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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

6.1 Introduction to Assault

Revised to December 1, 2007

"Under our penal code . . . assault is classified as first, second or third degree, the category depending upon the intent of the actor, the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, and the severity of the resultant injuries.  General Statutes § 53a-59 through 53a-61."  State v. Ruiz, 171 Conn. 264, 268 (1976).  Since Ruiz, more ways of committing assault have been added to the statutes and an additional factor of the status of the victim has been added.

DEGREE / SUBSECTION

INTENT

RESULT

ADDITIONAL FACTOR

First degree § 53a-59 (a) (1)

Specific: to cause serious physical injury

Serious physical injury

With deadly weapon or dangerous instrument

First degree § 53a-59 (a) (2)

Specific: to disfigure, or destroy, amputate or disable permanently a member or organ of body.

Disfigurement, etc.

 

First degree § 53a-59 (a) (3)

Extreme indifference recklessness

Serious physical injury

 

First degree § 53a-59 (a) (4)

Specific: to cause serious physical injury

Serious physical injury

Aided by 2 or more persons

First degree § 53a-59 (a) (5)

Specific: to cause physical injury

Physical injury

By discharge of firearm

First degree § 53a-59a

As specified in § 53a-59 (a) (2), § 53a-59 (a) (3), or § 53a-59 (5)

 

Elderly, blind, disabled, mentally retarded, or pregnant

First degree § 53a-59b

As specified in any subsection of § 53a-59

 

DOC employee acting in performance of duties

First degree § 53a-59c

As specified in § 53a-59 (a) (1)

 

Pregnant woman; resulting in termination of pregnancy

Second degree § 53a-60 (a) (1)

Specific: to cause serious physical injury

Serious physical injury

 

Second degree § 53a-60 (a) (2)

Specific: to cause physical injury

Physical injury

With deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, other than discharge of firearm

Second degree § 53a-60 (a) (3)

Recklessness

Serious physical injury

With deadly weapon or dangerous instrument

Second degree § 53a-60 (a) (4)

Specific: to cause stupefaction by administration of drug; no medical or therapeutic purpose

Stupefaction

With drug capable of causing stupor; without consent

Second degree § 53a-60 (a) (5)

Specific: to cause physical injury

Physical injury

Defendant parolee; victim parole officer or member of board of parole

Second degree § 53a-60a (a)

As specified in any subsection of § 53a-60

 

With firearm

Second degree § 53a-60b

As specified in any subsection of § 53a-60 or § 53a-123 (a) (3)

 

Elderly, blind, disabled, mentally retarded, or pregnant

Second degree § 53a-60c

As specified in any subsection of § 53a-60a

 

Elderly, blind, disabled, mentally retarded, or pregnant; with firearm

Second degree § 53a-60d

General intent

Serious physical injury

With a motor vehicle while intoxicated

Third degree § 53a-61 (a) (1)

Specific: to cause physical injury

Physical injury

 

Third degree § 53a-61 (a) (2)

Recklessness

Serious physical injury

 

Third degree § 53a-61 (a) (3)

Criminal negligence

Physical injury

With deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or electronic defense weapon

 

Third degree § 53a-61a

As specified in any subsection of § 53a-61

 

Elderly, blind, disabled, mentally retarded, or pregnant

 

Separate offenses/ Lesser included offenses
As the above chart shows, there are various ways to commit each degree of assault.  When the question has been raised, the appellate courts have found the various ways within each degree to be separate offenses, and not lesser included offenses of one another.  State v. Moore, 98 Conn. App. 85, 92, cert. denied, 280 Conn. 944 (2006), and cert. denied, 281 Conn. 906 (2007) (§ 53a-59 (a) (1) and (a) (5) are different offenses); State v. Morgan, 86 Conn. App. 196, 217 (2004), cert. denied, 273 Conn. 902 (2005) (§ 53a-59 (a) (1) and (a) (3) are different offenses); State v. Barnett, 53 Conn. App. 581, 602, cert. denied, 250 Conn. 918 (1999) (§ 53a-59 (a) (1) and (a) (4) are separate offenses); see also State v. Denson, 67 Conn. App. 803, 809, cert. denied, 260 Conn. 915 (2002) (§ 53a-59 (a) (2) is not a lesser included offense of § 53a-59 (a) (1)).

The lesser degrees of assault may be lesser included offenses of assault in the first and second degrees depending on the factual allegations of the information.  See, e.g., State v. Ruiz, 171 Conn. 264, 272 (1976) (state's evidence limited to intentional conduct, so reckless assault could not be lesser included offense); see also State v. Bunker, 27 Conn. App. 322, 329-32 (1992) (discussing methodology of instructing on several assault charges, each with several lesser included offenses).

Intent
The assault statute provides for intent to be transferred.  State v. Carter, 84 Conn. App. 263, 269, cert. denied, 271 Conn. 932 (2004), cert. denied, 544 U.S. 1066, 125 S.Ct. 2529, 161 L.Ed.2d 1120 (2005).  The defendant need not be aware of the presence of the victim.  Id.

A defendant may simultaneously intend to cause death and intend to cause serious physical injury, justifying convictions of both attempted murder and intentional assault for the same act against the same victim.  State v. Murray, 254 Conn. 472, 481-83 (2000); State v. Williams, 237 Conn. 748, 754-55 (1996).

Multiple assaults
It is double jeopardy to be convicted of two counts of assault for a single continuous assault that resulted in two stab wounds to a single victim.  State v. Nixon, 92 Conn. App. 586, 592-97 (2005).
 


 

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