Criminal Law

967. Shooting at Unoccupied Aircraft

The defendant is charged [in Count ______] with shooting at an unoccupied aircraft.

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

1. The defendant willfully and maliciously shot a firearm;


2. The defendant shot the firearm at an unoccupied aircraft(;/.)

<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).]

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

Someone acts maliciously when he or she intentionally does a wrongful act or when he or she acts with the unlawful intent to disturb, defraud, annoy, or injure someone else.

[An aircraft is an airplane or other craft intended for and capable of transporting persons through the air.]

[A firearm is any device designed to be used as a weapon, from which a projectile is discharged or expelled through a barrel by the force of an explosion or other form of combustion.]

[The term[s] (firearm/ <insert other term>) (is/are) defined in another instruction to which you should refer.]

Bench Notes

Instructional Duty

The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction defining the elements of the crime.

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

Give the relevant bracketed definitions unless the court has already given the definition in other instructions. In such cases, the court may give the bracketed sentence stating that the term is defined elsewhere.

Related Instructions

CALCRIM No. 965, Shooting at Inhabited House or Occupied Motor Vehicle.

CALCRIM No. 966, Shooting at Uninhabited House or Unoccupied Motor Vehicle.


Elements. Pen. Code, § 247(a).

Firearm Defined. Pen. Code, § 12001(b).

Malicious Defined. Pen. Code, § 7, subd. 4.

Aircraft Defined. Pen. Code, § 247.

Willful Defined. Pen. Code, § 7, subd. 1; In re Jerry R. (1994) 29 Cal.App.4th 1432, 1438 [35 Cal.Rptr.2d 155] [in context of Pen. Code, § 246].

Secondary Sources

1 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Crimes Against the Person, § 51.

6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 144, Crimes Against Order, § 144.01[1][i] (Matthew Bender).

Related Issues


Willfully and maliciously discharging a laser at an occupied aircraft that is in motion or flight is a separate crime. (See Pen. Code, § 247.5.) It is also a crime to willfully shine a light or other bright device at an aircraft with the intent to interfere with the aircraft's operation. (See Pen. Code, § 248.)

(New January 2006)