", by 
Licensed under 
CC BY 2.0

Assault With Great Bodily Injury (GBI)

Assault is a crime that involves intentionally causing another person to fear an imminent bodily injury. However, in some cases, the severity of an assault can lead to more serious charges, such as Assault with Great Bodily Injury (GBI). In this article, we will explore what constitutes an assault with GBI, the potential penalties, and some legal defenses available to those facing such charges.

What is Assault With Great Bodily Injury (GBI)?

Assault with Great Bodily Injury (GBI) is a specific criminal charge in California under Penal Code Section 245(a)(4). To be charged with this offense, certain criteria must be met:

  • Intentional Act: The defendant must have intentionally committed an act that resulted in an assault.
  • Great Bodily Injury: The victim must have sustained a significant or substantial injury, often referred to as "great bodily injury" (GBI). This injury goes beyond minor harm and may include fractures, gunshot wounds, severe burns, or injuries requiring surgery.

It's important to note that in an assault with GBI case, actual physical contact is not required. The mere act of creating a situation where the victim fears imminent harm, which subsequently results in a significant injury, can lead to these charges.

Penalties for Assault With GBI

Being convicted of Assault with GBI can have severe consequences. The penalties for this offense include:

  • Felony Conviction: Assault with GBI is classified as a felony in California. This means that a conviction can result in a felony record, which may have long-term consequences for employment, housing, and other aspects of life.
  • State Prison Time: Defendants convicted of Assault with GBI may face substantial prison sentences, often ranging from two to four years. In cases involving severe injuries or aggravating factors, sentences can be even longer.
  • Significant Fines: Convicted individuals may also be required to pay fines, which can amount to thousands of dollars.
  • Restitution: The court may order the defendant to compensate the victim for their medical expenses and other losses resulting from the injury.
  • Probation: In some cases, a defendant may be granted probation as an alternative to or in addition to imprisonment. Probation may come with conditions such as counseling, restraining orders, or mandatory anger management programs.

Legal Defenses Against Assault With GBI Charges

Facing Assault with GBI charges can be daunting, but it's essential to remember that there are legal defenses available to those accused of this offense. Some common defenses include:

Self-Defense: If the defendant reasonably believed they were in imminent danger of physical harm, they may have acted in self-defense. Self-defense can be a valid legal defense in assault cases.

Lack of Intent: Assault charges require that the defendant acted intentionally. If it can be proven that the defendant did not have the intent to cause harm or fear in the victim, it may lead to a reduction in charges or acquittal.

Mistaken Identity: In some cases, mistaken identity or misidentification may be at play. Showing that the defendant was not the person who committed the assault can be a strong defense.

False Accusations: False accusations can and do occur. If it can be demonstrated that the victim falsely accused the defendant, it may lead to a dismissal of charges.

Insufficient Evidence: Prosecutors must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is insufficient evidence to support the allegations, it can result in a favorable outcome for the defendant.


In conclusion, Assault with Great Bodily Injury (GBI) is a serious criminal offense with significant penalties. However, individuals facing these charges should remember that they have legal rights and potential defenses that can be explored with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Consulting with an attorney is crucial in building a strong defense strategy and seeking the best possible outcome in such cases.

H Law Group Online

Legal Tips straight to your inbox!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.