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California Penal Code 220 PC – Assault With Intent To Commit A Felony


Los Angeles Criminal Defense LawyerCalifornia Penal Code Section 220 PC defines the crime of assault with intent to commit another felony. An “assault” is defined as the application of force to someone, and the contact must be harmful or offensive, without the necessity of causing pain.

Under this provision, a defendant who commits a physical assault while in the process of attempting to commit one of several enumerated felonies can be charged with assault with intent to commit a felony. Moreover, assault can be committed through indirect means, such as throwing an object and hitting someone with it, without direct physical contact. Furthermore, hitting someone with an object such as a bat or a stick can also constitute an assault under this definition.

Penal code 220 PC: (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 in the state prison for two, four, or six years.

(2) Except as provided in subdivision (b), any person who assaults another person under 18 years of age with the intent to commit rape, sodomy, oral copulation, or any violation of Section 264.1, 288, or 289 shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for five, seven, or nine years.

(b) Any person who, in the commission of a burglary of the first degree, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 460, assaults another with intent to commit rape, sodomy, oral copulation, or any violation of Section 264.1, 288, or 289 shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole.



The defendant must have the intent to commit the following enumerated California felonies in order to be successfully prosecuted under Penal Code Section 220 for the assault in question:

  • Penal Code 261 – Rape
  • Penal Code 262 – Spousal Rape
  • Penal Code 264.1 – Rape in Concert
  • Penal Code 261.5 – Statutory Rape
  • Penal Code 286 – Sodomy
  • Penal Code 203 – Mayhem
  • Penal Code 288 – Lewd Acts with a Minor
  • Penal Code 288a – Oral Copulation by Force
  • Penal Code 288 – Lewd Acts with a Minor under 14
  • Penal Code 289 – Forcible Penetration with an Object


To secure a conviction for assault with intent to commit a felony under Penal Code § 220 PC, the prosecutor must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The prosecutor must demonstrate that the defendant deliberately and intentionally applied force to the victim. This includes physical contact or bodily harm caused by the defendant.
  • The prosecutor must show that the defendant was aware, or reasonably should have been aware, that their actions would result in the application of force to the victim. This requires establishing that the defendant had knowledge of the force being exerted.
  • The prosecutor must prove that the defendant had the capability and means to apply force to the victim. This could involve demonstrating physical strength, possession of a weapon, or the ability to overpower or physically harm the victim.
  • The prosecutor must establish that the defendant had the specific intent to commit a felony. This involves demonstrating that the defendant had a conscious and deliberate plan or purpose to engage in the commission of a serious criminal offense listed above.


Let’s say that John and Mike have been involved in an ongoing dispute. One day, John becomes extremely angry with Mike and decides to take revenge. John plans to break into Mike’s house and steal valuable items, as well as physically harm him.

Late at night, John goes to Mike’s house armed with a crowbar and a knife. He breaks a window to gain entry. As he enters the house, he sees Mike sleeping in his bedroom. John approaches Mike’s bedroom silently, holding the knife.

Before John can attack Mike, the sound of a nearby police car alarms him. Panicked, John drops his weapons and flees the scene. The police officers notice the broken window and catch John running away. They arrest him for breaking and entering, as well as assault with intent to commit a felony under Penal Code § 220 PC.

In this situation, John can be charged with assault with intent to commit a felony. Although he didn’t physically harm Mike, his intent to commit a felony (stealing and possibly harming Mike) was evident based on his actions and the weapons he carried. If convicted, John may face severe penalties, such as imprisonment and fines, as provided by law.


Under California law, Penal Code Section 220 specifies that assault with intent to commit another felony is always considered a felony. This offense is not a “wobbler,” which means it cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor.


If the victim of a Penal Code 220 offense is over the age of 18, the defendant, if convicted, may face felony penalties of two, four, or six years in the California state prison.

However, if the victim was under the age of 18 at the time of the assault, the penalties may increase to five, seven, or nine years in the California state prison.

Additionally, Subsection (b) of Penal Code Section 220 allows for a special enhancement in cases where the defendant committed the assault with the intent to commit one of the enumerated serious felonies and was also engaged in committing a first-degree residential burglary. In this more aggravated circumstance, known as the “home invasion” scenario, the defendant faces life in prison with the possibility of parole.


