251. Union of Act and Intent: Specific Intent or Mental State
Every crime [or other allegation] charged in this case requires proof of the union, or joint operation, of act and wrongful intent [except for the crime[s] charged in Count[s] ].
In order to be guilty of the crime[s] of <insert name[s] of alleged offense[s]> [or the allegation[s] of <insert name[s] of enhancement[s]>], a person must not only intentionally commit the prohibited act [or intentionally fail to do the required act], but must do so with a specific intent or mental state. The act and the intent or mental state required are explained in the instruction for every crime [or allegation].
The court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on the union of act and specific intent or mental state. (People v. Alvarez (1996) 14 Cal.4th 155, 220 [58 Cal.Rptr.2d 385, 926 P.2d 365].) This instruction must be given if the crime requires a specific mental state, such as knowledge or malice, even if the crime is classified as a general intent offense.
Do not give this instruction if the case involves only general-intent offenses that do not require any specific mental state. (See CALCRIM No. 250, Union of Act and Intent: General Intent.) If the case involves both offenses requiring a specific intent or mental state and offenses that do not, the court may give CALCRIM No. 252, Union of Act and Intent: General and Specific Intent Together, in place of this instruction.
The court should specify for the jury which offenses are specific-intent offenses by inserting the names of the offenses where indicated in the second paragraph of the instruction. (See People v. Hill (1967) 67 Cal.2d 105, 118 [60 Cal.Rptr. 234, 429 P.2d 586].)
If the defendant is charged with aiding and abetting or conspiracy to commit a general-intent offense, the court must instruct on the specific intent required for aiding and abetting or conspiracy. (See People v. McCoy (2001) 25 Cal.4th 1111, 1117-1118 [108 Cal.Rptr.2d 188, 24 P.3d 1210]; People v. Bernhardt (1963) 222 Cal.App.2d 567, 586-587 [35 Cal.Rptr. 401].)
This instruction does not apply to criminal negligence or strict liability. If the defendant is also charged with a criminal negligence or strict liability offense, the court should give the appropriate Union of Act and Intent instruction: CALCRIM No. 253, Union of Act and Intent: Criminal Negligence, or CALCRIM No. 254, Union of Act and Intent: Strict-Liability Crime.
Evidence of voluntary intoxication or mental impairment may be admitted to show that the defendant did not form the required mental state. (See People v. Ricardi (1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 1427, 1432 [12 Cal.Rptr.2d 364].) The court has no sua sponte duty to instruct on these defenses; however, the trial court must give these instructions on request if supported by the evidence. (People v. Saille (1991) 54 Cal.3d 1103, 1119 [2 Cal.Rptr.2d 364, 820 P.2d 588]; see Defenses and Insanity, CALCRIM No. 3400 et seq.)
Statutory Authority. Pen. Code, § 20; see also Evid. Code, §§ 665, 668.
Instructional Requirements. People v. Alvarez (1996) 14 Cal.4th 155, 220 [58 Cal.Rptr.2d 385, 926 P.2d 365]; People v. Ford (1964) 60 Cal.2d 772, 792-793 [36 Cal.Rptr. 620, 388 P.2d 892]; People v. Turner (1971) 22 Cal.App.3d 174, 184 [99 Cal.Rptr. 186]; People v. Hill (1967) 67 Cal.2d 105, 117 [60 Cal.Rptr. 234, 429 P.2d 586].
1 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Elements, §§ 1-6.
3 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 73, Defenses and Justifications, § 73.03 (Matthew Bender).
4 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 85, Submission to Jury and Verdict, § 85.03[e] (Matthew Bender).
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 140, Challenges to Crimes, § 140.02,  (Matthew Bender).
(New January 2006)