How to Avoid the Three-Year Great Bodily Injury Enhancement in a California DUI Case
People don't realize all of the bells and whistles that the prosecutors, legislature, the police and judges are ready to hit you with if you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or any other substance that affects your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
They've got all sorts of good stuff in California and I say that sarcastically ready for you, and the latest one — and they're using it as a very vicious weapon — is great bodily injury.
So, if you're driving along and you're over the legal limit, you've got drugs in your system and you get in an accident and they determine that you couldn't safely operate a motor vehicle because of your impairment and somebody gets seriously injured.
In fact, they get hurt so bad that the prosecutors claim they have great bodily injury — like a broken leg for example.
There's a whole slew of scenarios where somebody could have great bodily injury (CALCRIM 3160) and I find myself arguing this all the time.
Great Bodily Injury Allegation
Sometimes people are just trying to dummy-up a personal injury case, claiming they're hurt.
They get an attorney and now they're trying to get you for a great bodily injury allegation.
The prosecutors can't, unfortunately, read between the lines sometimes and see that the person is really not hurt that bad.
Regardless, you're charged with great bodily injury. What does that really do and how do you get out of it? How do you avoid that allegation?
Great bodily injury is an enhancement under California Penal Code 12022.7. It's not a charge.
You're going to be charged with a felony DUI. They're going to allege great bodily injury and now here's what you're looking at.
You're looking at an extra three years in prison at 85% tacked on the back of whatever sentence you get.
So, if you get three years for example for the DUI, you could get another three years for the great bodily injury allegation. Now you have six years.
You have to serve the six years at 85% and any crime that has a GBI allegation attached to it that you admit is a strike.
So, now you have a strike on your record in California for the rest of your life if you have to admit that enhancement.
Plea Bargaining With Prosecutor
Now you start to get a sense of what they're going with these DUI cases. This is only one little example, but it turns out to be a big example because that gives the prosecutors a lot of bargaining room.
So, when they file the case and charge you with great bodily injury, you're now looking at many years in prison, a strike, etc.
Now you're going to be a lot more reasonable when it comes to negotiating because you want to get the lightest possible sentence.
One way to get out of that three years relating to the great bodily injury allegation is to convince the prosecutors — even if they want you to admit the great bodily injury.
Also, they get they're strike, they get 85% of whatever they have you serve — whether it be county jail time or prison time — but they strike the three-year punishment, they're allowed to do that.
So, you still end up with a strike because you admitted the great bodily injury allegation related to a DUI case in Los Angeles, but now you don't have to serve that three years prison.
Hopefully your attorney can negotiated something for you that keeps in custody a very minimal amount of time, especially with the corona virus going around, the overcrowding and the danger that's always been attendant anytime you go into county jail or prison.
Negotiation to Drop GBI Allegation
So, what we really need to look at is, how do we convince the prosecutor to either get rid of the great bodily injury allegation altogether — which I've bee, able to do in some cases, or at least strike that three-year punishment — especially if you're good for the DUI.
They're going to look at a lot of different factors in doing that. Do you have a prior criminal record? Have you ever had a DUI before? Do you have a job? Do you have a family?
So, they're going to say, okay, this guy was a normal guy or this woman was a normal woman beforehand and they made a mistake with a horrible result.
We're not going to kill them here. We're going to punish them accordingly.
We're going to put a mark on their record but do we really need to put them in prison that long? That's really an argument that can be made for most people who get first-time DUI's and just happen to cause a bunch of damage.
But once you start getting into a realm of having prior DUI's, you've been warned before, you've been punished before and now here you are again, now the prosecutors and the judge start to take the position they're going to take it out of your hide.
They're really going to teach you a lesson and use the weapons that the legislature has given them related to DUI's in California.
So, in my opinion, in you have any chance — and this is just my opinion.
I've been doing this for 26 years — if you want to have a chance to be in the best position to either fight the case — this really isn't great bodily injury — the person's not hurt that bad — if it makes sense in your case — or yes, the person is hurt bad but I had insurance. I'm going to take care of him.
Experienced DUI Attorney
Whatever the case may be, you're going to have to have a champion. You're going to have to have an attorney who's been down the road before that you're about to travel and been successful and got good results for their clients.
Look at my over four hundred reviews on the internet. Look at my videos. I want people to see me talk. I want them to hear me.
I want them to know that I am that champion. I have handled these type of cases before. I have had success.
Pick up the phone. Make the call. If it's you or your loved one, I'm easy to talk to.
We'll either talk over the phone and get it set up or talk in person, whatever needs to be done in order to get you or your loved one on the road of getting out of custody and resulting the matter as quickly and effectively as possible.