Assault with Intent to Commit Rape – Penal Code 220(b) PC
The crime of “assault with intent to commit a felony” is defined under California Penal Code 220 PC, which also covers when someone assaults another person to commit a sex crime, such as rape.
Assault is described under law as applying force on somebody when the contact is harmful or offensive. This could include even slight contact which does not cause serious injury, and some common examples include grabbing, pushing, punching, or slapping.
This stature, PC 220, covers situations where somebody is committing, or attempting to commit, specific felony crimes and while doing so, they commit a physical assault.
Penal Code 220 PC is not typically filed alone, rather the prosecution will file this charge with another underlying offense.
If you are convicted of violating PC 220, the penalties can be severe, such as:
- up to six years in jail and a large fine;
- if cases where the victim was a minor, then you are facing up to 9 years in a California state prison;
- formal felony probation.
To give readers a better understanding of these laws, our California sex crime defense lawyers are reviewing more closely below.
Assault with Intent to Commit Mayhem, Rape, Sodomy, Oral Copulation
The subsection California Penal Code 220(b), defines this serious felony sexual related crime as follows:
- “anyone who assaults someone with intent to commit mayhem, rape, sodomy, oral copulation, or Penal Code 264.1, 288, or 289 shall be imprisoned by for two, four, or six years.”
The statutes further states that if the victim is under 18 years old, then the penalties include state prison time of five, seven, or nine years.
Additionally, anyone who, in the commission of a Penal Code 460(a) first-degree residential burglary, assaults someone with intent to commit rape, sodomy, oral copulation, can be sentenced to a state prison for life with the possibility of parole.
It's not required that the victim of the assault sustains any type of injury. Just a slight touch that was done without the victim's consent could qualify as an assault in the context of this statute.
The actual assault could even be committed indirectly, such as throwing something and hitting the victim, but physical contact between both the victim's body and aggressor is not required.
Which California Crimes Are Covered Under Penal Code 220 PC?
The list of California felony offenses someone must intend to commit to be charged under this law include the following:
- Penal Code 261 PC – rape,
- Penal Code 261.5 PC – statutory rape,
- Penal Code 262 PC – spousal rape,
- Penal Code 264.1 PC – rape in concert,
- Penal Code 203 PC – mayhem,
- Penal Code 286 PC – sodomy,
- Penal Code 262 PC – spousal rape,
- Penal Code 288 PC – lewd acts with a minor,
- Penal Code 288a PC – oral copulation by force,
- Penal Code 289 PC - forcible penetration with a foreign object.
What are the Penalties for a Conviction?
If convicted of violating California Penal Code 220 PC, assault with intent to commit a felony, then you are facing harsh punishments.
This statute is always a felony crime that cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor. If the victim was an adult, the penalties include two, four, or six years in a California state prison.
If the victim was a minor, under 18 years old, when they were assaulted, the penalties increase to five, seven, or nine years in a California state prison.
Penal Code Section 220(b) PC lays out a special sentencing enhancement. If a you committed a first-degree residential burglary, then you are facing more severe penalties.
In this situation, it's considered a “home invasion” scenario and an aggravating factor that means the judge could sentence you to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
What Could Realistically Happen to Someone Charged with This a Sex Crime?
This charge is typically filed when somebody enters the home of another with the intent to commit rape. This also makes a burglary charge viable.
A burglary charge in conjunction with assault with intent to commit rate, Penal Code Section 220, triggers a lifetime potential punishment. Meaning, if somebody gets convicted of this charge, they can spend the rest of their life in prison.
The policy behind this harsh punishment seems to be people breaking into another person's house with the intent to violate them in such a way that it rises to the level of rape.
The legislature, judges, prosecutors and law enforcement having really deemed that this type of offense should be saved for the worst offenders and they will try to put the person for the rest of their life.
Mitigating Factors Considered by the Court
So, if you or a loved one is charged with a violation of Penal Code Section 220b, it is incumbent upon you to get the best possible representation. Sometimes there's a defense to this crime or someone could make the argument they are not the perpetrator.
Other times, the prosecutors and police have the evidence to convict the person of this particular crime, in which case, what we're trying to do is mitigate the circumstance and avoid a life sentence.
There are all sorts of mitigating factors that the courts will take into consideration in these types of cases. They're going to look at:
- the person's prior criminal record;
- whether or not physical touching actually took place in the case;
- the age of the victim;
- the circumstances of the incident;
- if this person has ever done this before.
Also, they going to be looking at your attorney to see what they can bring to the table to try to represent you.
So, whether it's a situation you're going to a jury trial and you need the best or you need a master negotiator, pick up the phone. Ask to speak to Ron Hedding.
I've been doing this for 27 years. I've worked for the DA's office and I've worked for a Superior Court Judge and I now work for you since 1994 as a top criminal defense attorney.
Hedding Law Firm has two office locations based in Los Angeles County and we offer a free case evaluation by calling (213) 374-3952, or you can fill out our contact form.