Great Bodily Injury Enhancement

Great Bodily Injury Enhancement People convicted of felony offenses may also be subject to sentencing enhancements that can increase the amount of prison time served. One of the most common sentencing enhancements is for great bodily injury pursuant to Penal Code § 12022.7. Under this enhancement, a person’s prison sentence can be increased between three and six years. In addition, the great bodily injury (“GBI”) enhancement will automatically turn the underlying sentence into a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law and the amount of time served would be dramatically increased.

What Constitutes Great Bodily Injury?

To qualify for the GBI enhancement, the prosecution must be able to prove that the victim suffered significant physical harm, surpassing the threshold of ordinary bodily injury. In this way, the California Legislature has increased penalties for crimes that result in actual serious bodily harm to another person.

For example, simply brandishing a dangerous weapon at another person and causing them to be placed in fear can constitute assault with a deadly weapon pursuant to Penal Code § 245(a)(1). However, if the defendant uses the weapon on the person and the victim suffers a significant injury, then the prosecution can also file a Great Bodily Injury enhancement, commonly referred to as “GBI,” that would add between three and six years to whatever sentence is imposed on the underlying assault with a deadly weapon charge.

Injuries that often qualify as “great bodily injury” include broken bones, loss of consciousness, concussions, burns, lacerations that require stitches or other curative medical attention. Injuries that do not qualify as “GBI” include minor lacerations that do not require medical attention, emotional damage or mere redness or soreness.

What Crimes Does the Great Bodily Injury Enhancement Apply To?

The great bodily injury enhancement under Penal Code § 12022.7 can be applied to numerous criminal felony offenses. The enhancement does not apply to misdemeanor crimes.

GBI is often added to domestic violence charges pursuant to Penal Code § 273.5, assault with a deadly weapon under Penal Code § 245(a)(1), DUI causing injury in violation of Vehicle Code § 23153 and a number of different sex crimes.

The GBI enhancement is inapplicable to a number of crimes. This includes murder under Penal Code § 187, manslaughter pursuant to Penal Code § 192 and any criminal offense in which causing great bodily injury is a named element of the offense.

What Penalty Does the GBI Enhancement Carry?

The great bodily injury enhancement will increase the defendant’s underlying sentence between three and six years. Under Penal Code § 12022.7a, the general rule is that great bodily injury will result in an additional three years in prison. Under Penal Code § 12022.7b, if the victim becomes comatose as the result of a brain injury or suffers paralysis, the additional prison term is five years. In addition, if the underlying criminal offense involved domestic violence, the defendant will face an additional prison term of up to five years.

The great bodily injury enhancement automatically makes the crime a “strike,” even if the underlying conviction was for a non-strike offense.

If you or a loved one have been charged with a offense and there is a great bodily injury enhancement, it is imperative that you consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney right away. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who understands how to effectively challenge criminal enhancements, including the GBI enhancement.

For more information about the great bodily injury enhancement, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at (888) 334-6344 or (323) 464-6453.

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