California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) (2017)
2690. Disturbing the Peace: Offensive WordsDownload PDF
2690.Disturbing the Peace: Offensive Words (Pen. Code,
§§ 415(3), 415.5(a)(3))
The defendant is charged [in Count ] with disturbing the peace
[in violation of <insert appropriate code section[s]>].
To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must
1. The defendant used offensive words that were inherently likely to
provoke an immediate violent reaction;
2. When the defendant used those words, (he/she) was (in a public
place/in a building or on the grounds of <insert
description of school from Pen. Code, § 415.5>)(;/.)
<Give element 3 when instructing on Pen. Code, § 415.5(f).>
3. The defendant was not (a registered student of the school/ [or] a
person engaged in lawful employee-related activity).]
A person uses offensive words inherently likely to provoke an immediate
violent reaction if:
1. He or she says something that is reasonably likely to provoke
someone else to react violently;
2. When he or she makes that statement, there is a clear and
present danger that the other person will immediately erupt into
In deciding whether the People have proved both of these factors,
consider all the circumstances in which the statement was made and the
person to whom the statement was addressed.
The People do not have to prove that the defendant intended to provoke
a violent response.
<Defense: Good Faith Belief Language Not Likely to Provoke>
[The defendant is not guilty of this crime if (he/she) reasonably and
actually believed that the language (he/she) used was not inherently
likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction. The People have the
burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did
not reasonably and actually believe this to be true. If the People have
not met this burden, you must ﬁnd the defendant not guilty of this
New January 2006
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(3) or section 415.5(a)(3).
If the defendant is charged under Penal Code section 415.5(a)(3), 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 3.
If the defendant is charged under Penal Code section 415(3), select “in a public
place” in element 2. Do not give bracketed element 3.
If there is sufficient evidence to support the defense that the defendant reasonably
believed that his or her words would not provoke, the court has a sua sponte duty
to give the instruction on that defense. (See In re John V. (1985) 167 Cal.App.3d
761, 770 [213 Cal.Rptr. 503] [recognizing defense].)
• Elements. Pen. Code, §§ 415(3), 415.5(a)(3).
•Must Be Clear and Present Danger of Immediate Violence. Cohen v.
California (1971) 403 U.S. 15, 17 [91 S.Ct. 1780, 29 L.Ed.2d 284]; In re
Brown (1973) 9 Cal.3d 612, 618 [108 Cal.Rptr. 465, 510 P.2d 1017].
• Statement Must Be Uttered in Provocative Manner. Jefferson v. Superior
Court (1975) 51 Cal.App.3d 721, 724–725 [124 Cal.Rptr. 507]; In re John V.
(1985) 167 Cal.App.3d 761, 767–768 [213 Cal.Rptr. 503]; In re Alejandro G.
(1995) 37 Cal.App.4th 44, 47–50 [43 Cal.Rptr.2d 471].
• Context Must Be Considered. Jefferson v. Superior Court (1975) 51
Cal.App.3d 721, 724–725 [124 Cal.Rptr. 507]; In re John V. (1985) 167
Cal.App.3d 761, 767–768 [213 Cal.Rptr. 503]; In re Alejandro G. (1995) 37
Cal.App.4th 44, 47–50 [43 Cal.Rptr.2d 471].
• Intention to Cause Violence Not Required. Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940) 310
U.S. 296, 309 [60 S.Ct. 900, 84 L.Ed. 1213].
• Good Faith Defense. In re John V. (1985) 167 Cal.App.3d 761, 770 [213
2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Crimes Against Public
Peace and Welfare, §§ 2–4, 35.
CALCRIM No. 2690 CRIMES AGAINST GOVERNMENT
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 144,
Crimes Against Order, § 144.22 (Matthew Bender).
Statement Made to Police Officer
“In determining whether section 415 subdivision (3) was violated, courts must
consider the totality of the circumstances, including the status of the addressee.
That the addressee was a police officer trained and obliged to exercise a higher
degree of restraint than the average citizen is merely one factor to be considered
along with the other circumstances.” (In re Alejandro G. (1995) 37 Cal.App.4th 44,
47–50 [43 Cal.Rptr.2d 471]; see also People v. Callahan (1985) 168 Cal.App.3d
631, 635 [214 Cal.Rptr. 294] [evidence showed officer “was neither offended . . .
2691–2699. Reserved for Future Use
CRIMES AGAINST GOVERNMENT CALCRIM No. 2690