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

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

Being charged with assault with intent to commit a felony under California Penal Code 220 PC can be scary. This law makes it a crime to assault someone while intending to commit certain felonies like rape or lewd acts with a child. An assault does not have to cause injury–even slight touching can qualify. If convicted, you face years in prison. But the law is complex, and several legal defenses may apply in your case.

What is Penal Code 220 PC?

Penal Code 220 PC states that “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 in the state prison for two, four, or six years.”1 In plain English, this law makes it illegal to:

  • Assault another person, AND
  • When assaulting them, intend to commit certain felony sex crimes like rape or lewd acts with a child.

If the victim is under 18, the potential prison sentence increases to 5-9 years.

What is an “assault” under this law?

An “assault” is any non-consensual touching that is harmful or offensive to a reasonable person.2 This includes:

  • Pushing, grabbing, or slapping someone
  • Throwing an object that hits someone
  • Making any slight physical contact, even if it doesn’t hurt

The victim’s clothing counts as part of their body. So punching someone’s jacket can qualify as assault, even if they don’t feel it.

What felonies can someone intend to commit?

For Penal Code 220 PC to apply, the assault has to be committed with intent to perpetrate certain felony sex crimes. These include:

  • Rape (Penal Code 261 PC)
  • Sodomy (Penal Code 286 PC)
  • Oral copulation by force (Penal Code 287 PC)
  • Lewd acts with a child (Penal Code 288 PC)
  • Sexual penetration with a foreign object (Penal Code 289 PC)

Mayhem and spousal rape also qualify under this statute.

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Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
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Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
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What are the penalties?

Penal Code 220 PC is a felony. The potential penalties include:

  • 2, 4, or 6 years in California state prison if the victim is over 18.
  • 5, 7, or 9 years in prison if the victim is under 18.

If the assault occurs during a first-degree burglary with intent to commit rape or other sex crimes, the penalty is life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Are there legal defenses?

Yes, several legal defenses can fight Penal Code 220 charges. Common defenses include:

  • No assault occurred – If there was no use of force or non-consensual touching, there was no assault.
  • No intent to commit a felony – If the defendant did not intend to commit rape or another felony sex crime, this law does not apply.
  • False accusations – Sometimes people lie about being assaulted or falsely accuse someone of intending to commit rape or child molestation.
  • Accident – If any touching was accidental and not intended to harm, it does not qualify as an assault.
  • Self-defense – Using reasonable force to protect yourself does not constitute criminal assault.

An experienced California criminal defense attorney can evaluate the details of your case and advise you on the best defense strategies.

Are there immigration consequences?

Yes. Penal Code 220 PC is considered a “crime involving moral turpitude” under immigration law. This can lead to:

  • Deportation for non-citizens
  • Denial of re-entry to the U.S. for immigrants
  • Ineligibility for citizenship or a green card

However, an attorney may be able to help you avoid these consequences through a plea bargain or other strategies.

Can the charge ever be reduced to a misdemeanor?

No. Penal Code 220 PC is a straight felony. There is no way for it to be punished as a misdemeanor through a plea bargain or otherwise.

Will I have to register as a sex offender?

Maybe. Conviction under this statute does not automatically require California sex offender registration. However, the court has discretion to impose registration if it finds the offense was sexually motivated.

An experienced lawyer can argue against registration in appropriate cases.

Next Steps If You Are Charged

Being accused of assault with intent to commit rape or another felony is frightening. But remember, just because you have been charged does not mean you are guilty. A skilled California criminal defense lawyer can often get charges reduced or dismissed. Do not say anything to police until you have legal counsel.

To discuss your case in a free and confidential consultation, call us 24/7 at [your law firm’s phone number].

Legal References:

  1. California Penal Code 220 PC.
  2. Shouse California Law Group, Penal Code 220 PC – Assault With Intent to Commit a Felony.
  3. Eisner Gorin LLP, Assault with Intent to Commit a Felony – Penal Code 220.
  4. Keglers Law, Assault to Commit a Felony – Penal Code 220.
  5. Justia, California Penal Code 220 – 2022.
  6. Cron, Israels & Stark, Assault with Intent to Commit a Felony – Penal Code 220 PC.

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