CALCRIM No. 1550. Possession of Incendiary Device

Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2017 edition)

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1550.Possession of Incendiary Device (Pen. Code, § 453)
The defendant is charged [in Count ] with possessing an
incendiary device or flammable material [in violation of Penal Code
section 453].
To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must
prove that:
1. The defendant (possessed/made/manufactured/disposed of)
flammable or combustible material or an incendiary device in an
arrangement or preparation;
2. The defendant willfully and maliciously intended to use the
material or device to set fire to or burn (a structure/forest land/
Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on
Someone acts maliciously when he or she intentionally does a wrongful
act or when he or she acts with the unlawful intent to defraud, annoy,
or injure someone else.
Incendiary device means a device constructed or designed to start an
incendiary fire by instant, remote or delayed means. [It is not a device
commercially manufactured primarily for illumination.]
Incendiary fire means a fire deliberately ignited under circumstances in
which a person knows that the fire should not be ignited.
[Dispose of means to give, give away, offer, offer for sale, sell, transfer,
or loan.]
[A structure means any (building/bridge/tunnel/power plant/commercial
or public tent).]
[Forest land means any brush-covered land, cut-over land, forest,
grasslands, or woods.]
[Property means personal property or land other than forest land.]
[Two or more people may possess something at the same time.]
[A person does not have to actually hold or touch something to possess
it. It is enough if the person has (control over it/ [or] the right to
control it), either personally or through another person.]
New January 2006; Revised February 2012
Instructional Duty
The court has a sua sponte duty to give an instruction defining the elements of the
• Elements. Pen. Code, § 453.
• Structure and Forest Land Defined. Pen. Code, § 450.
• Manufacture Defined. People v. Combs (1985) 165 Cal.App.3d 422, 427 [211
Cal.Rptr. 617].
• Includes Intent to Damage Own Property. People v. Morse (2004) 116
Cal.App.4th 1160, 1166 [11 Cal.Rptr.3d 9].
• Constructive vs. Actual Possession. People v. Barnes (1997) 57 Cal.App.4th
552, 556 [67 Cal.Rptr.2d 162].
Secondary Sources
2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Crimes Against
Property, §§ 238–242.
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 143,
Crimes Against Property, § 143.11 (Matthew Bender).

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