Penal Code Section 220 offenses carry significant penalties, including the possibility of prolonged imprisonment upon conviction. Several defenses can be applied in such cases:

  • Firstly, the defendant must have the intention to commit an assault. If evidence indicates that any non consensual touching was accidental, the defendant should not be found guilty under PC 220.
  • Secondly, the assault must be committed in furtherance of the defendant’s attempt to commit one of the listed felonies. If the defendant did not have the intent to commit one of those crimes when the assault took place, they cannot be convicted under Penal Code 220.
  • It is important to note that abandonment, which may serve as a defense in crimes like an attempt, is not a valid defense under Penal Code Section 220. Therefore, if a defendant abandons their plan to commit a felony such as rape while in the process of assaulting the victim, it does not serve as a defense to a charge of assault with intent to commit a felony.


When facing a criminal charge, it is crucial to consider the potential immigration consequences associated with the offense. The interplay between criminal law and immigration law is complex and can have significant implications for non-U.S. nationals.

Certain criminal convictions can lead to severe immigration consequences, such as ineligibility for family visa petitions or threats to national security and public safety. Therefore, individuals charged with crimes, including assault with intent to commit a felony, should seek legal advice from experienced attorneys like Cyrus Tabibnia, who can provide guidance on navigating these complex issues.


It is important to be aware of the potential impact that a criminal conviction can have on immigration status and to take steps to mitigate any adverse consequences through proper legal representation and strategic planning. If you or someone you know is charged with this crime, it is strongly advisable that you also consult with an immigration lawyer. If you do not have or know of an immigration lawyer, the Tabibnia Law Firm can refer you to one.


  1. ILRC – Quick Reference Chart for Determining Key Immigration Consequences
  2. Immigrant Defense Project – Immigration Consequences of Crimes Summary Checklist
  3. Congressional Research Service – Immigration Consequences of Criminal Activity
  4. American Immigration Council – Immigration and Crime


  • Rape – California Penal Code 261
  • Spousal Rape – California Penal Code 262
  • Rape in Concert – California Penal Code 264.1
  • Statutory Rape – California Penal Code 261.5
  • Sodomy – California Penal Code 286
  • Mayhem – California Penal Code 203
  • Lewd Acts with a Minor – California Penal Code 288
  • Oral Copulation by Force – California Penal Code 288a
  • Lewd Acts with a Minor under 14 – California Penal Code 288
  • Forcible Penetration with an Object – California Penal Code 289
  • Assault – California Penal Code 240
  • Battery – California Penal Code 242
  • False Imprisonment – California Penal Code 236
  • Possession of a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Assault – California Penal Code 17500


If you or a loved one is facing a serious charge of assault with intent to commit a felony under Penal Code Section 220, contact Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Cyrus Tabibnia at Tabibnia Law Firm for an immediate consultation.

Mr. Tabibnia has extensive experience in criminal defense cases and can work to protect your constitutional rights while developing a strong strategy to achieve the best possible outcome in your specific case. He will carefully review all details surrounding your case to determine the most appropriate course of action.

With his professional negotiation skills, Mr. Tabibnia may be able to negotiate reduced charges or even a case dismissal with the prosecution.

Furthermore, by engaging in prefiling intervention, it may be possible to prevent the formal filing of criminal charges altogether. Don’t delay; call Cyrus at 866-713-2159 to work towards the best possible outcome in your case.


Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia, also known as Shahrooz Tabibnia, is a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, California. With a law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, he has been practicing law since 2005 and holds license #237348. With over 18 years of experience, Cyrus specializes in various misdemeanor and felony criminal Law including Domestic Violence, Theft Crime, Sex crime, DUI & DWI, Personal Injury, Employment Law, and Cannabis & Marijuana Drugs Law. Being bilingual in English, Persian, and Spanish enables him to effectively communicate with a diverse range of clients. From 2014 to 2018, he served as a board member of the Iranian American Bar Association. An expungement attorney in Los Angeles who can assist you in clearing your criminal record in the state of California.

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