Have you been ARRESTED or contacted by the Police, a Detective, FBI, or CPS?
Assault with Intent to Commit a Felony (California Penal Code section 220), also known as Assault with Intent to Commit a Specified Felony or Assault to Commit a Specified Crime, is a felony charge which can carry a base maximum prison term of up to years. The penalty enhancement derives from the fact that the underlying crime is a particular egregious felony, which can consist of any of the following offenses (in alphabetical order), as well as similar felonies (but mostly serious sex crimes):
Forcible Rape (California Penal Code section 261(a)(2));
Forcible Sexual Penetration (California Penal Code section 289);
Forcible Sexual Penetration with a Foreign Object (same);
Forcible Sexual Penetration of an Unconscious Person (Penal Code section 289(d));
“Gang Rape” (Forcible Rape Act in Concert) or Sexual Penetration in Concert (California Penal Code section 264.1);
Lewd Acts with a Minor Child Under 14 (California Penal Code section 288);
Oral Copulation by Force, Fear, or Threats (California Penal Code section 287);
Rape (Pen. Code section 261);
Unlawful Consensual Sex with a Minor (“Statutory Rape”) (California Penal Code section 261.5);
Sodomy (California Penal Code section 286); and
Spousal/Marital Rape (California Penal Code section 262(a)(2)).
To obtain a conviction against you on this particular crime, the Deputy District Attorney in charge of your prosecution must prove to the jury (at trial, obviously) or to a judge (in a non-jury trial, aka a “bench trial” or “court trial”) all of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
As you can see from the list above, the only non-sex crime included in these enumerated felonies is Mayhem (Penal Code sections 203 & 205). As defined in those criminal statutes, Mayhem is considered to be the most vicious and reprehensible type of assault (again, excluding an attack that involves a sex crime). This particular offense is discussed in another article on this website.
Keep in mind that the underlying crime of Assault (California Penal Code section 240) only requires that you offensively touched (including indirectly, such as with an object) the purported victim, including through his/hers/their clothing. In other words, no skin-on-skin contact need occur, much less injury or physical harm to them.
Regardless of what underlying enumerated felony you commit (or are alleged to have committed) that would result in your prosecution under Penal Code section 220 (Assault with Intent to Commit a Specified Felony), you will also be charged with a Strike Offense (California Penal Code section 667(a)&(b)) if any of the following circumstances apply:
The underlying felony is considered to be a “Violent Felony” under California Penal Code section 667.5(c)(15);
The underlying felony is considered to be a “Serious Felony” under California Penal Code section 1192.7(c)) because you allegedly assaulted the accuser with intent to rape or rob him/her/them (Penal Code section 1192.7(c)(10)), or you did so while intending to engage in “mayhem, rape, sodomy, or oral copulation” (Pen. Code section 1192.7(c)(29)).
As no doubt you’re aware, being charged with a Strike entails serious penalty enhancements, which, if this is your Second or Third Strike, can result in enhancements ranging from five additional years in prison to 25-to-life (with potential parole).
California Penal Code section 220 (Assault with Intent to Commit a Specified Felony):
As itemized above, this statute includes numerous serious felonies, most particularly those involving egregious sex crimes. In general, however, this statute is broken down into the following categories:
See Pen. Code § 220(a)(1).
See Pen. Code § 220(b).
Convictions for the various categories described above will result in the following prison sentences (assuming the judge requires you to go to prison, which is typically the case):
Twenty-four (24) months, forty-eight (48) months, or seventy (70) months – i.e., the low term, mid term, or high term (Pen. Code § 220(a)(1));
Sixty (60) months, eighty-four (84) months, or one hundred and fourteen (114) months (Pen. Code § 220(a)(2));
An automatic life sentence although with the potential for early release (Pen. Code § 220(b)).
In addition, you will lose your right to own, possess, carry, transport, sell, or use firearms for at least a decade.
In addition to the base-line prison sentences above, as well as any enhancements for Strike Offense (Penal Code section 667(a)&(b); Penal Code section 667.5(c) (“Violent Felonies”); Penal Code section 1192.7(c) (“Serious Felonies”)), you can also receive additional prison terms – ranging anywhere from an extra three to twenty years – if the following circumstances apply to your case:
Personal Discharging of a Firearm During the Commission of a Serious Felony (California Penal Code section 12022.53(c));
Personal Use of a Firearm During a Felony (California Penal Code section 12022.5)
Personal Use of a Dangerous Weapon During the Commission of a Felony (California Penal Code section 12022);
Inflicting Great Bodily Injury (GBI) (California Penal Code section 12022.7). Serious injury is defined as “great bodily injury” (same);
Inflicting Great Bodily Injury (GBI) On A Child Under the Age of Five Years (Penal Code section 12022.7(d));
Gang Enhancement (California Penal Code section 186.22);
Hate Crime (California Penal Code section 422.55);
Injuring an Elderly Person (California Penal Code section 368(b)(2)).
