Understanding Malicious Wounding Charges In Virginia

Malicious wounding charges represent a specific legal area for violent crimes that are considered acts of passion, spontaneous, and unprovoked outbursts. While there are a range of potential charges and subsequent penalties, malicious wounding charges in Virginia all represent serious felony charges with jail time, prison sentences, and fines. If you are dealing with malicious wounding charges in Virginia, consider reaching out to an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Faraji A. Rosenthall at 703-934-0101 today to learn more about your legal rights.

What Is Malicious Wounding?

Malicious wounding is the legal term in the state of Virginia for what is otherwise known as assault and battery. The delineator between what is traditionally known as assault and battery and that of malicious wounding comes in the form of not only intent but the severity of the wounds inflicted. If the outcome is severe harm, a great deal of blood, for significant wounds, the legal charges can be propelled to that of malicious wounding.

Assault Versus Malicious Wounding

Simple bar fights that come to blows might be considered assault and battery, even if a victim’s nose is broken or there is external bruising. Injuries are legally defined as damage to the organs or internal damage.

However, as soon as a fight results in punctures to the skin and blood or potentially permanent damage internally, the charge is elevated to that of malicious wounding because any situation where the skin is broken and blood is spilled is legally considered a wound.

Virginia State Laws

Virginia State Laws indicate that anyone who maliciously stabs, cuts, shoots, or wounds someone else, or who causes any type of bodily harm with the specific intent to disable, maim, disfigure, or kill them will face charges of “aggravated malicious wounding”.

The same applies to situations where a pregnant woman is attacked in the same fashion, with the intent to involuntarily terminate her pregnancy. The termination of the baby in question is considered a severe injury.

Understanding Malice

Malice indicates the person intentionally and knowingly caused injuries to someone else with the purpose of causing them physical harm. Another aspect of malicious wounding is causing harm with no great provocation. This component indicates the violence in question is rather spur-of-the-moment. Another way of referring to malicious wounding is a heat of the moment act of violence, or an act of passion.

Moreover, the legal language of Virginia state laws specifies that the wounds can be caused by any method so it is not limited to shooting, stabbing, or cutting someone. Even something as simple as releasing a trained dog to attack another person could constitute malicious wounding.

Malicious Wounding Charges in the State of Virginia

Malicious wounding charges constitute a Class 2 Felony in the state of Virginia. Additionally, Virginia Code 18.2-51 states if anyone stabs, shoots, cuts, or wounds another person with the intent to cause injury, kill, disable, disfigure, or maim, they can face a Class 3 Felony.

In situations where the acts are not conducted maliciously, but unlawful nonetheless, it constitutes a Class 6 Felony.

Penalties for Malicious Wounding

Depending on the severity of the malicious wounding charges in Virginia, a person can face a range of punishments if convicted.

Class 2 Felony

If convicted of a Class 2 felony, the maximum penalties include between 20 years and life in prison as well as a fine of $100,000.

Class 3 Felony

If convicted of a class 3 felony, the maximum penalties include between 5 and 20 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.

Class 6 Felony

If convicted of a Class 6 felony, the maximum penalty includes between 1 year and 5 years in prison with a fine of up to $2,500. However, at the discretion of the judge or the jury, it can take the form of a fine of up to $2,500 and 12 months in jail. For this reason, you should consider reaching out to an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Faraji A. Rosenthall in order to understand all of your legal options and ensure your rights remain protected if you are charged with malicious wounding in the state of Virginia.

Defenses for Malicious Wounding

There are different types of defenses for malicious wounding charges in the state of Virginia. In some cases, a successful legal defense strategy comes in the form of defenses that include either self-defense or defense of others.


There are situations where a person may simply find themselves at the receiving end of harassment and be forced to use extreme circumstances to defend themselves or others. The prosecution has to prove that the malicious act was unprovoked and, again, a spur-of-the-moment outburst. If you, as the defendant, took a moment to calm down and try to rethink the situation before continuing with a physical altercation, that would not represent an unprovoked or spur-of-the-moment outburst.

However, if you perceive a reasonable amount of danger and act in such a way as to protect yourself from that danger, then your attempt to protect yourself (self-defense) from the perceived danger could result in wounds to other people present.

Defense of Others

In another scenario, if you are at work and someone comes into your office building or your restaurant and they began verbally and physically abusing the staff members, you can legally use reasonable force to defend your co-workers and yourself from harm. The sporadic nature of the attack on your co-workers represents unprovoked malice. If that reasonable force resulted in serious wounds, your defense can take the form of self-defense and the defense of others.

Anytime you attempt to defend others and cause harm to the perpetrator of the attack in the process, you may have the right to pursue a defense of others strategy in your malicious wounding case.

Contact an Experienced Defense Attorney To Learn More About Your Legal Rights

Malicious wounding charges in Virginia are considered serious crimes. If a person is convicted they can receive a felony charge, which may remain on their permanent record. Consider contacting an attorney to learn more about the statutes pertaining to malicious wounding. When you reach out to the Law Office of Faraji A. Rosenthall at www.farlawoffice.com or 703-934-0101, we can provide a consultation to review your situation and prepare you for the next steps.