Great Bodily Injury in a DUI Case

“Great bodily injury” refers to injuries so serious they carry extra penalties in a DUI case.

In California law, the term “great bodily injury” is used to refer to serious injuries that cause lasting or severe effects. Since many DUI cases involve car accidents and injuries, the law makes a distinction between those that cause minor injuries and those that cause severe ones. If your DUI caused anyone great bodily injuries (other than yourself) you face substantially tougher penalties.

What counts as great bodily injury?

Traditionally, the concept of great bodily injury referred to injuries that left lasting, long term effects. The California Supreme Court changed this, and now a wider variety of serious injuries count. For example:

  • Broken bones
  • Injuries that continue to cause visible bruises after months
  • Second or third degree burns
  • Brain injuries
  • Severe cuts or lacerations requiring stitches
  • Any injury that causes a last disability such as blindness, walking with a limp, etc.

What are the penalties for DUI causing great bodily injury?

If your DUI caused someone great bodily injury, it will likely be charged as felony DUI causing injury. The sentence includes:

  • A minimum two years in state prison
  • Three to six additional years for causing one person great bodily injury
  • One more year for each additional person who suffered great bodily injury (up to three)

You will also face special penalties as a felon.

Related Frequently Asked Questions