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Criminal Jury Instructions

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8.4-7  Breach of the Peace in the Second Degree -- § 53a-181 (a) (6)

Revised to December 1, 2007

The defendant is charged [in count __] with breach of the peace in the second degree.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent as follows: 

a person is guilty of breach of the peace when, with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, such person creates a public and hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which he is not licensed or privileged to do.

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

Element 1 - Intent
The first element is that the defendant <insert as appropriate:>

  • acted with the intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm.  The predominant intent must be to cause what a reasonable person operating under contemporary community standards would consider a disturbance to or impediment of a lawful activity, a deep feeling of vexation or provocation, or a feeling of anxiety prompted by threatened danger or harm.  <See Intent: Specific, Instruction 2.3-1.>

  • recklessly created a risk of causing inconvenience, annoyance or alarm.  A person acts "recklessly" with respect to a result or circumstances when (he/she) is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result will occur or that such circumstances exist.  <See Recklessness, Instruction 2.3-4.>

The words "inconvenience, annoyance or alarm" refer to what a reasonable person operating under contemporary community standards would consider a disturbance to or impediment of a lawful activity, a deep feeling of vexation or provocation, or a feeling of anxiety prompted by threatened danger or harm.1

Element 2 - Created public hazardous or offensive condition
The second element is that the defendant created a public and (hazardous / physically offensive) condition by any act that (he/she) was not licensed or privileged to do.  "Hazardous" means risky, dangerous, or perilous.  "Physically offensive" means that the matter, material or substance is revolting, disgusting or repugnant.  The test is whether under contemporary community standards the defendant created a condition that was hazardous to other persons or was so physically offensive to members of the public as to amount to a serious annoyance.  The state must further prove that the defendant was not licensed or privileged to create the alleged condition.

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant 1) (intended to cause / recklessly created a risk of causing) inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, and 2) <describe conduct>.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of breach of peace in the second 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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1 The Supreme Court applied this interpretive gloss to the mens rea language of the disorderly conduct statute in State v. Indrisano, 228 Conn. 795, 810-811 (1994).  In State v. Wolff, 237 Conn. 633, 670 (1996), the Court applied it to the breach of peace statute.  See the discussion of intent in the Introduction to this section.
 


 

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