Los Angeles Great Bodily Injury DUI Attorneys Developing Solid Legal Strategies For Clients
California state law does it’s best to crack down on drunk drivers, even adding additional penalties for drivers who have had a past of committing the same crimes or even those who commit “serious” crimes, like DUI cases that involve great bodily injury (GBI).
Drunk Driving Law Firm Offering Top-Rated Legal Services For Drivers Facing GBI Sentence Enhancements
Because the statistics had unfortunately skyrocketed when it came to DUI cases in California, state law has formulated a pretty complex system that allows prosecutors to try to apply all types of sentence enhancements to increase a defendant’s sentencing.
Without the proper defense, a defendant could have to face serious time and pay for their mistake much longer than ever anticipated—sometimes to the point where it can detrimentally affect their future and the future of their loved ones as well.
Typically, the sentencing rules under California law can be really complicated, especially to someone who isn’t familiar with DUI laws and sentencing. However, if a defendant’s crime has resulted in a GBI, the DUI penalty enhancements may be more “straight to the point.”
California state law specifies that an additional 3 to 6 years is the natural sentence enhancement for DUI’s. This DUI sentence enhancement can be applied to anyone, convicted of a felony, who has caused a great bodily injury during the act of that felony.
There are certain situations that could increase the punishment, like if the defendant had discharged a firearm from a moving vehicle, the penalty enhancement could be extended from 3 to 6 years to 10 years if that fact can be proven. Plus, it would have to be proven that that particular action caused the victim’s GBI or death as well.
How Does The Court Actually Determine a GBI During a DUI Case?
California law takes a typical “cut to the chase” approach when it comes to GBI’s. The only thing that can make it more complicated is how the law defines and determines what exactly is a GBI, which is surprisingly less straightforward.
The legal definition of a GBI is an injury that is “significant or substantial physical injury.” As you can imagine, this leaves almost too much wiggle room for prosecutors, lawyers, juries, and judges to decide what is or what is not a “significant or substantial” physical injury.
As mentioned above, a GBI must be an actual physical injury to the body rather than any kind of emotional, mental, or financial harm to the victim. Automatically, jurors, prosecutors, and the judge will take into consideration the severity of the victim’s injury or injuries as well as the pain and suffering that the victim may have had to endure. Not to mention, the victim’s age and health may be considered as well as the medical treatment that follows the injury itself.
The Difference Between a “Serious” Bodily Injury and a GBI
In order to actually convict a defendant of a charge related to physical injury in the state of California, the prosecutor must be able to prove that the defendant’s action was what ended up resulting in what caused the injury. There is certain legalese that can be used, like “serious bodily injury” vs. “great bodily injury” and even proving “beyond reasonable doubt” that can make the legal process confusing if you’re not familiar with it.
Basically, if a jury convicts a defendant of a charge associated with a physical injury and then finds that the “serious” bodily injury rises to “great” bodily injury, a DUI sentence enhancement can be applied. The determination is completely in the jury’s hands, which further argues why it is so important to have a skilled L.A. County DUI attorney to defend you against such accusations.
The only exception is that whenever the defendant is convicted of murder or manslaughter, a GBI enhancement cannot be added because the sentence for a homicide conviction already accounts for the severity of that particular crime.
Your attorney will make sure that you understand what you’re facing, especially if the other party was injured. After all, a GBI enhancement will not be added to a DUI manslaughter conviction, but you could be facing a DUI with injuries that could qualify for a sentence enhancement if they rise to the GBI level.
Save Yourself and Your Future By Retaining The Best Los Angeles DUI Attorney
Not only do defendants face harsh punishments if the other drivers or passengers involved were injured during a night of drunk driving, but things could get even worse if you have other convictions on your record. Take into consideration your future, your loved ones, and your family and how they will be affected if you’re convicted of these DUI charges and their following penalty enhancements.
By taking the time to meet with a DUI defense attorney, you could spare you and your loved ones much stress, money, and heartbreak in the long run. Call the award-winning attorneys of Braden & Tucci to schedule your initial consultation.
Our team would be happy to set up a time to discuss the details of your case, provide sound legal advice, and move forward with an aggressive plan of action to defend you in court if you’re ready to do so. Don’t wait—call us now at (213) 935-7550!