Criminal Law

2688. Disturbing the Peace: Fighting or Challenging Someone to Fight

The defendant is charged [in Count ______] with disturbing the peace.

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that:

1. The defendant willfully [and unlawfully] (fought/ [or] challenged someone else to fight);


2. The defendant and the other person were (in a public place/in a building or on the grounds of <insert description of school from Pen. Code, § 415.5>) when (the fight occurred/ [or] the challenge was made)(;/.)

<Give element 3 when instructing on self-defense or defense of another.>


[3. The defendant did not act (in self-defense/ [or] in defense of someone else)(;/.)]

<Give element 4 when instructing on Pen. Code, § 415.5(f).>


(3/4). The defendant was not (a registered student at the school/ [or] a person engaged in lawful employee-related activity).]

Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose.

Bench Notes

Instructional Duty

The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction defining the elements of the crime. Give this instruction if the defendant is charged with violating Penal Code section 415(1) or section 415.5(a)(1).

If there is sufficient evidence of self-defense or defense of another, the court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on that defense. Give bracketed element 3, the phrase "and unlawfully" in element 1, and any appropriate defense instructions. (See CALCRIM Nos. 3470-3477.)

If the defendant is charged under Penal Code section 415.5(a)(1), select "within a building or on the grounds of" in element 2 and insert the type of school from the statute. If there is sufficient evidence that the exemption in Penal Code section 415.5(f) applies, the court has a sua sponte duty to give bracketed element 4.

If the defendant is charged under Penal Code section 415(1), select "in a public place" in element 2. Do not give bracketed element 4.


Elements. Pen. Code, §§ 415(1), 415.5(a)(1).

Willfully Defined. Pen. Code, § 7, subd. 1; People v. Lara (1996) 44 Cal.App.4th 102, 107 [51 Cal.Rptr.2d 402].

Secondary Sources

2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Crimes Against Public Peace and Welfare, §§ 2-4, 35.

6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 144, Crimes Against Order, § 144.22 (Matthew Bender).

(New January 2006)