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Criminal Jury Instructions

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9.1-29 Interfering or Tampering with a Motor Vehicle -- § 53a-119b (c) (1)

New, June 13, 2008

The defendant is charged [in count __] with interfering or tampering with a motor vehicle. The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows:

a person is guilty of interfering or tampering with a motor vehicle when (he/she) puts into motion the engine of any motor vehicle while it is standing without the permission of the owner.

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

Element 1 - Put engine in motion
The first element is that the defendant put the engine of a motor vehicle into motion.

Element 2 - Owner's consent
The second element is that the defendant did not have the consent of the owner. "Owner" means not only the lawful owner, but any person who has a superior right to that of the offender. This would include persons who have possession or custody of the motor vehicle with the permission or authority of the true owner, such as repair persons and employees.

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant put the engine of a motor vehicle into motion, and 2) (he/she) did not have the consent of the owner.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of interfering or tampering 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.

Commentary

The statute provides the following exception to liability: "except that a property owner or (his/her) agent may remove any motor vehicle left without authorization on such owner's property in accordance with section 14-145, which provides for the towing or removal of motor vehicle left on private property without authorization  "[W]here exceptions to a prohibition in a criminal statute are situated separately from the enacting clause, the exceptions are to be proven by the defense." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Valinski, 254 Conn. 107, 123 (2000) (rule also applies when the exception is found in a separate statute).

Subsequent offenders
General Statutes § 53a-119b (d) provides for an enhanced sentence if the defendant has previously been convicted of one or more violations of § 53a-119b. 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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