What is malicious wounding?


A person may be charged with malicious wounding if the prosecution determines they have caused bodily injury to another person by cutting, stabbing, shooting or seriously wounding them in some way. Attorney Shawn M. Cline notes that malicious wounding is a Class 3 felony in the state of Virginia and that it carries much stiffer penalties than a Class 1 assault charge.

According to attorney Jamison Koehler, there are three components that must be proven in order to convict someone of malicious wounding in Virginia. The first component is showing that the defendant shot, stabbed, cut or wounded someone physically. The second component is proving that the defendant intentionally wanted to disfigure, disable or even kill someone by their actions. Malice is the third component that must be proven. Koehler relates that malice focuses on the defendant's state of mind at the time of the assault. For example, a person gets angry and seeks revenge for a perceived slight by hitting someone with a heavy object. The state could prove that this person showed malice and their motive was to cause severe injury.

There are two distinct levels to a malicious wounding charge as related by Koehler. On the regular charge, the penalty is five to twenty years in prison with fines going up to $100,000 per the Virginia Criminal Code as of 2014. A person could serve between twenty years to life for aggravated malicious wounding with fines up to $100,000. Individual states have separate criminal codes and penalties.

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