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Assault with the Intent to commit a Felony (PC 220) Laws in California

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,


  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

What does this mean?

The terms “application of force” and “apply force” refer to the act of harmful or offensive contact. Even the slightest touch, when done rudely or in anger, suffices. The contact can occur through clothing and does not necessarily cause pain or injury. It is important to note that direct physical contact is not a requirement for a guilty verdict under this section. Indirect contact, achieved by causing an object or another person to touch the individual, is sufficient. Willful commission of an act involves doing so willingly or with intent. The only condition is that the contact is considered harmful or offensive by a reasonable person.

The purpose of this charge is to establish intent to commit one of the aforementioned crimes when one person attacks another. For instance, if an individual attempts to assault another person with the intention of rape, they may be charged accordingly. If during the course of the rape, the assailant also punches the victim, they can be charged with both rape and a violation of this section. In the case of Mayhem, if an individual were to render someone unconscious using a bat in order to deliberately sever their foot, it would also warrant charges under this section.


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.

Common Defenses

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

If an individual intends to enter a residence or a room with the purpose of committing a sex crime, it is important to note that simply deciding to abandon the crime will not alleviate the severity of the situation. Once the assault is perpetrated with the intent to commit the said sex crime, the act has already been deemed as such, even if the individual later alters their decision. However, if the contact or assault is incidental or accidental, without any intention to commit a felony, or if the assault is abandoned before it is carried out, then it could potentially serve as a mitigating factor, providing some protection against prosecution.

Moreover, it is crucial to understand that one cannot be found guilty if their attempt to commit the crime is unsuccessful. The charge in question necessitates a successful assault. Consequently, if one fails to carry out the assault or changes their mind not to proceed with it, this can serve as a valid defense against the offense. In such cases, although there may be an intent to commit a felony, the absence of a successful assault renders it a mere contemplation without criminal implications. Nevertheless, it is important to clarify that if an individual fails to carry out the assault but still attempts to commit the crime, they may face charges related to an attempted version of the intended crime, albeit not under the specific section mentioned.

Call Today

Confronting charges for assault with the intent to commit a felony under PC 220 presents formidable challenges, especially in California, where the stakes include significant potential incarceration and profound impacts on your future. Successfully navigating these charges demands not just legal representation, but an advocate skilled in the art of defense, capable of dissecting the specifics of your case to argue a lack of intent or to demonstrate that no assault occurred.

At Inland Empire Criminal Defense, our PC 220 Ontario attorney brings an unparalleled level of expertise to the table, backed by a track record of successfully defending individuals against some of the most challenging assault with intent charges. Our attorney’s comprehensive experience and strategic defense methodologies serve as your first line of defense against these serious allegations.

Why Trust Inland Empire Criminal Defense for PC 220 Charges?

  • Specialized Experience: Our attorney’s focused expertise in handling PC 220 cases ensures that your defense is built on a solid foundation of legal knowledge and successful case outcomes.
  • Strategic Defense Planning: Understanding the intricacies of assault with the intent to commit a felony charges, we tailor our defense strategy to address the unique aspects of your case, highlighting crucial elements like the lack of intent or the abandonment of the act.
  • Dedicated Support: Recognizing the weight of what’s at stake, we offer around-the-clock accessibility and a commitment to standing by your side, providing the guidance and advocacy you need throughout this challenging time.

Begin Your Defense with Inland Empire Criminal Defense

The complexity of facing PC 220 charges requires immediate and strategic action. Inland Empire Criminal Defense, situated in Ontario, CA, is ready to offer the experienced and specialized legal support necessary to confront these charges effectively.

Contact Inland Empire Criminal Defense Today

Facing assault with intent to commit felony charges under PC 220? Don’t face this critical challenge without expert legal guidance. Contact Inland Empire Criminal Defense at 909-939-7126 for a complimentary initial consultation. Our Ontario-based team is dedicated to providing you with the expert legal counsel and unwavering support needed to navigate your defense. Let our expertise and dedication be the cornerstone of your legal strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Does the attorney offer confidential consultations?

Absolutely, Inland Empire Criminal Defense prioritizes your privacy and confidentiality. Every consultation with our attorney is conducted with the utmost discretion, ensuring your information remains secure and private.

Does the attorney offer payment plans?

Yes, understanding the financial pressures that can come with legal representation, our attorney offers flexible payment plans. This approach ensures that quality legal defense is accessible for all our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Is the consultation free?

Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Are the consultations in person or only over the phone?

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Is the office open on weekends?

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Does the attorney serve all of California?

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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