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WPIC 19.17 Bail Jumping—Uncontrollable Circumstances—Defense

11 WAPRAC WPIC 19.17Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal

11 Wash. Prac., Pattern Jury Instr. Crim. WPIC 19.17 (5th Ed)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal
January 2024 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part IV. Defenses
WPIC CHAPTER 19. Special Statutory Defenses
WPIC 19.17 Bail Jumping—Uncontrollable Circumstances—Defense
It is a defense to a charge of bail jumping that:
(1) uncontrollable circumstances prevented the defendant from [personally appearing in court] [or] [failing to surrender for service of sentence];
(2) the defendant did not contribute to the creation of such circumstances in reckless disregard of the requirement to [appear] [or] [surrender]; and
(3) the defendant [appeared] [or] [surrendered] as soon as such circumstances ceased to exist.
For the purposes of this defense, an uncontrollable circumstance is an act of nature such as a flood, earthquake, or fire, or a medical condition that requires immediate hospitalization or treatment, or an act of man such as an automobile accident or threats of death, forcible sexual attack, or substantial bodily injury in the immediate future for which there is no time for a complaint to the authorities and no time or opportunity to resort to the courts.
The defendant has the burden of proving this defense by a preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence means that you must be persuaded, considering all the evidence in the case, that it is more probably true than not true. If you find that the defendant has established this defense, it will be your duty to return a verdict of not guilty [as to this charge].
Use this instruction with WPIC 120.41 (Bail Jumping—Elements), if the statutory defense is in issue.
Use the bracketed material as appropriate.
RCW 9A.76.010(4); RCW 9A.76.170(2).
The bail jumping statute was amended in 2001 to add a statutory defense of “uncontrollable circumstances.” This statutory defense most likely supplants the common law defense of necessity. State v. Diana, 24 Wn.App. 908, 914, 604 P.2d 1312 (1979), quoting Model Penal Code § 3.02 (Proposed Official Draft 1962) (the defense of necessity is not available if the “law defining the offense provides exceptions or defenses dealing with the specific situation involved”). See the Comment to WPIC 18.02 (Defense—Necessity). This statutory defense may also replace the general statutory defense of duress contained in RCW 9A.16.060.
The statutory defense of “uncontrollable circumstances” does not negate any element of the offense of bail jumping. State v. Fredrick, 123 Wn.App. 347, 353, 97 P.3d 47 (2004). The defendant has the burden of establishing the defense by a preponderance of the evidence. State v. Fredrick, 123 Wn.App. at 353–54.
Illness that does not require hospitalization will not satisfy the statutory defense. State v. Fredrick, 123 Wn.App. 347, 352, 97 P.3d 47 (2004).
A defendant is entitled to this instruction if any evidence presented at trial supports the defense, regardless of the party that presented it. A defendant is not, however, entitled to this instruction solely based upon an absence of evidence. State v. Fisher, 185 Wn.2d 836, 851–52, 374 P.2d 1185 (2016) (jury should be instructed on the defense even if the evidence in support is weak, inconsistent, or of doubtful credibility).
Caution. Under no circumstances should this instruction be given unless requested, or expressly agreed to, by the defense. A defendant's constitutional right to control his or her defense prohibits the giving of instructions concerning defenses over the defendant's objections. State v. Lynch, 178 Wn.2d 487, 309 P.3d 482 (2013).
[Current as of February 2019.]
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