Is Attempted Assault a Felony In California ?

The court in In re James M. (1973), 9 Cal. 3d 517, 521, which concluded there is no crime of attempted assault in California, nevertheless recognized the "it is apparent that the abstract concept of an attempted assault is not necessarily a logical absurdity." The court relied on two principal grounds in finding no crime of attempted assault in California. First, there was a "clear manifestation of legislative purpose," i.e., that the Legislature did not intend to punish assault unless there was a present ability to commit a battery. (9 Cal. 3d at p. 522.) Second, the court relied on the "established rule of statutory construction that particular provisions will prevail over general provisions. Therefore, the legislative intent not to punish batteries attempted without present ability prevails over the general criminal attempt provisions of section 664." (Ibid.)