If you are charged, or if you are being investigated regarding unlawful wounding, you may be wondering what exactly this charge means. It is one of several assault-related crimes in Virginia, and it is very serious. A Culpeper unlawful wounding lawyer can help explain what unlawful wounding means, what you should expect from your case, and what options are available to you. Call today to schedule a consultation and discuss what a Culpeper assault lawyer can do for you.
Unlawful wounding is a similar charge to malicious wounding, but it is less serious. So, whereas malicious wounding is defined as when a person maliciously shoots, stabs, cuts, or wounds another person or by any means causes them a bodily injury and they do it with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill; unlawful wounding is when a person does any of those acts but does not have an intent to disfigure, disable, or kill. Their intent is unlawful rather than malicious.
For example, if someone shoots a gun at someone else with the intention of killing them and in fact does injure them, that will be malicious wounding, but if it were done with the intent to frighten, then that would be an unlawful wounding.
As a Culpeper unlawful wounding lawyer can tell you, the primary difference is the element of malice, so with an unlawful wounding there simply is not malicious intent.
The penalties associated with unlawful wounding are significant. It is a class 6 felony in Virginia, which means that there is the potential between one and five years of prison time or in the discretion of the jury or the judge, a jail sentence of up to twelve months and a fine of $2,500. There are also many long-term consequences for felony convictions that you can discuss with a Culpeper unlawful wounding lawyer, which may impact how you and your attorney want to handle the case.
Unlawful wounding cases, because they are felonies, will always be tried in the Culpeper County Circuit Court. If a person is charged by an indictment directly from a grand jury, then the entirety of their case will take place in the Circuit Court.
In many other circumstances where they are arrested on a warrant that has been issued by a magistrate judge, they will first have a preliminary hearing either in the General District Court or in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court if they themselves, or the victim, are a juvenile or if the victim is a family member. At the end of the hearing in one of those two Courts, which is to determine whether there is probable cause, either the matter is sent on to Circuit Court to be tried or it may be dismissed at that level.
Unlawful wounding can be charged in a number of ways. The fact pattern that Culpeper unlawful wounding lawyers see frequently is where an unlawful wounding charge arises is where a serious injury or wounding which involves the breach of the skin occurs where someone has done a reckless act.
For example, individual attempts to get someone to leave their car and points a gun at that individual in order to get them to leave. The gun goes off accidentally and the person was charged with unlawful wounding because the magistrate judge who issued the warrant believed that the facts showed that the person had been reckless in using the weapon that resulted in the shooting of another, but not that it was done with malice.
So, this can also be the case where there is a motor vehicle accident where a person is driving recklessly and that results in significant injuries to others which include a breach of the skin because again, while there may not have been an intent to disable or kill or maim, there nevertheless are significant injuries which are the result of reckless behavior by the accused.
A person can expect that an unlawful wounding charge is going to be prosecuted vigorously. In every case or in most cases where this is charge, there is an alleged victim who has suffered some sort of significant injury and in many cases is pressing the prosecutor’s office to prosecute the charge to the fullest extent and, because prosecutors are responsive in many cases to the wishes of victims of violent crimes, they will often either try the case or offer only very severe penalties in the course of a plea agreement. A person should be prepared for a process that includes trial and they should be looking for a Culpeper unlawful wounding lawyer with significant trial experience.
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