253.Union of Act and Intent: Criminal Negligence
For you to ﬁnd a person guilty of the crime[s] of <insert
name[s] of alleged offense[s]> [or to ﬁnd the allegation[s] of
<insert name[s] of enhancement[s]> true], a person must do
an act [or fail to do an act] with (criminal/gross) negligence. (Criminal/
Gross) negligence is deﬁned in the instructions on that crime.
New January 2006; Revised June 2007
This instruction is provided for the court to use when instructing on an offense for
which criminal or gross negligence is an element. Do not give this instruction if
only general or speciﬁc-intent offenses are presented to the jury. (People v. Lara
(1996) 44 Cal.App.4th 102, 110 [51 Cal.Rptr.2d 402].) Although no case has held
that the court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction, the committee
recommends that the instruction be given, if applicable, as a matter of caution.
The court must specify for the jury which offenses require criminal negligence by
inserting the names of the offenses where indicated in the instruction. (See People
v. Hill (1967) 67 Cal.2d 105, 118 [60 Cal.Rptr. 234, 429 P.2d 586].)
The court should select either “criminal” or “gross” based on the words used in the
instruction on the elements of the underlying offense.
• Statutory Authority. Pen. Code, § 20; see also Evid. Code, §§ 665, 668.
•Criminal or Gross Negligence Deﬁned. People v. Penny (1955) 44 Cal.2d
861, 879 [285 P.2d 926]; People v. Rodriguez (1960) 186 Cal.App.2d 433, 440
[8 Cal.Rptr. 863].
1 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Elements, § 20.
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 140,
Challenges to Crimes, § 140.02,  (Matthew Bender).