3429.Reasonable Person Standard for Physically Disabled
A person with a physical disability is required to (know what/use the
amount of care that) a reasonably careful person with the same physical
disability would (know/use) in the same situation.
New January 2006
The court should give this instruction on request if the defendant has a physical
disability and the crimes charged or lesser offenses include a reasonable person
standard. (People v. Mathews (1994) 25 Cal.App.4th 89, 99–100 [30 Cal.Rptr. 2d
330].) This includes cases where the prosecution must prove that the defendant
“reasonably should have known” a fact, and cases involving negligence.
For example, in People v. Mathews, supra, 25 Cal.App.4th at pp. 93–94 [30
Cal.Rptr.2d 330], the defendant, who was blind, hearing impaired, and conﬁned to
a wheelchair, was charged with brandishing a ﬁrearm at police officers when the
officers entered the defendant’s home. The issue at trial was whether the defendant
“reasonably should have known” that these were officers entering his home. (Id. at
p. 98.) The court held that the trial court erred by failing to give the defense’s
requested instruction that the defendant must be held to the standard of a
reasonable person with the same physical disabilities, not to the standard of a
reasonable person without disabilities. (Id. at pp. 99–100.)
If the case requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant “reasonably should
have known” a fact, then, in the ﬁrst parenthesis, select the words “know what”
and, in the second, select “know.”
If the case requires the prosecution to prove negligence by the defendant, then, in
the ﬁrst parenthesis, select the phrase “use the amount of care that” and, in the
second, select “use.”
By “same” disability, this instruction is referring to the effect of the disability, not
• Instructional Requirements. People v. Mathews (1994) 25 Cal.App.4th 89,
99–100 [30 Cal.Rptr.2d 330].
• Authority. Restatement Second of Torts, § 283C; see also Restatement Second
of Torts, § 283B; CACI No. 403.
4 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 85,