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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

8.3-2  Driving Under the Influence, Under 21 Years Old -- 14-227g

Revised to April 23, 2010

The defendant is charged [in count __] with operating a motor vehicle with an elevated blood alcohol level.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

no person under twenty-one years of age shall operate a motor vehicle while the ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person is two-hundredths of one per cent or more of alcohol, by weight.

For you to find the defendant guilty of this charge, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements:

Element 1 - Under 21 years of age
The first element is that the defendant, at the time of the incident, was under 21 years of age. 

Element 2 - Operated a motor vehicle
The second element is that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle1 at the time and place alleged.  A person "operates" a motor vehicle within the meaning of the statute when, while in the vehicle, such person intentionally does any act or makes use of any mechanical or electrical agency that alone, or in sequence, will set in motion the motive power of the vehicle.  A person acts "intentionally" with respect to conduct when (his/her) conscious objective is to engage in such conduct.  <See Intent: General, Instruction 2.3-1.>2

Element 3 - Elevated BAC
The third element is that at the time the defendant operated the motor vehicle, (he/she) had an elevated blood alcohol content.  "Elevated blood alcohol content" is defined as "a ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person that is two-hundredths of one percent or more of alcohol, by weight."  The chemical analysis of the defendant's (blood / breath / urine) that was presented as evidence may be used as evidence of the defendant's blood alcohol content at the time of the alleged offense.  This means that you may find, but are not required to, that the defendant's blood alcohol content at the time of the alleged offense was the same as at the time the test was administered.3

[<If applicable:>  Evidence of the defendant's refusal to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test has been introduced.  If you find that the defendant did refuse to submit to such a test, you may make any reasonable inference that follows from that fact.]4

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant was under 21 years of age, 2) (he/she) was operating a motor vehicle at the time and place alleged, and 2) (he/she) had an elevated blood alcohol content.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of driving with an elevated blood alcohol level, then you shall find the defendant guilty.  On the other hand, if you unanimously find that the state has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the elements, you shall then find the defendant not guilty.
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1 "Motor vehicle" includes a snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle, as those terms are defined in 14-379.  General Statutes 14-227a (a).

2 Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor is a general intent crime.  State v. Borrelli, 94 Conn. App. 849, 859 (2006) (defendant's involuntary intoxication insufficient to negate general intent requirement).  In addition, there is no requirement that the defendant knew or should have known that he/she had ingested an intoxicant.  Id., 860.

3 See General Statutes 14-227a (b) (formerly (c)), made applicable to 14-227g (a) by 14-227g (c); State v. Gallichio, 71 Conn. App. 179, 183-89 (2002); State v. Nokes, 44 Conn. App. 40, 44-45 (1996); State v. Korhn, 41 Conn. App. 874, 880-81, cert. denied, 239 Conn. 910 (1996).  The statute provides an exception to this rule:  "if the results of the additional test indicate that the ratio of alcohol in the blood of such defendant is twelve-hundredths of one per cent or less of alcohol, by weight, and is higher than the results of the first test, evidence shall be presented that demonstrates that the test results and the analysis thereof accurately indicate the blood alcohol content at the time of the alleged offense." 

4 General Statutes 14-227a (f), made applicable to 14-227g (a) by 14-227g (c), requires that a jury be instructed as to any inference that may or may not be drawn in the event there is evidence that the defendant refused to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test and there has been compliance with 14-227b (b).  See State v. McCarthy, 63 Conn. App. 433, 437-39, cert. denied, 258 Conn. 904 (2001) (instruction substantially complied with the statutory language of General Statutes 14-227a (f), despite its failure to state that it "may or may not" draw a negative inference); State v. Corbeil, 41 Conn. App. 7, 19, cert. granted on other grounds and appeal dismissed, 237 Conn. 919 (1996) ("refusing" to take a breath test may be accomplished by a failure to cooperate, as well as by an expressed refusal); State v. Barlow, 30 Conn. App. 36, 42-44 (1993) (whether the defendant refused to take the test is an issue of fact for the jury).

 

Commentary

The requirement of operation on a public highway was removed from 14-227g by Public Acts 2009,  No. 09-187, 4, effective October 1, 2009.

Subsequent offenders
General Statutes 14-227a (g), applicable pursuant to 14-227g (c), provides for an enhanced sentence if the defendant has previously been convicted of one or more violations of 14-227g within ten years of the current violation.  Pursuant to Practice Book 36-14, the prior conviction must be charged in a Part B information so that the jury is unaware of the prior conviction during the trial on the current charge. If a guilty verdict is returned, the jury must then be instructed on the second part of the information. See Subsequent Offenders, Instruction 2.12-2.
 


 

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