Mental State for Assault In California

In People v. Colantuono (1994) 7 Cal.4th 206, Supreme Court stated: "The mens rea for assault is established upon proof the defendant willfully committed an act that by its nature will probably and directly result in injury to another, i.e., a battery. Although the defendant must intentionally engage in conduct that will likely produce injurious consequences, the prosecution need not prove a specific intent to inflict a particular harm." ( Id. at p. 214.) This statement of the law was, in turn, incorporated into CALJIC No. 9.00 when it was revised in 1994 and again in 1996. The post-Colantuono instruction read, in part, as follows: "In order to prove an assault, each of the following elements must be proved: A person willfully and unlawfully committed an act which by its nature would probably and directly result in the application of physical force on another person; and; At the time the act was committed, the person had the present ability to apply physical force to the person of another." (CALJIC No. 9. 00 (1996 rev.) In People v. Colantuono (1994) the Supreme Court explained the mental state required for the crime of assault. "'. . . the criminal intent which is required for assault with a deadly weapon . . . is the general intent to willfully commit an act the direct, natural and probable consequences of which if successfully completed would be injury to another . . . . the intent to cause any particular injury citation, to severely injure another, or to injure in the sense of inflicting bodily harm . . . is not necessary.'" ( Id., at p. 214.) Thus, although the defendant must intentionally engage in conduct that will likely produce injurious consequences, the prosecution need not prove a specific intent to inflict a particular harm. (Ibid.) A general criminal intent to commit the act suffices to establish the requisite mental state because of the offensive or dangerous character of defendant's conduct. ( Id., at p. 215.) "If one commits an act that by its nature will likely result in physical force on another, the particular intention of committing a battery is thereby subsumed." ( Id., at p. 217.)