What Is Malicious Wounding?

upset man and woman on couch

Malicious wounding is a violent offense that is considered a Class 3 felony under Virginia Code § 18.2-51. Per the statute, it is unlawful to “maliciously shoot, stab, cut, or wound any person or any means cause him bodily injury, with the intent to main, disfigure, disable, or kill.” The penalties for this offense include 5-20 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000. If you’ve been accused of malicious wounding, it’s important to retain the services of a qualified criminal defense lawyer who can respond to the allegations and defend your rights in court.

Aggravated Malicious Wounding

Aggravated malicious wounding is a Class 2 felony punishable by 20 years to life in prison. This offense is similar to malicious wounding, except that the victim must be “severely injured and is caused to suffer permanent and significant physical impairment.”

The Difference Between Malicious Wounding & Assault and/or Battery

Many people are confused about the difference between malicious wounding and assault and battery. “Assault” and “battery” are actually two distinct offenses that are often used interchangeably. Assault is the threat of unwanted physical contact while battery is the action of physically attacking someone. For example, if you aggressively shout at someone before striking them, you may be charged with assault and battery. These are Class 1 misdemeanors that are punishable by fines up to $2,500 and up to 1 year in jail. However, battery against someone based on their race, color, sexuality, or religion is called “hate crime assault and battery,” which is a Class 6 felony.

Unlike assault and battery, malicious wounding is not a common law offense. The prosecutor needs to prove that you intentionally injured a person with a weapon or your body. For instance, if you track an unaware party down and break their nose, the prosecution can assert that you attacked this person with malicious intent. “Malice” is when someone deliberately commits a cruel and purposeful act with or without provocation. The court needs to analyze various factors before declaring a verdict, such as: the circumstances surrounding the incident, the defenselessness of the victim, and which areas of the body were targeted and injured.

To summarize, the key difference between malicious wounding and assault and battery all comes down to the defendant’s mindset:

  • Malicious wounding – the defendant acted with intent to cause bodily injury and did so with malice
  • Assault and battery – the defendant acted without a deliberate intent to cause injury

This can be a very thin line, so it’s important to discuss your case with an attorney.

Contact The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller Today  

If you’re facing criminal charges for malicious wounding or assault and battery, contact the trial-tested lawyer at The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller. Our attorney has represented clients in both state and federal courts. We can investigate your case, interview witnesses, and develop a comprehensive litigation strategy that can effectively reduce or dismiss your charges.

Don’t gamble with your future. Contact The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller at (757) 267-4949 to schedule a free consultation.

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