California Penal Code Section 12022.7 PC concerns the great bodily injury (GBI) sentencing enhancement. It states that, if you inflict “great bodily injury” on the victim while committing a felony or attempting to commit one, the judge has the right to add three to six additional years of incarceration to your sentence, and you must serve the additional years consecutively to your original sentence.
Domestic violence, also known as “corporal injury on spouse” (273.5 PC) is just one of the crimes where the prosecution has the right to seek the GBI sentencing enhancement. You can get charged with domestic violence even if you and the victim are not legally married, and even if you never lived together. The prosecution can also seek the GBI sentencing enhancement for other violent crimes, like child abuse and sexual assault.
The law does not clearly define “great bodily injury.” You can get a GBI sentencing enhancement even if the victim made a full recovery from their injuries. The cost of medical treatment also is not a deciding factor in whether the injury counts as GBI:
- Examples of great bodily injury include concussions, broken bones, gunshot wounds, and wounds that require stitches
- Unlike in civil cases, the amount of emotional distress the victim suffered does not determine whether an injury counts as GBI
- To get a GBI sentencing enhancement, the victim’s injuries must be more serious than what results from “normal” domestic violence
- Using a weapon might result in a GBI sentencing enhancement, but not in every domestic violence case involving weapons
- Whether you got injured while committing the act of violence has no bearing on whether you get a GBI sentencing enhancement
GBI sentence enhancements are decided on a case-by-case basis. It is up to the prosecution to decide whether to seek the sentencing enhancement, and it is up to the jury to decide on whether the GBI sentencing enhancement is applicable in your case. Because the law is so vague about what counts as a great bodily injury, GBI sentencing enhancement cases tend to be subjective. If the prosecution tries to vilify you and succeeds, you could spend an additional six years in prison.
If you are charged with domestic violence, and the prosecution wants to seek a GBI sentencing enhancement, the Ventura criminal defense lawyers at Strongest Defense can make all the difference. Your lawyer can argue that the GBI sentencing enhancement should not apply, or that you should be acquitted:
- Your lawyer may be able to persuade the jury that the victim’s injuries are not serious enough to warrant a GBI sentencing enhancement, especially if the victim made a full recovery.
- Your lawyer may be able to persuade the jury that the police or prosecution violated your rights in gathering, presenting, or suppressing evidence related to your case.
- Your lawyer may be able to argue that the jurors are biased, and the court chose jurors who made up their minds that you were guilty before they even heard any evidence.
The U.S. Constitution and federal and state laws give you rights in criminal cases, but the criminal justice system is all too eager not to respect them. Your Ventura criminal defense lawyer will stand up for your rights.
If you have been charged with domestic violence
with GBI sentencing enhancement, call 805-477-0070.
We can provide you with a free case review.
Strongest Defense provides the highest quality legal representation to defendants in criminal cases. Getting charged with domestic violence can affect many aspects of your life, even if you are acquitted. We will work to ensure that you get to exercise your legal rights, and we will explore every possibility for getting charges dropped, presenting strong defenses at trial, or arranging plea deals. Every case is different, and no honest lawyer can guarantee a certain outcome. This website is for information only; contact Strongest Defense to discuss your case.