CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE 12022.7 SENTENCING ENHANCEMENT FOR A GREAT BODILY INJURY
If a defendant has been charged with specific felonies, they could face additional jail time if the prosecuting agency alleges a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury on the victim while committing the crime. This is allowed under California Penal Code 12022.7. This statute only applies to felony crimes. PC 12022.7 states a defendant could face an additional sentence of 3 to 6 years in a California state prison on top of the original sentence. This applies when a defendant inflicts great bodily injury on a victim during the commission of a felony or an attempt to commit a felony offense.
GREAT BODILY INJURY DEFINED
Legally, the term “great bodily injury” means significant or substantial physical injuries. However, please note that a great bodily injury does not include any emotion or financial harm, and the physical injury does not need to be permanent in order to qualify for this enhancement. The jury is who decides if there is a great bodily injury. Things the jury considers in making this decision are the severity and/or pain of the injury and whether there was a need for medical treatment.
Common examples of a great bodily injury may include: broken bones, concussion, gunshot wounds, wounds requiring stitches or staples, dog bites, or serious abrasions or burns. However, causing a great bodily injury to yourself or an accomplice does not satisfy this statute. It is important to note that a great bodily injury enhancement will only apply if the injury is more severe than the injury that typically would have resulted from the underlying felony.
GREAT BODILY INJURY ENHANCEMENT EXPLAINED
Under California Penal Code 12022.7, a great bodily injury sentencing enhancement is described as “Any person who personally inflicts a great bodily injury on any person, other than an accomplice, while committing a felony, or attempting to commit a felony offense, shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of in state prison for three to six years.”
Sexual Related Crimes
In addition to PC 12022.7, there is California Penal Code 12022.8 which defines a great bodily injury which results from sex crimes. This statute states, “Anyone who inflicts great bodily injury defined under PC 12022.7 on a victim involving certain sex crimes like rape, sodomy, child molestation, oral copulation by force, and unlawful bodily injury on the victim will receive an additional 5 year sentencing enhancement for each violation.”
GREAT BODILY ENHANCEMENT EXCLUSIONS
There are some circumstances in which a great bodily injury enhancement will not apply, including:
- Misdemeanor charges
- Victim suffered only minor injuries
- The underlying felony contains an element of great bodily injury
- Murder and manslaughter charges
- Hit and run charges
- Arson charges
COMMON UNDERLYING OFFENSES FOR GREAT BODILY INJURY
Some of the crimes in California which are often related to a great bodily injury enhancement are:
- PC 273.5 – corporal injury on spouse
- PC 368 – elder abuse
- PC 273 – child abuse
- PC 242 – battery
- PC 245(a)(1) – assault with a deadly weapon
- Vehicle Code 23153 – DUI causing injury
GREAT BODILY INJURY ENHANCEMENT PENALTIES
As stated above, PC 12022.7 is a sentencing enhancement. This mean if you caused great bodily injury while committing a felony, then you are facing a consecutive 3 to 6 years in a California state prison. Remember that this is in addition to the underlying felony’s sentence as well. The length of the enhancement will depend on the case, as outlined below:
- PC 12022.7(a) – punishment of 3 additional years in prison for a felony crime causing great bodily injury.
- PC 12022.7(b) – an additional punishment of 5 consecutive years if the victim sustains an injury to their nervous system or muscular mechanism, such as paralysis.
- PC 12022.7(c) – an additional punishment of 5 consecutive years for a felony crime causing great bodily injury when the victim is over 70 years old.
- PC 12022.7(d) – an additional 4, 5, or 6 additional and consecutive years in prison for a felony crime causing great bodily injury when the victim is less than 5 years old.
- PC 12022.7(e) – an additional 4, 5, or 6 additional and consecutive years in prison for a felony domestic violence crime causing great bodily injury.
FIGHTING A GREAT BODILY INUURY ENHANCEMENT
If you, or someone you know, has been charged with a felony in which there appears to be great bodily injury on the victim, please contact our office and our team of experienced criminal defense lawyers will review the details of your case in order to determine the best plan for you.