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Assault with Intent to Commit a Felony - Penal Code 220 PC

Posted by Sam Israels | Oct 08, 2022

California Penal Code 220 defines the crime of assault with intent to commit another felony that involves assaulting somebody with the intent to commit a sex crime.

Assault with Intent to Commit a Felony - Penal Code 220 PC

The crime of “assault” involves the application of force on someone when the contact is harmful or offensive. This includes even the slightest physical contact that does not cause pain.

The most common examples of an assault on another person involve pushing, punching, grabbing, or slapping.

PC 220 covers situations where a perpetrator is in the process of committing or attemptinga range of felony sex offenses; they commit a physical assault.  

This statute is not usually filed by itself. Instead, the prosecutor will file PC 220 along with an underlying charge. You will face up to six years in jail and a fine if you are convicted.

If the victim were a minor under 18 with a felony sex offense, you would face a sentence of up to nine years in a California state prison.

Our California criminal defense lawyers will look at this topic in more detail below.

What is the Legal Definition of PC 220?

California Penal Code 220 PC defines this sexual-related crime as follows:

  • "(a) (1) anyone who assaults another with intent to commit mayhem, rape, sodomy, oral copulation, or any violation of Penal Code Section 264.1, 288, or 289."

The definition of “assault” under the context of this statute is any unprivileged, nonconsensual touching of another person. The victim does not need to sustain an injury, and even a slight touch could be considered an assault.

Physical contact between the victim's skin and the aggressor is not required because the clothes also count as a part of their body.

What Are the Felony Crimes Covered by This Law?

The list of felony crimes in California that a perpetrator must intend to commit an assault to be prosecuted under this law includes the following:

What are the Legal Penalties If Convicted?

The penalties are harsh if convicted of violating Penal Code 220 PC, assault with intent to commit another felony. It's a felony crime that can't be reduced to a misdemeanor.

If the victim were over 18, you would face two, four, or six years in state prison. If the victim were a minor under 18, you would face five, seven, or nine years in state prison. Penal Code Section 220(b) PC imposes a special sentencing enhancement.

Suppose a perpetrator commits a first-degree residential burglary. In that case, they could face more severe penalties for a “home invasion” and an aggravating factor that might lead to a life sentence in prison with the possibility of parole.

How Can I Fight PC 220 Charges?

If you are facing allegations of violating Penal Code 220, we could use a range of defense strategies for the best possible outcome, such as:

  • The touching was accidental,
  • The assault was not committed for another felony.

A crucial element of the crime is proving that you had the intent to commit an assault. Perhaps we can argue that the nonconsensual touching was accidental.

How Can I Fight PC 220 Charges?

Perhaps we can argue that the assault was not committed in furtherance of the attempt to commit one of the enumerated felonies listed above. Maybe we can argue that your intent was not to commit one of the listed crimes when the assault occurred.  

If you or a family member are under investigation or have already been arrested for an assault with intent to commit a felony, contact our experienced team of criminal defense attorneys for an immediate consultation. 

We can protect your legal rights while formulating strategies for the best possible outcome on your sex crime case. Still, we must first closely review all the details and circumstances.

Perhaps we could negotiate with the prosecutor for reduced charges or a case dismissal. Maybe we could avoid the formal filing of charges before the first court date (DA reject).

Cron, Israels & Stark is a top-ranked criminal defense law firm providing legal representation across the state, including LA County, Orange County, Ventura County, Torrance, Riverside, and San Bernardino. We offer a free case evaluation by phone, or you can fill out the contact form.

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About the Author

Sam Israels

Sam J. Israels is a Law Firm partner with the Law Offices of Cron, Israels, & Stark. Mr. Israels received his J.D. degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law. Mr. Israels also previously worked at the Los Angeles Office of the City Attorney. He is admitted to practice law in the State o...

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