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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

6.1-15  Assault in the Third Degree (Deadly Weapon) -- § 53a-61 (a) (3)

Revised to April 23, 2010

The defendant is charged [in count ___] with assault in the third degree.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of assault in the third degree when with criminal negligence, (he/she) causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon, a dangerous instrument or an electronic defense weapon.

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

Element 1 - Criminal negligence
The first element is that the defendant acted with criminal negligence.  <Insert Criminal Negligence, Instruction 2.3-5.>

Element 2 - Caused physical injury
The second element is that the defendant caused physical injury to another person.  This means that the defendant's conduct was the proximate cause of the person's injuries.  You must find it proved beyond a reasonable doubt that <insert name of person injured> was injured as a result of the actions of the defendant.  <See Proximate Cause, Instruction 2.6-1.>

"Physical injury" is defined as impairment of physical condition or pain.  It is a reduced ability to act as one would otherwise have acted.  The law does not require that the injury be serious.  It may be minor.

Element 3 - Deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
The third element is that the injury was caused by means of (a deadly weapon / a dangerous instrument / an electronic defense weapon).  <Insert the appropriate definition:

  • "Deadly weapon" means any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles.  If the weapon is a firearm, it may be unloaded, but it must be in such condition that a shot may be discharged from it. Thus, if the weapon is loaded but not in working order, it is not a deadly weapon.  If the weapon is unloaded but in working order, it is a deadly weapon. 

  • "Dangerous instrument" means any instrument, article or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used or attempted or threatened to be used, is capable of causing death or serious physical injury.  "Serious physical injury" means physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health or serious loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ. It is important to note that the article need not be inherently dangerous; all that is required is that the article was capable of causing death or serious physical injury under the circumstances in which it was used.  Any article or substance, without limitation and even though harmless under normal use, may be found by you to be a dangerous instrument if, under the circumstances of its use or threatened or attempted use, it is capable of producing serious physical injury or death.  The state need not prove that in fact death or serious physical injury resulted, only that the instrument had that potential under the circumstances.

  • "Electronic defense weapon" means a weapon which by electronic impulse or current is capable of immobilizing a person temporarily, but is not capable of inflicting death or serious physical injury.

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant was criminally negligent, 2) the defendant caused physical injury to <insert name of person injured >, and 3) the defendant caused the injury by means of a (deadly weapon / dangerous instrument / electronic defense weapon). 

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of assault in the third degree, 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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