What Is Great Bodily Injury?
Domestic Violence charges involving injury to a loved one or child are among the most serious in the criminal justice system. The California Penal Code provides for serious (prison) enhancements for the infliction of great bodily injury. This enhancement turns most felonies into “strikes” under California law.
“Great bodily injury” (sometimes referred to as “GBI”) is a legal term that basically means what is says…”great” bodily injury. Great bodily injury refers to physical injuries…not to emotional and/or financial ones. While major traumas such as brain damage and paralysis are obvious types of great bodily injury, it is important to understand that the injury doesn’t have to be permanent or all that severe. Unfortunately, what constitutes “GBI” is determined by judges and juries on a case-by-case basis. Thus, a very bad black eye can sometimes be a strike, other times not.
Because “GBI” is an ambiguous term, you need an experienced domestic violence attorney to represent your case before the Court. Many questions arise as to how exactly the injury came about, such as:
- Did your spouse or partner make false accusation for some reason?
- Was the injury self-inflicted?
- Was the alleged injury reported to use as leverage in a child custody case?
- Were you acting in self defense?
- Did someone else cause the injury?
- Were you protecting your children or pets from harm?
- Does your accuser have any history of mental problems or drug abuse?
- Were you in fear for your own safety?
The firm’s goal is to develop a strong and effective defense that creates a level of doubt as to what exactly did occur during the incident. Fortunately, in domestic violence cases, there is almost always a level of doubt about what occurred. Domestic violence attorney Joseph T. Rhea will meet with you personally to discuss what did happen and what the best defense is now.