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Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Explains: Maiming / Malicious Wounding in Virginia 

Virginia has several Maiming statutes.  The most serious maiming statute is Aggravated Malicious Wounding.  This offense requires the Commonwealth to prove an individual:

  • acted with malice
  • with the intent to permanently maim, disfigure, disable or kill another person
  • by causing bodily injury or by shooting, stabbing, cutting, or wounding that person; and
  • the person is severely injured & suffers a permanent and significant physical impairment

This offense is punishable by 20 years to Life in Prison.  

Virginia defines physical impairment as: a physical condition, anatomic loss, or cosmetic disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect, or illness.  Whether an injury is permanent and significant is typically a fact question for a jury to decide (or a judge in a trial without a jury).

Take away the permanent and significant physical impairment, you have the offense of Malicious Wounding.  This offense is punishable by 5 to 20 years in Prison.  Remove from Malicious Wounding the malice element, and you have Unlawful Wounding punishable by up to 5 years confinement.  

Malicious Wounding of a Law Enforcement Officer or Firefighter or Paramedic is punishable by 5 to 30 years with 2 years as mandatory minimum, meaning no part of the two years can be suspended by a Court.  Remove the malice element, the offense is punishable up to 5 years with a one year mandatory minimum period of confinement.

Malicious Wounding of a Pregnant Woman in which her pregnancy is involuntarily terminated as a result of the maiming is punished as Aggravated Malicious Wounding.

If you are facing a criminal prosecution for assault, or even if you are dealing with a civil assault matter, contact Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney George Freeman today.  He will gladly discuss your case with you.

Malicious Bodily Injury by Caustic Substance, lye, or acid, explosive or fire is punishable by up to 30 years in prison but not less than 5; if the act is done unlawfully but not maliciously it is punishable up to 5 years confinement. Notice one does not have to intend to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill - this intent is inherent in the use of the substances listed. Bodily injury can be any form of harm, however slight. 

Maiming by DUI - If a person is driving while intoxicated and as a result of that fact unintentionally causes the serious bodily injury of another person, they are guilty of a felony punishable by up to 5 years.  The statute also requires that the person commit the DUI in a manner so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life.  If the injury causes permanent and significant physical impairment, the offense is punishable by 2 to 10 years in Prison.  A person convicted of DUI Maiming will lose their privilege to drive in the Commonwealth indefinitely but may petition for reinstatement after a period of time.

Strangulation is also punishable as a felony.  If convicted, the individual faces up to 5 years confinement.  A strangulation occurs when a person who, without consent, impedes the blood circulation or respiration of another person by knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully applying pressure to the neck of such person resulting in the wounding or bodily injury of such person.  This offense most often occurs in domestic situations - at least that appears to be where most of the charges stem from.

Mob Assaults.  Assaults that occur, whether misdemeanor or felony, are also punishable under Virginia's Mob statutes.  What's notable under a Mob Assault or Wounding theory, a particular defendant may not have done much of anything insofar as inflicting injury on a victim.  However, once a mob is formed, which is a question of fact to be determined by a judge or jury, every member of the mob becomes liable for every other member of the mob as it relates to the criminal conduct.  This is known as accomplice liability.  Misdemeanor Mob Assault is punishable by up to 12 months in jail. Malicious or Unlawful Wounding by Mob, both felonies, are punishable up to 20 years in prison but not less than 5 years; notice, the penalty is not reduced even if the offense is done unlawfully but without malice. 

  • What is a Mob? Any collection of people, assembled for the purpose and with the intention of committing an assault or a battery upon any person or an act of violence. A mob need not expressly state their purpose or intent, for the collective action of the group can be the basis for determining a mob has formed. However, individual actors do not become a mob per se just because assaultive conduct occurs. What motivates the individuals of a mob does not have to be shared. Each member could have a different and unique motive; once they join with a shared purpose to assault, their respective motives are not relevant.

To read more about Felony Assaults in Virginia, click here.  To read the definition of Malice, go to our Murder page by clicking here.  Malice and Heat of Passion definitions apply to Homicide cases as well as Felony Assault cases.  Heat of Passion negates Malice.  For purposes of Felony Assaults, Heat of Passion can result in a Malicious Act becoming an Unlawful Act.

If you, or a loved one, are facing a felony assault prosecution or investigation, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer George Freeman today.  Mr. Freeman has successfully tried many felony assault cases formerly as a prosecutor, including Aggravated Malicious Wounding, Aggravated Malicious Wounding involving the involuntary termination of pregnancy, Malicious Wounding by Mob, and Unlawful Wounding.  When knowledge, skill, and courtroom experience matter to you most, trust in a seasoned trial attorney - call George Freeman today.

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