CALCRIM No. 2690. Disturbing the Peace: Offensive Words (Pen. Code, §§ 415(3), 415.5(a)(3))
Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2023 edition)Download 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 crime.]
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.
Defenses - Instructional Duty
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
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
CALCRIM No. 2690 CRIMES AGAINST GOVERNMENT
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 . . . nor provoked”].)
2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Crimes Against Public
Peace and Welfare, §§ 2-3, 50.
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 144, Crimes
Against Order, § 144.22 (Matthew Bender).
2691-2699. Reserved for Future Use
CRIMES AGAINST GOVERNMENT CALCRIM No. 2690
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