If you have been accused of a violent crime, such as assault causing great bodily injury, you should seek the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. It is important that you understand the charges that you are facing, the possible punishment if you are convicted, and the ways in which you can fight the charges. San Bernardino and Riverside assault defense lawyer Gregory H. Comings can help you understand your legal rights and defend yourself to the fullest extent of the law. We handle a wide range of cases involving violent crimes, such as aggravated assault and assault with a weapon as well as assault causing great bodily injury.
The term “assault causing great bodily injury” can be somewhat confusing because of the way that California defines the separate criminal offenses of assault and battery. Generally speaking, an “assault” is a threat or attempt to inflict harm on another person that does not actually result in physical contact or injury, while a “battery” occurs when a person uses willful and unlawful force upon another person. A battery does not necessarily involve a serious physical injury – or, for that matter, any injury at all. Any unlawful touching has the potential to be defined as “battery” unless the person committing the act has a valid defense.
The amount of harm inflicted by the defendant is a factor that is taken into consideration in determining, among other things, the amount of the jail time imposed on the defendant if he or she is convicted of assault or battery. With regard to “wobbler offenses” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor (punishable by less than a year in jail) or a felony (for which the defendant can serve a year or more in prison), the more serious the injuries inflicted upon the alleged victim, the longer and more severe the likely punishment.
Depending upon the circumstances giving rise to an assault or battery charge, a charge that the defendant caused great bodily injury (sometimes called “GBI” by attorneys) can be used as an enhancing factor, adding a certain number of years to the defendant’s punishment for the underlying offense. This can happen not only in assault and battery cases but also in domestic violence, robbery, and driving under the influence cases. (Exactly what constitutes a GBI can be a point of great contention at trial; basically, it needs to be an injury that is more than “minor” in nature, although not necessarily “severe.”) A finding that the defendant inflicted great bodily injury on the alleged victim can also change a crime that would not otherwise be considered a “strike” under California’s “Three Strikes” law into a strikeable offense. This can have a negative effect both on sentencing for the battery offense and in potentially drastically increasing the penalties for any future offenses.
If you allegedly caused great bodily injury to someone else, whether or not you used a weapon, the consequences can be grave. You need to make sure that your side of the story is thoroughly presented by an advocate who will put the appropriate time and effort into your case. At The Law Office of Gregory H.Comings, our top priority is making sure that each client has a fair outcome in his or her case, considering the relevant factors. This might be an acquittal or a decision by the State to drop the charges against the defendant, or it might be a plea bargain that gives the defendant the certainty and peace of mind that he or she needs in order to go forward with his or her life. To schedule an appointment to discuss an assault causing great bodily injury charge or another legal matter, call us at (951) 686-3457 or contact us online. We serve all of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties and can address any of your questions and concerns as the process unfolds.