Malicious wounding is a crime that requires the Commonwealth to prove that a person intended to “maim, disfigure, disable, or kill” another. Recently, the Virginia Supreme Court was asked to examine whether a man convicted of a punching another man once was sufficient to uphold a conviction of malicious wounding. The Virginia Supreme Court agreed that the man’s actions revealed intent and upheld his conviction.
In the above-cited case, the defendant only was prevented from hitting the victim further because another man intervened. He only stopped attacking both men when he was told the police had been called. Based on this, and based on the serious injuries the single blow caused the victim, the Court found sufficient intent to affirm this conviction.
This “attendant violence” is enough to prove intent. Therefore a lawyer can work to show that their defendant did not fully intend to cause serious injury. If the defendant shows remorse immediately after the act, for instance, that can be enough to show the defendant lacked sufficient intent, as the Court found in Roark v. Commonwealth, 182 Va. 244, 251, 28 S.E.2d 693, 696 (1944). An attorney can work to show that a particular crime lacked this intent and attendant violence, which can be the difference between a conviction and exoneration.