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Assault with the Intent to Commit a Felony

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Some California charges seem strange. Assault with the intent to commit a felony is one of those charges. The name suggests that a person deliberately wanted to seriously hurt another. The confusion is that it sounds premeditated, even though many people associate the word assault with a spontaneous, unplanned burst of violence. The other reason it sounds strange is that most people think it’s the same thing as attempted murder.

What few people realize is that in California, assault with the intent to commit a felony pertains to sex crimes. The idea is that this type of situation arises when one person assaults another and then shows clear intent to further injure their victim by committing a violent sex crime.

It’s important to understand that an assault with the intent to commit a felony is a single charge. While it stands on its own, many people who are charged with assault with the intent to commit a felony are also charged with additional crimes, including:

  • Rape
  • Sodomy
  • Statutory rape
  • Spouse rape
  • Lewd acts with a child under the age of 14

The issue of assault with the intent to commit a felony is discussed in California Penal Code 220 PC. The law says:

California 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.”

Assault with the intent of committing a felony is always a felony charge. It’s not a wobbler offense so there’s no way you’ll be able to negotiate it down to a lesser offense.

To secure a guilty conviction for assault with the intent to commit a felony, the prosecution has to show that harmful and/or offensive contact was inflicted via force on the victim.

Just because a person doesn’t follow through on their attempt at the sex crime that’s connected to the assault with the intent to commit a felony, it doesn’t mean they won’t still face the same charges.

A lack of follow-through is not enough to have an assault with the intent to commit a felony charge dropped. If the assault was committed and the sex crime instigated, you will still be charged even when there’s no follow thru.

What abandoning the sex crime will likely do is decrease the number of different felony charges you’ll face.