In the vast majority of criminal cases in California, the presiding judge will provide your jury with instructions prepared by the Judicial Council of California. These “CALCRIM” instructions allow your jury to acquit you of the foregoing charges based on the following defenses:
See CALCRIM number 890 (“Assault with Intent to Commit Specified Crimes [While Committing First Degree Burglary] — Pen. Code § 220(a), (b)”).
See also CALCRIM number 891 (“Assault with Intent to Commit Mayhem — Pen. Code § 220(a)”).
Keep in mind that if you commit the assault but thereafter decide not to commit the specified felony, you will nevertheless be culpable for Assault with Intent to Commit a Felony (Pen. Code section 220) so long as you intended to commit that felony.
See also People v. Meichtry (1951) 37 Cal.2d 385.
Anaheim Sex Offender Gets More than a Century in Prison for Three Sex-Crime Assaults
In the fall of 2015, Anaheim resident Christoph Moore (age 39 at the time) entered a retail establishment in DTLA, flashed an apparently fake detective’s shield at the female employee therein, and announced himself as a police detective. He instructed her to produce the establishment’s business permits and to close and lock up the store until he completed his “investigation”.
At that point, he instructed her to enter a restroom and to remove her clothing. After she refused to do so, he showed her the firearm holstered at his side. She then did as he ordered, but before Moore could sexually assault her, her spouse suddenly knocked on the locked exterior door, forcing Moore to hightail it out the back.
Thirty days later, in November 2015, Moore struck twice – two different Hollywood locations in less than seven days – with the same M.O. These times, however, he actually did sexually assault the victims.
The first was a foreigner here on an educational visa. When she paused to give an unhoused person some food, Moore accosted her, showed her his “detective’s shield”, then threatened to arrest her for providing the man narcotics. Moore thereafter shoved her up against a wall then squeezed her intimate body parts. When she struggled against him, he shoved his gun in her face and threatened to kill her. Unfortunately for Moore, the entire assault was filmed by a CCTV camera.
Approximately 48 hours later, he accosted another victim as she pulled into her driveway. He showed her his shield and explained that he was going to cite her for an expired DMV tag. He instructed her to exit the vehicle, shoved her up against it, then proceeded to fondle her intimate body parts before fleeing the scene.
LAPD sent all the local TV stations the CCTV footage from the previous assault, which resulted in several anonymous callers phoning in Moore’s ID. As a result, Anaheim PD arrested him three months after the first incident.
Moore was no novice to the California criminal justice system, having previously been convicted of the following felonies:
Assault with Intent to Commit Rape (Pen. Code sec. 220(a)(1)); and
Robbery (California Penal Code section 211).
As a result of the first conviction, he was forced to register for life as a sexual predator under California’s Sex Offender Registration law (California Penal Code section 290). This, of course, meant that all his pertinent information was publicly posted on the state’s Megan’s Law website.
In addition, both of these convictions were for Strike Offenses (California Penal Code section 667(a)&(b)).
Moore went to trial and lost spectacularly. He was convicted of the following felonies:
Assault with Intent to Commit Sexual Assault (Pen. Code section 220(a)(1)) – a Third Strike (Penal Code section 667(e)(2));
Making a Criminal Threat (California Penal Code section 422) – a Fourth Strike;
Grand Theft (California Penal Code section 487) (though it’s unclear what he stole);
Second-Degree Commercial Burglary (California Penal Code section 460(b)) (as a result of the first incident, where he entered a business with the intent to commit a felony – i.e., a sexual assault); and
False Imprisonment (California Penal Code section 236).
He was also found guilty of having committed the following misdemeanors:
Impersonating an Officer (California Penal Code section 538d); and
Sexual Battery (California Penal Code section 243.4(e)(1)).
In late July 2017, he received more than 110 years in prison (including all the Strike enhancements), which effectively resulted in a life sentence.
In late Dec. 2014, Douglas Lopez (age 22) was found guilty of having committed the following felonies:
Attempted Robbery (California Penal Code section 211; Penal Code § 664);
Attempted Extortion (California Penal Code section 518; Pen. Code § 664);
Special Allegation for Personal Use of a Firearm During a Felony (California Penal Code section 12022.5); and
Special Allegation for Gang Enhancement (California Penal Code section 186.22).
In late April 2015, while awaiting transfer to prison at the Orange County Men’s Central Jail, Lopez spotted the man who had ratted him out to the police for the foregoing crimes. He slashed him in the face with a homemade shank but the informant did not sustain any serious injuries.
Just over two years later, in early June 2017, Lopez pled guilty to the following felonies:
Assault with Intent to Commit Mayhem (Pen. Code § 220(a)(1));
Assault with a Deadly Weapon (ADW) (California Penal Code section 245(a)(1)); and
Intimidating/Dissuading a Witness or Victim (California Penal Code section 136.1).
As a result, he received a seven-year prison sentence. Fortunately for him, however, the judge ordered that term to run concurrently with his original sentence for all the foregoing crimes. It remains unclear exactly how many years that term consisted of, but it was likely 25-to-life. In other words, Lopez got a “freebie”, most likely due to the minor injuries inflicted.