting, stabbing, cutting, wounding, or causing someone bodily injury, with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill.
- Malicious wounding requires malice – a state of mind in which you intend to cause harm or are so reckless that you don’t care if you cause harm
- When no malice exists, unlawful wounding may be charged
- When unlawful wounding causes permanent or significant impairment, the offense may increase to aggravated malicious wounding
- All wounding offenses are felonies
If you’re involved in a fight in Roanoke and end up hurting someone with a knife, beer bottle, baseball bat, or any weapon — you may find yourself charged with a very serious violent crime, called malicious wounding.
But what if the fight wasn’t your fault or you were only defending yourself? To avoid having things spiral out of control before your voice is heard, you’ll need an experienced defense lawyer with a history of success in cases like yours.
At Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico, we know there are always two sides to a story and are devoted to gathering the facts. Let us tell your story and get you the best possible result.
Charged with malicious wounding, unlawful wounding, or aggravated malicious wounding? Contact us immediately at (540) 343-9349 for a free and confidential consultation.
Malicious Wounding Charges in Roanoke
There are a few types of wounding charges in Virginia based on the situation, but all of them are are felonies. And if you’re charged with a wounding crime, you are facing a permanent criminal record as a violent offender, a significant prison sentence, and as much as $100,000 in fines.
In general, the crime is malicious wounding but it can be reduced to unlawful wounding under some circumstances or elevated to aggravated malicious wounding.
There are also times when using a bare fist can result in a malicious unlawful wounding charge.
Virginaia’s Malicious Wounding Law
Virginia Code §18.2-51 defines malicious wounding as shooting, stabbing, cutting, or wounding another person, or injuring another person by any means, with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill.
The key part of malicious wounding is the malice behind the act. This the frame of mind where you want to harm others. Sometimes malice can also mean being so reckless that you don’t care whether your actions result in someone harm.
When malice is present, malicious wounding is a Class 3 felony, punishable by five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Additionally, Virginia Code §18.2-51 goes on to say that when you stab, cut, or wound another person, or cause another person bodily harm, unlawfully and intentionally —but without malice — the offense is a Class 6 felony.
This reduced felony is generally punishable by one to five years in prison and a maximum $2,500 fine. Judges and juries may also impose a sentence of less than one year at their discretion.
To be charged with unlawful wounding, a prosecutor must prove only that:
- You shot, stabbed, cut, wounded, or injured the other person’s body
- With the intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill
Aggravated Malicious Wounding
When the victim of a wounding is permanently or significantly impaired, the offense is a Class 2 felony called aggravated malicious wounding, under Virginia Code §18.2-51.2.
The statute also makes it a Class 2 felony when the victim is a pregnant woman who is severely injured and permanently or significantly impaired. If your actions cause the pregnancy to end involuntarily, that also may be charged with aggravated malicious wounding.
The penalty for a Class 2 felony is 20 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Malicious Wounding of Public Safety Officials
Virginia Code §18.2-51.1 provides special penalties when the victim of a wounding is a public safety officer performing his or her job.
Public safety officers include:
- Law enforcement officers
- Search and rescue personnel
- Emergency medical service providers
A conviction under this statute is an unclassified felony punishable by five to 30 years in prison. This is an increase of 10 years compared to general malicious wounding. The sentence must also include at least two years of mandatory imprisonment.
Unlawful wounding of a public safety officer is a Class 6 felony carrying the same general punishment, but with a requirement that you serve at least one year in prison.
Defending Against Malicious/Unlawful Wounding
In most cases, being found guilty of these charges will depend on the available evidence regarding your intent. As such, there various defense strategies that an experienced Roanoke criminal defense attorney can utilize when dealing with an unlawful or malicious wounding crime.
Maybe you were misidentified at the scene or you were forced to defend yourself. Perhaps, the injuries involved were not as severe as originally thought and have been overcharged. This alone can result in a lesser charge of assault & battery.
At Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico, we are dedicated to protecting your rights and providing you with passionate legal representation. Whether this entails presenting an alternative perspective in court or aggressively negotiating to find a more suitable outcome, we will present your case in the best possible light.
Contact Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico Now
Make no mistake, malicious unlawful wounding charges should not be taken lightly. The consequences are harsh and can negatively impact your freedom, career, and future. This makes it absolutely essential to contact the defense lawyers with Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico, who have the experience and skills necessary to craft an effective defense.
An effective lawyer may be the difference in telling your side of the story getting the charges dismissed, being acquitted, or negotiating an outcome that doesn’t define the rest of your life.
Facing Malicious or Unlawful Wounding Charges in Virginia?
If you’ve been charged with a crime related to malicious wounding in Roanoke, Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico can evaluate the details and explain your options. For an free and confidential consult, call us at (540) 343-9349.