Learn about the different malicious and unlawful wounding crimes in Virginia, the jail time and fines you could face, and how to reach an experienced lawyer.

Malicious and unlawful wounding crimes carry severe penalties in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia.

The crimes may include:

  • Unlawful Wounding (Va. Code 18.2-51)
  • Malicious Wounding (Va. Code 18.2-51)
  • Malicious Wounding by Mob (Va. Code 18.2-41)
  • Aggravated Malicious Wounding (Va. Code 18.2-51.2)

If any of these crimes occur, you're facing one of the most serious of all felony charges.

Even the least serious of these crimes is punishable by up to five years in jail. As the gravity of the offense increases, the amount of jail time also increases. For example, malicious wounding is punishable by a minimum of five years in prison, but the sentencing could be up to 20 years. Aggravated malicious wounding is punishable by 20 years–to–life in prison, which is the equivalent of first degree murder.

If you've been arrested for any form of malicious or unlawful wounding in Fairfax County, Prince William County, Arlington County, Loudoun County, Alexandria, or elsewhere in Northern Virginia, contact a criminal defense lawyer at Manikas Law, LLC as soon as possible to make sure that all of your rights are protected.

What Is Malicious and Unlawful Wounding?

The general Virginia malicious/unlawful wounding law (Va. Code 18.2-51) states that if a person "maliciously shoots, stabs, cuts, or wounds any person, or by any means causes him bodily injury, with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill" he shall be guilty of malicious wounding.

However, the statute goes on to say that if the accused does the act "unlawfully but not maliciously," he shall be guilty of unlawful wounding instead. A malicious wounding becomes an unlawful wounding if, for example, an accused is provoked or acts in the heat of passion.

One of the main differences between assault and battery and malicious/unlawful wounding is the mental state required. To obtain a conviction for malicious or unlawful wounding, the prosecutor must prove that the accused intended to "maim, disfigure, disable, or kill" the victim. This is a substantial burden that many jurors find difficult.

In an assault and battery case, however, the prosecutor must only show the intent to do a harmful or offensive act, such as spitting on someone in a rude manner. It's not necessary that someone specifically intends to shoot, stab, cut, or wound if charged with assault and battery. An individual must only do these things maliciously, which includes extremely reckless actions.

The other requirement of a malicious or unlawful wounding case is a shooting, stabbing, cutting, or wounding that cases bodily injury. Generally, a malicious or unlawful wounding does not require a breaking of the skin. Nor does it require the use of a weapon, although a weapon is often involved. However, use of fists, feet, teeth, or knees is within the phrase "by any means."

A malicious wounding becomes an aggravated malicious wounding when the alleged victim is "severely injured and is caused to suffer permanent and significant physical impairment."

Potential Penalties for Malicious and Unlawful Wounding

The possible penalties for a malicious wounding or unlawful wounding are as follows:

  • Malicious Wounding and Malicious Wounding by Mob are Class 3 felonies punishable by a minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $100,000.
  • Unlawful Wounding is a Class 6 felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine.
  • Aggravated Malicious Wounding is a Class 2 felony punishable by a minimum of 20 years in jail and a maximum of life in prison, and a fine of up to $100,000.

People often want to know, "What is the average jail time a person receives for a conviction of malicious or unlawful wounding?" However, the answer is highly case specific and cannot be generalized. The answer in any given case will depend on the Virginia Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a person's prior criminal history, as well as a variety of other factors. 

Other Malicious Wounding Crimes in Virginia

Specific state statutes explain other types of malicious wounding charges that may be brought in the Commonwealth of Virginia. These include:

  • Malicious Wounding by Mob (Va. Code 18.2-41): The statute provides that "any and every person composing a mob which shall maliciously or unlawfully shoot, stab, cut, or wound any person, or by any means cause him bodily injury with intent to maim, disable, disfigure or kill him, shall be guilty of a Class 3 felony."
  • Malicious Wounding of a Law Enforcement Officer, Correctional Officer, or Firefighter (Va. Code 18.2-51.1): A malicious wounding committed on a police officer, deputy, trooper, or other law enforcement officer or firefighter is punishable by imprisonment by 5–to–30 years in prison. Two years of this sentence is a mandatory minimum: 100 percent of this must be served. If the resulting conviction is an unlawful wounding of a law enforcement officer of firefighter, the offense is punishable by up to five years in prison with a mandatory minimum jail sentence of one year.
  • Malicious Wounding by Caustic Substance (Va. Code 18.2-52): Using acid, explosives, fire, or pepper spray to commit a malicious wounding is punishable by 5–to–30 in prison. An unlawful act is punishable by up to five years in jail. There's also a provision covering the use of tear gas (Va. Code 18.2-312), radiation, and biological substances (Va. Code 18.2-162 and 18.2-52.1).
  • Malicious Wounding in the Commission of a Felony (Va. Code 18.2-53): This code section creates a separate criminal offense where any person shoots, stabs, cuts, or wounds another person in the commission of, or attempt to commit, a felony. This crime is a Class 6 felony punishable by up to five years in jail and a $2,500 fine.
  • DWI Maiming (Va. Code 18.2-51.4): This law provides that any person who, as a result of driving while intoxicated, drives in a manner so as to show a reckless disregard for human life, unintentionally causes the serious bodily injury of another person resulting in permanent and significant physical impairment shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a $2,500 fine.

Experience You Can Trust

If you're accused with any type of malicious wounding or unlawful wounding crime, then you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to make sure all your rights are protected. A strong defense can have a significant impact on your future. Contact the offices of Manikas Law, LLC to learn more.