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SIMMS SHOWERS LLP Leesburg & Loudoun County Attorney
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Overview of Unlawful & Malicious Wounding Crimes in Virginia

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Unlawful wounding and malicious wounding are variations of assault crimes under Virginia law. These crimes involve unlawful actions or  malicious intent to inflict harm upon a victim. Consequently, Virginia assigns severe criminal penalties to unlawful and malicious wounding offenses, up to, and including, prison time as well as criminal fines.

  1. Unlawful Wounding

The definition of unreasonable wounding appears at Code of Virginia Section 18.2-51. A person commits this offense if they unlawfully:

  • Shoot, stab, cut, or otherwise wound a victim; or
  • Cause the victim to suffer bodily injury; and
  • Demonstrate an intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill.

Any person who commits unlawful wounding will face Class 6 felony charges. If convicted, the punishment can include a prison sentence between one and five years as well as criminal fines up to $2,500.

  1. Malicious Wounding

Section 18.2-51 also defines what qualifies as malicious wounding under Virginia law. A person commits this offense if they maliciously:

  • Shoot, stab, cut, or otherwise wound a victim; or
  • Cause the victim to suffer bodily injury; and
  • Demonstrate an intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill.

The key difference between these two offenses is malice: if the person charged with wounding does not have evidence of malice towards the victim, the charge is unlawful; otherwise, they would usually be charged with malicious wounding. Any person who commits malicious wounding will face Class 3 felony charges. If convicted, the punishment can include a prison sentence between five and 20 years as well as criminal fines up to $100,000.

That being said, there is a separate penalty structure for malicious wounding offenses committed against police officers, firefighters, and other emergency workers. As detailed in Code of Virginia Section 18.2-51.1, these malicious wounding offenses are punishable as felony crimes with a prison sentence between five and 30 years as well as criminal fines of up to $100,000. There is a mandatory minimum prison sentence of at least two years.

In order to qualify as malicious wounding against a police officer, firefighter, or other emergency worker, there is an important knowledge requirement. The offender must know – or have a reason to know – that the victim is a police officer, firefighter, or other emergency worker.

  1. Aggravated Malicious Wounding

The definition of aggravated malicious wounding appears in Code of Virginia Section 18.2-51.2. The aggravated version of this offense applies when a person commits malicious wounding and:

  • The victim sustains severe injury, including permanent and significant physical impairment; or
  • A pregnant victim sustains severe injury, including, not limited to, involuntary termination of the pregnancy.

Any person who commits aggravated malicious wounding will face Class 2 felony charges. If convicted, the punishment can include a prison sentence of 20 years to life as well as criminal fines up to $100,000.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you need legal assistance with Virginia charges for unlawful or malicious wounding or other criminal offenses, it can be thoroughly beneficial to reach out to an experienced Leesburg assault & battery lawyer. The results-driven lawyers at Simms Showers LLP feature more than 140 years of combined legal experience in matters such as criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, including charges of unlawful or malicious wounding, contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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Simms Showers LLP is conveniently located two blocks from the Loudoun County Courthouse. Our criminal defense firm offers a free phone consultation for criminal or personal injury cases. Se habla español. Call Simms Showers LLP for quality legal counsel today at 703-997-7821 or contact us online.

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