Penal Code 220 PC - Assault with Intent to Commit a Felony
Under California Penal Code 220 PC, it's a crime to assault another person with the intent to commit a felony. The term “assault” means applying force on someone when it's harmful or offensive.
The sexual-related crimes that apply under this statute include the following:
- Penal Code 261 PC – rape,
- Penal Code 203 PC – mayhem,
- Penal Code 286 PC – sodomy,
- Penal Code 264.1 PC – rape in concert,
- Penal Code 261.5 PC – statutory rape,
- Penal Code 288(b)(1) PC – lewd acts with a minor,
- Penal Code 288a PC – oral copulation by force,
- Penal Code 289 PC - penetration with a foreign object.
To convict a defendant under this statute, a prosecutor must prove all the crime elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
These include that the perpetrator willfully applied force to the victim, should have been aware of the force used, could apply that force, and they were intentionally committing one of the eligible crimes.
Of note is that the slightest contact is sufficient to commit an assault and does not have to cause pain. In other words, any offensive contact is enough to support criminal charges under this law.
Some examples of an assault include pushing someone, grabbing, punching, tripping, slapping, or shoving someone else into the victim.
The vast majority of violations of Penal Code 220 involve an intent to commit a serious felony sex crime, but it can also include a plan to commit mayhem.
Mayhem is the severe offense of maliciously depriving another person of one part of their body by disabling or disfiguring it, rendering it useless, cutting someone's tongue, nose, or lip, or putting out their eye. Let's review this state law further below.
What Does the Law Say?
As noted, California Penal Code 220 PC defines the crime of assault with the intent to commit a felony as “anyone who assaults another person with the 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.”
The statute also says that “any person who assaults another person under 18 years of age” with the same intent will face a sentence of up to nine years in prison.
Finally, this law says that “Any person who, in the commission of a burglary of the first degree, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 460,” assault someone with the same intent as above will face a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole.
This is the “home invasion” scenario and an aggravating factor that could lead to severe penalties.
What Are the Defenses for PC 220?
The criminal courts building, also known as CCB at 210 West Temple, probably prosecutes the most sexual assault cases in LA county. This court is named the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
The fact that most Penal Code 220 PC cases are handled in this court is saying something because there are approximately 28 courthouses in LA county.
Sexual assault is a massive political crime right now. There are a bunch of different Penal Code sections under which this can be charged.
Penal Code section 220 PC is where somebody is trying to get their hands on somebody and rape them, but they cannot complete the rape so that sexual assault can be charged. There are all sorts of other crimes that can be charged as well.
But, if you or a loved one is charged with sexual assault, you want to get an attorney who has experience with these cases.
This is especially true in today's political environment where they're trying to send people to prison for a long time and get them to register as a sex offender for life; you want to make sure that you have an attorney that can fight for you and get you the best possible result.
Sometimes people have defenses to sexual assault cases. Maybe the alleged victim has some axe to grind with them; maybe there's a divorce. Perhaps we can argue that the touching was accidental.
Perhaps we can argue that the assault was not committed with the intent of another felony. Recall that the assault must be in furtherance of the attempt to commit one of the enumerated felonies listed above.
A myriad of different things could bring these sexual assault cases on. Sometimes the person has the wrong individual. Maybe they're accusing somebody of something they didn't do.
Other times, the person is guilty, and they have to work out some resolution. It just depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding the case.
How Can a Defense Attorney Help You?
So, if you or a loved one is charged with sexual assault or violating Penal Code 220 PC, you want to get somebody like me who's been doing this for 30 years.
I've worked for the district attorney's office in east LA, I've worked for a superior court judge, and in the early 1990s, I began to defend people just like you using my background to guide me and get the best possible outcome for you.
We'll first sit down and discuss the case and figure out whether they have a good case against you or whether this is a scenario where we will have to negotiate with the prosecutors. We must thoroughly review all the details to determine an appropriate strategy.
Once we figure that out, we'll either put together a mitigation package, or we'll start to figure out how we can best defend you, begin designing a strategy for a jury trial, look at the jury instructions, and look at the evidence the prosecutors have against you.
See what they have, see what they don't have. See what maybe we can get on your behalf to begin to defend this particular case.
So, pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you. The Hedding Law Firm is located in Los Angeles, CA.