Posted on March 11, 2017

California “Great Bodily Injury” Enhancement | PC 12022.7

In California, sentencing enhancements apply to felony offenses only.  If the underlying felony resulted in the purported victim(s) suffering great bodily injury, then the District Attorney may allege an enhancement under Penal Code 12022.7.  Consequently, a great bodily injury enhancement elevates the underlying felony into a serious felony applied to California’s Three Strike laws.  In other words, the underlying felony transposes to a strike offense.

The term “great bodily injury” is legally defined as substantial or significant injury.  Typical examples include loss of consciousness, broken bones, or loss of body parts.  Scratches or light bruises are forms of minor or moderate harm and not sufficient to rise to the level of great bodily injury.

If the prosecutor can prove this enhancement, a defendant may face an additional three (3) to six (6) years in state prison to run consecutive to their underlying felony punishment.  The difference in punishment will depend on several factors including:

  • Whether the purported victim suffered a complete loss of motor function;
  • Whether the alleged victim is 70 years old or older;
  • Whether the alleged victim is under the age of 5 years old;
  • Whether the injury resulted from a domestic violence[1]

Determining whether someone suffered great bodily injury is a question of fact left for a jury to decide.  However, in cases where the prosecutor does not seek a grand jury indictment, there are steps within a felony case to attack the level of injury such as in a preliminary hearing or in a subsequent motion to set aside the information.

For more information about PC 12022.7 or to schedule a free confidential case evaluation with an Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney, contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers.

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