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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

5.3-1  Manslaughter in the Second Degree with a Motor Vehicle -- § 53a-56b

Revised to June 12, 2009

The defendant is charged [in count ___] with manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle when, while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of (intoxicating liquor / any drug / both), (he/she) causes the death of another person as a consequence of the effect of such (liquor / drug).

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

Element 1 - Operated a motor vehicle
The first element is that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle.  A person "operates" a motor vehicle when, while in the vehicle, (he/she) intentionally does any act or makes use of any mechanical or electrical agency that alone or in sequence sets 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.>
 

Element 2 - While under the influence
The second element is that the defendant was under the influence of (intoxicating liquor / any drug / both).  A person is under the influence of (intoxicating liquor / any drug / or both) when as a result of (drinking such beverage / ingesting such drug / or both) that person's mental, physical, or nervous processes have become so affected that (he/she) lacks to an appreciable degree the ability to function properly in relation to the operation of (his/her) motor vehicle.
1  It is for you to determine if the defendant was operating under the influence of (intoxicating liquor / any drug / both).  That is, you must decide in view of all the other evidence in the case, whether the amount of (liquor consumed / drugs used) by the defendant so affected (his/her) mental, nervous and physical processes that (he/she) lacked to an appreciable degree the ability to function properly with relation to the operation of (his/her) automobile. 

Element 3 - Caused death
The third element is that the defendant's intoxication was the proximate cause of the death of <insert name of decedent>. You must find it proved beyond a reasonable doubt that <insert name of decedent> died as a result of the defendant's intoxication. <See Proximate Cause, Instruction 2.6-1.>
 

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant was operating a motor vehicle, 2) the defendant was under the influence of (intoxicating liquor / any drug / both) at the time, and 3) the defendant's intoxication was the proximate cause of the death of <insert name of decedent>.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle, 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 State v. Gordon, 84 Conn. App. 519, 527 (2004); State v. Sanko, 62 Conn. App. 34, 41, cert. denied, 256 Conn. 905 (2001); State v. Andrews, 108 Conn. 209, 216 (1928).

Commentary

On proximate cause, see State v. Kwaak, 21 Conn. App. 138, 146, cert. denied, 215 Conn. 811 (1990); see also State v. Lawson, 99 Conn. App. 233, 240-43, cert. denied 282 Conn. 901 (2007) (court properly declined to instruct on intervening cause). 

Lesser included offenses
Misconduct with a motor vehicle is not a lesser included offense of manslaughter with a motor vehicle while intoxicated.  State v. Kristy, 11 Conn. App. 473, 484 n.7, cert. denied, 282 Conn. 901 (1987).  Neither driving while intoxicated nor reckless driving is a lesser included offense of manslaughter with a motor vehicle while intoxicated.  State v. Wyatt, 80 Conn. App. 703, 711-14 (2003), cert. denied, 267 Conn. 918 (2004).

Manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle, which requires intoxication, and manslaughter in the second degree, which requires recklessness, are not the same for purposes of double jeopardy.  State v. Re, 111 Conn. App. 466, 570-71 (2008), cert. denied, 290 Conn. 908 (2009).

As of October 1, 2006, driving while intoxicated no longer requires that the offense take place on a public highway, so that a violation of § 14-227a (a) (1) might now be a lesser included offense of manslaughter with a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
 


 

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