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How Is Malicious Wounding Different from Aggravated Assault?

If you’re accused of committing a violent crime in Virginia, it’s crucial to understand the specific charges against you, as details can significantly affect your case and the possible penalties you may face. For example, while the terms malicious wounding and aggravated assault may seem similar, the former could send you to prison for up to 20 years, while the latter typically carries less harsh – but still potentially life-changing – penalties.

The Virginia Beach defense attorneys at Pincus Goodman P.C. know how stressful it is to face criminal charges, and we want to provide some peace of mind in this challenging moment. We understand the subtle nuances of criminal cases and how to help you avoid incarceration. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between malicious wounding and aggravated assault and how our team can protect your rights.

How Does Virginia Define Assault?

Assault is the attempt to commit battery or cause another person to reasonably fear that they will be injured. Battery is the unlawful touching of another person in a harmful or offensive manner, even if it causes no actual injury. 

According to Virginia law, simple assault and assault and battery are Class 1 misdemeanors. If a person intentionally assaults another person due to their race, religious conviction, gender, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, color, or national origin and is convicted of simple assault, they will face at least six months in jail. A person found guilty of intentionally assaulting and battering a victim based on these characteristics will be convicted of a Class 6 felony and face at least six months in prison. 

What Is Malicious Wounding in Virginia?

Per Virginia law, a person commits malicious wounding if they shoot, stab, cut, wound, or by any means cause another person bodily harm with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill the victim. Malicious wounding is a Class 3 felony. According to the law, if the act is done unlawfully, but not maliciously, with the intent aforesaid, the offender shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

Class 3 felonies in Virginia are punishable by a minimum of five and up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $100,000. The penalties for Class 6 felonies include one to five years in prison and fines of up to $2,500. 

Under Virginia law, aggravated malicious wounding is a Class 2 felony that occurs when the victim is severely injured and suffers “permanent and significant physical impairment.” Prosecutors can also charge someone with aggravated malicious wounding if the offender victimizes a pregnant woman. Class 2 felonies carry a prison sentence of 20 years to life and fines of up to $100,000.

Defenses for Assault or Malicious Wounding Charges

You should hire a Virginia Beach criminal defense attorney immediately if prosecutors charge you with assault or malicious wounding. These offenses carry harsh penalties, and there’s simply too much on the line to leave the outcome to chance. Depending on the circumstances of the charges against you, an experienced attorney might defend you by:

  • Demonstrating you did not commit the acts in question
  • Showing you committed the alleged acts in self-defense
  • Establishing you did not intend to kill, maim, or disable the other person
  • Proving the victim did not suffer severe or permanent injuries

You have no time to waste if you’re facing assault or malicious wounding charges in Virginia. The team at Pincus Goodman P.C. is ready to help you through this difficult time and mount a vigorous defense on your behalf. Call us at 757-301-9634 or visit our contact page to set up a consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers.

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