Aggravated Assault and Battery and Assault Likely to Produce Great Bodily Injury

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Aggravated assault and batteryAggravated assault and battery

An assault with the intent to commit certain specified crimes is considered an aggravated assault.

The use of the word attempt in association with these crimes has a different meaning than it does when used with other crimes.

Unlike most other crimes where an attempt to commit the crime may only require some act or acts in preparation for the commission of the crime, an assault with the intent to commit a specified crime under section 220 of the Penal Code must include the actual use of physical force to accomplish the attempted commission of the act. Many of these crimes can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors.

Section 220 PC

Under section 220 of the penal code, an assault with the intent to commit the following sex crimes is an aggravated felony.

  • Rape 1
  • Sodomy
  • Oral copulation
  • Forcible rape in concert 2
  • Lewd act with a child or dependent person 3
  • Sexual penetration 4
Assault likely to produce great bodily injury

The sentence for committing any of these crimes is 2, 4, or 6 years in prison. 5

If committed during the course of a burglary the sentence is prison for life with the possibility of parole. 6

Assault likely to produce great bodily injury

It is unlawful to commit an assault, “by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury.”

The crime can be either a misdemeanor or felony, and the sentence if a misdemeanor is county jail for up to one year; if a felony is prison for 2, 3, or four years. 7

No weapon or instrument is required to commit the assault. The force most often used is fists, hands or feet, or other similar force not involving the use of a weapon. 8

Evidence must show that whatever force was used would likely result in serious harm to the person assaulted. 9

As with any form of assault, an assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury need not result in a physical injury or even physical contact, only that the force applied was likely to produce great bodily injury; although the existence of an injury is often necessary to show that he force was sufficient to result in a serious injury.

The sentence is increased where a person who is assaulted is under 18 to prison for 5, 7, or nine years. 10

If committed during the course of a burglary the sentence is prison for life with the possibility of parole. The term, great bodily injury refers to significant or substantial injury.


1An assault to commit Rape under section 220 of the Penal Code includes the intent to have intercourse against the will of the person assaulted. Against the will means more than an attempt to have sexual intercourse with the person, but must include the intent to accomplish it against the will of the person.

2Section 264.1 of the California Penal Code

3Section 288 of the California Penal Code

4Section 289 of the California Penal Code

5Section 220(a)(1) of the California Penal Code

6Section 220(b) of the California Penal Code

7Section 245(a)(4) of the California Penal Code

8Section 245(a)(1) of the California Penal Code

9The force used in forcible rape is less than that which results in great bodily injury. People v. McIlvain (1942) 55 C.A.2d 322, 328, 331, 130 P.2d 131.

10Section 220(a)(2) of the California Penal Code