the State Bar of California
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Assault by Means of Force Likely to Cause Great Bodily Injury

“Assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury” is a “wobbler” offense, meaning that it can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony, depending upon the specific circumstances involved in each case. This offense is typically charged by prosecuting agencies as a violation of Penal Code section 245, subdivision (a), subsection (4).

As a misdemeanor, a violation of Penal Code section 245, subdivision (a), subsection (4), carries a maximum possible sentence of one year in county jail and a maximum fine of $10,000. As a felony, this offense carries a maximum possible sentence of four years in state prison.

The decision to file felony versus misdemeanor charges depends largely on three things: (1) the egregiousness of the conduct involved in the alleged assault; (2) the extent of the injury suffered by the alleged victim; and (3) the alleged perpetrator’s prior criminal history. These same three factors will also have a significant impact on what the precise criminal penalties will be in each case.

Under some circumstances, when the prosecuting agency elects to file felony assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury, they also elect to file a special allegation pursuant to Penal Code section 12022.7, et seq. as well. This is a serious enhancement that should not be taken lightly for many reasons. The allegation requires that the prosecution prove that the defendant “personally inflicted great bodily injury” upon another person. If convicted of this allegation, this adds an additional minimum of three years to your custody sentence, but it could be more, depending upon the circumstances and which subdivision is alleged under Penal Code section 12022.7. If admitted or found to be true, this allegation also has the effect of making the underlying conviction a strike pursuant to California’s Three Strikes Law. This could have the collateral consequence of doubling any sentence you may receive in certain other felony convictions that may occur in the future.

Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to fight “the system” alone by trying to take matters into your own hands. You need a skilled and experienced attorney who understands how to evaluate the evidence in your case and explore any potential defenses that may exist in the law.

If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges for assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury, contact your Temecula/Murrieta criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Julie Ann Baldwin, APC for your free case consultation now. Your future and your freedom deserve to be taken seriously by an experienced attorney who is committed to quality representation and compassionate advocacy, every step of the way.