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Assault with the Intent to commit a Felony (PC 220) Laws in California- IE-Criminal Defense

I. PC 220: Assault with the Intent to Commit a Felony


Legal Definition: (a) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (b), any person who assaults another with intent to commit mayhem, rape, sodomy, oral copulation, or any violation of Section 264.1, 288, or 289 shall be punished by imprisonment…

For a person to be convicted of a violation of PC 220 the prosecution must show that:

  1. You willfully applied force to another person;
  2. You were aware, or should have been aware that you were applying force to another person;
  3. You had the present ability to apply force to the victim,

AND

  1. You were intentionally doing this assault while committing one of the crimes listed below:

a. Mayhem

b. Rape

c. Sodomy

d. Forcible Sexual Penetration with a Foreign Object

e. Lewd Acts on a Minor

f. Unlawful Sex with a Minor

g. Rape in Concert with another

II. What does this mean?


The terms of “application of force” and “apply force” mean to touch in a harmful or offensive manner. The slightest touching can be enough if it is done in a rude or angry way. Making contact with another person, including through his or her clothing, is enough. The touching need not cause pain or injury of any kind. You do not actually have to “touch” another person to be proven guilty under this section. The touching itself can be done indirectly by causing an object or someone else to touch the other person. Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose. All that is needed is that the contact that is done is harmful or offensive to a reasonable person.

The purpose of this charge is to show a person who is attacking another, with the main reason to be to commit one of the listed crimes above. For example, if you attempted to assault a person so you can rape them, that is how you can be charged in. If during that rape, you were punching them, then you can be charged with the Rape, as well as a violation under this section. For the crime of Mayhem, if you were to knock a person unconscious with a bat, in order to cut off their foot, then that would also be sufficient for this to be charged against you.

III. Penalties


A violation under PC 220 is a felony offense. The possible exposure you could face with a conviction is based on specific factors in your case discussed below:

  1. Unless described below, you could be sentenced to upwards of two, four or six years in State Prison
  2. If the victim in your case was under 18, and you were intending to commit a felony sex crime, then you could be sentenced to upwards of five, seven, or nine years in State Prison.
  3. If you were committing First Degree Burglary and intended during that Burglary to commit a felony sex crime, you could face life in State Prison.

You would have to serve a minimum of 80% of your time in custody with a conviction under this section. PC 220 is not a Sex Crime requiring registration under PC 290, however, if you were committing this crime while committing a sex crime that does required registration, then you would be required to register for that sex crime. This would affect a person’s ability to get Citizenship through Immigration law given the serious nature of the charges. And most people would never be able to practice with a Professional License again if convicted under this section.

IV. Common Defenses


  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Insufficient Evidence
  3. Violation of Rights

If you are entering a residence or a room, for example, to commit a sex crime, then if you decide to “abandon” that crime, it will not change your situation for the better. Once the assault is committed, then you have already done the assault with the intent to commit that sex crime, even if you later decide to change your mind. If the contact or assault is something that is incidental or accidental without any intent to commit a felony, or the assault is abandoned before committed, then that could act as an abandonment of the crime, and you could be protected from prosecution here.

You also cannot be found guilty if you were unsuccessful at committing the attempt crime. This charge requires a successful assault. Failing to do the assault, or just changing your mind to not do it, would act as a defense to the offense. You can have an intent to commit a felony, but without a successful assault, it becomes only bad thoughts, but no crime. But, if you fail to do the assault, but still attempt to do the crime, you can be charged for an attempted version of the crime you were trying to commit, but not under this section.

V. Call Today


An assault with the intent to commit a felony can land you in State Prison for a long time, and even the rest of your life. Showing you lacked the intent to commit the felony, or that you had abandoned the act prior to the assault, can mean the difference between a dismissal, and a long stay in Prison. Our PC 220 Ontario attorney has successfully defended numerous cases involving assault with intent to commit felony charges under PC 220. You, or your loved one, cannot chance to ruin your life. The initial consultation is free and we are available to answer your questions 24/7. Call the Inland Empire Criminal Defense today at 909-939-7126! Located in Ontario, CA.

Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor should it be considered the formation of a lawyer or attorney-client relationship. If you would like to find out more information about your particular legal matter, contact our office for a consultation.

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