California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) (2023)

When a criminal case goes to trial, a jury usually decides whether the defendant is guilty of the charge. However, most jurors do not know the nuances of criminal law. The judge presiding over the trial thus must describe the law to the jury so that they can apply it to the facts of the case. These descriptions are called jury instructions.

To promote accuracy and uniformity statewide, the Judicial Council of California provides a standardized set of criminal jury instructions. Under California Rule of Court 2.1050, judges are strongly encouraged to use them. The instructions cover offenses ranging from homicide and sex crimes to theft and drug crimes. Certain instructions address related issues like sentencing enhancements and potential defenses. Volume 1 also contains a set of general pretrial instructions, while Volume 2 contains a set of general concluding instructions.