Great bodily injury, according to California Criminal Jury Instructions on Enhancements and Sentencing Factors § 3160, means significant or substantial physical injury. Great bodily injury is an injury that is greater than minor or moderate harm.
When a sentencing enhancement of great bodily injury occurs, more prison time will be added to your sentence to be consecutively served.
To prove that someone should have a sentencing enhancement for great bodily injury, the People must prove: the defendant personally inflicted great bodily injury on the victim during the commission, or attempted commission, of that crime; and the victim was not an accomplice to the crime.
According to California Penal Code § 12022.7(a), any person who personally inflicts great bodily injury on any person other than an accomplice in the commission of a felony or attempted felony shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment in the state prison for three years. When faced with sentencing enhancement, punishments can vary because judges, prosecutors, and juries consider and weigh the circumstances surrounding the injury, the age of the victim, the severity of the injury sustained, the pain resulting from the injury, and the medical care required after the injury was sustained. Some offenses that are frequently enhanced for great bodily injury include brain injury, paralysis, broken bones, gunshot wounds, strangulation, injuries requiring multiple sutures, severe burns, and prolonged unconsciousness. Penal Code § 12022.7 also provides that the court may impose one enhancement for each injured victim.
At Bay Area Criminal Lawyers, PC, we have an in-depth understanding of sentencing enhancement and have the ability to help our clients avoid additional sentencing. We know that prosecutors often seek enhancements in order to make an example out of the accused, even when the injury is mild or less serious than required of a great bodily injury enhancement. Contact us today and we will work with you to get your charges reduced or dismissed. Those in the surrounding Bay Area can rely on our skills, experience, and dedicated approach for exceptional results.