Posted on December 21, 2015
Great Bodily Injury “GBI” Enhancement │ California Penal Code § 12022.7 PC
If you’re convicted of a felony offense, you may face additional punishment in the event the government alleges and proves a sentencing enhancement under California Penal Code § 12022.7. This statute requires the government to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you personally inflicted great bodily injury (“GBI”) to someone while you were in the “commission of a felony” or attempting to commit a felony. Consequently, if the government proves this enhancement, you face a consecutive 3 to 6 years in state prison in addition to your underlying sentence.
1. When is the GBI Enhancement Not Applicable?
• PC § 12022.7(g) provides that you cannot be charged with the GBI enhancement if the underlying offense contains an element of “great bodily injury.” Additionally, the statute provides that the government cannot allege this enhancement if you’re charged with murder or manslaughter.
• If you’re charged with Hit & Run under VC § 20001, the government cannot allege a GBI enhancement pursuant to People v. Valdez (2010) 189 Cal.App.4th 82.
• When the alleged victim only suffers minor or moderate injury. Examples include small cuts, bruises, or non-threatening markings.
• You were an accomplice within the felony or attempted felony. The GBI enhancement statute makes clear that it’s not applicable to accomplices.
• You were not “in the commission of a felony” or attempt thereof.
• You’re charged with a misdemeanor offense. The GBI enhancement only applies to felony charges.
• When you did not “personally inflict” great bodily injury upon another person.
2. What are the Degrees of Punishment for the GBI Enhancement?
• PC § 12022.7(a) provides a punishment of 3 additional and consecutive years in state prison to any felony crime causing GBI, with the exceptions below.
• PC § 12022.7(b) provides a punishment of 5 additional and consecutive years in state prison to any felony crime causing GBI where the victim suffers complete loss of motor function from injury to their nervous system or to their muscular mechanism – i.e., “paralysis”.
• PC § 12022.7(c) provides a punishment of 5 additional and consecutive years in state prison to any felony crime causing GBI where the victim is 70 years of age or older.
• PC § 12022.7(d) provides a punishment of 4, 5, or 6 additional and consecutive years in state prison to any felony crime causing GBI where the victim is under the age of 5 years old.
• PC § 12022.7(e) provides a punishment of 4, 5, or 6 additional and consecutive years in state prison to any felony domestic violence crime causing GBI to a victim.
3. What is “Great Bodily Injury”?
PC § 12022.7(f) defines great bodily injury as “significant or substantial physical injury.” Unless the injuries are glaringly minor or moderate, the issue of whether someone suffered “great bodily injury” is a question for a jury to determine. Because GBI is so imprecisely defined, it can often be the legal issue disputed in the case.
4. What are Examples of Great Bodily Injury?
• Broken Bones
• Loss of Limbs – leg, arm, or fingers
• Loss of Eyesight
• Skull Fracture
5. Free Criminal Defense Consultation
If you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime, contact Criminal Defense Attorney John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.