CALCRIM No. 3476. Right to Defend Real or Personal Property

Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

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3476.Right to Defend Real or Personal Property
The owner [or possessor] of (real/ [or] personal) property may use
reasonable force to protect that property from imminent harm. [A
person may also use reasonable force to protect the property of a (family
member/guest/master/servant/ward) from immediate harm.]
Reasonable force means the amount of force that a reasonable person in
the same situation would believe is necessary to protect the property
from imminent harm.
When deciding whether the defendant used reasonable force, consider all
the circumstances as they were known to and appeared to the defendant
and consider what a reasonable person in a similar situation with similar
knowledge would have believed. If the defendant’s beliefs were
reasonable, the danger does not need to have actually existed.
The People have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that
the defendant used more force than was reasonable to protect property
from imminent harm. If the People have not met this burden, you must
find the defendant not guilty of <insert crime>.
New January 2006; Revised April 2008
Instructional Duty
The court must instruct on a defense when the defendant requests it and there is
substantial evidence supporting the defense. The court has a sua sponte duty to
instruct on a defense if there is substantial evidence supporting it and either the
defendant is relying on it or it is not inconsistent with the defendant’s theory of the
When the court concludes that the defense is supported by substantial evidence and
is inconsistent with the defendant’s theory of the case, however, it should ascertain
whether defendant wishes instruction on this alternate theory. (People v. Gonzales
(1999) 74 Cal.App.4th 382, 389-390 [88 Cal.Rptr.2d 111]; People v. Breverman
(1998) 19 Cal.4th 142, 157 [77 Cal.Rptr.2d 870, 960 P.2d 1094].)
Substantial evidence means evidence of a defense, which, if believed, would be
sufficient for a reasonable jury to find a reasonable doubt as to the defendant’s guilt.
(People v. Salas (2006) 37 Cal.4th 967, 982-983 [38 Cal.Rptr.3d 624, 127 P.3d 40].)
Related Instructions
CALCRIM No. 3475, Right to Eject Trespasser From Real Property.
CALCRIM No. 3477, Presumption That Resident Was Reasonably Afraid of Death
or Great Bodily Injury.
CALCRIM No. 506, Justifiable Homicide: Defending Against Harm to Person
Within Home or on Property.
Instructional Requirements. See Civ. Code, § 50; Boyer v. Waples (1962) 206
Cal.App.2d 725, 727 [24 Cal.Rptr. 192].
Burden of Proof. See Boyer v. Waples (1962) 206 Cal.App.2d 725, 727 [24
Cal.Rptr. 192] [civil action].
1 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Defenses, § 88.
3 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 73,
Defenses and Justifications, § 73.13 (Matthew Bender).

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