Missouri Approved Instructions–Criminal (MAI-CR) 4th


One of the issues (as to Count _____) (in this case) is whether the use of (deadly force) (physical force, including deadly force,) by the defendant against [Identify victim.] was lawful. On the issue of self-defense (as to Count ____) (in this case), you are instructed as follows:

In this state the use of physical force (, including the use of deadly force, by a person lawfully occupying a (dwelling) (residence) (vehicle), is lawful in certain situations. [Select the appropriate paragraphs. Omit brackets and numbers.]

[Use the material in [1] in all cases. Omit brackets and number.]

[1] A person who is lawfully occupying a (dwelling) (residence) (vehicle) may use (physical force, including) deadly force (,) to defend himself against another person who (attempts to enter unlawfully) (enters unlawfully) (remains after an unlawful entry of) that (dwelling) (residence) (vehicle) if he reasonably believes the use of some physical force is necessary to defend himself from what he reasonably believes is the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force.

A person is not required to retreat before resorting to the use of physical force to defend himself if he is lawfully (occupying)(entering)(remaining in) a (dwelling) (residence) (vehicle).

The state has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in lawful self-defense. Unless you find beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in lawful self-defense (under this instruction), you must find the defendant not guilty (under Count _______).

As used in this instruction, the term “reasonably believe” means a belief based on reasonable grounds, that is, grounds that could lead a reasonable person in the same situation to the same belief. This depends upon how the facts reasonably appeared. It does not depend upon whether the belief turned out to be true or false.

As used in this instruction, a person “unlawfully enters” a (dwelling) (residence) (vehicle) when he enters such (dwelling) (residence) (vehicle) and is not licensed or privileged to do so. A person who, regardless of his purpose, enters a (dwelling) (residence) (vehicle) that at the time is open to the public does so with license unless he defies a lawful order not to enter personally communicated to him by the owner or by another authorized person. A license to enter a (dwelling) (residence) (vehicle) that is partly open to the public is not a license to enter in that part of the (dwelling) (residence) (vehicle) that is not open to the public.

(As used in this instruction, a person “attempts to enter unlawfully” when, with a purpose to enter unlawfully, he takes a substantial step toward entering unlawfully. A substantial step means conduct which is strongly corroborative of the person’s firmness to complete the unlawful entry. It does not matter that it was factually or legally impossible to complete the entry if such entry could have been made had the circumstances been as the person believed them to be.)

As used in this instruction, “deadly force” means physical force which is used with the purpose of causing or which a person knows to create a substantial risk of causing death or serious physical injury.

As used in this instruction, the term “serious physical injury” means physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any part of the body.

(As used in this instruction, the term “dwelling” means any building, inhabitable structure or conveyance of any kind, whether the building, inhabitable structure, or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night.)

(As used in this instruction, the term “residence” means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.)


(v. 7-1-17)