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Criminal Jury Instructions

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9.4-1  Criminal Trespass in the First Degree -- § 53a-107 (a) (1) and (4)

Revised to December 1, 2007

Note: Subsection (a) (1) concerns buildings and other premises and subsection (a) (4) concerns public land.  Tailor the instruction accordingly.

The defendant is charged [in count __] with criminal trespass in the first degree.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of criminal trespass in the first degree when, knowing that such person is not licensed or privileged to do so, such person (enters / remains)1 (in a building or any other premises / on public land) after an order (to leave / not to enter) personally communicated to such person by (the owner of the premises or other authorized person / an authorized official of the state or municipality, as the case may be).

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

Element 1 - Entered or remained
The first element is that the defendant (entered / remained) (in a building or any other premises / on public land).

[<If trespass to a building is alleged:>  Ordinarily, "building" implies a structure that may be entered and used by human beings, as a residence or for business, or for other purposes involving occupancy by people, whether or not it is actually entered and used as such.  <Insert one or both of the following parts of the definition as appropriate:>

  • The law has expanded this definition to include, in addition to what we ordinarily know as a building, any watercraft, aircraft, trailer, sleeping car, railroad car, other structure or vehicle or any building with a valid certificate of occupancy.

  • The statutory definition also provides that where a building consists of separate units, such as, but not limited to separate apartments, offices or rented rooms, any unit not occupied by the defendant is, in addition to being a part of such building, a separate building.  In other words, any one of these separate units, separately secured or occupied, when intruded upon, may be considered a "building," plus the whole building is considered a "building" for purposes of any unlawful intrusion into any part of it.]

You must also determine whether the defendant unlawfully (entered / remained) (in the building / on public land).  A person unlawfully (enters / remains) (in a building / on public land) when the (building / public land), at the time, is not open to the public and the defendant is not licensed or privileged to do so.  To be "licensed or privileged," the defendant must either have consent from (the owner of the premises or other authorized person / an authorized official of the state or municipality) or have some other right to be (in the building / on the land).

[To "enter" a building the intruder need not necessarily place (his/her) entire body inside the building.  Inserting any part of (his/her) body, or an implement or weapon held by (him/her), within the building is sufficient to constitute an entry as long as it is without license or privilege.  It does not matter how an intruder may actually have entered; if (he/she) did so without license or privilege, (he/she) has entered unlawfully.]

[A person may have entered the (building / public land) lawfully, that is, (he/she) had the right or had been given permission, but that right is terminated or the permission withdrawn by someone who had a right to terminate or withdraw it.  You may find that the defendant "unlawfully remained" (in the building / on the land) under these circumstances.]

Element 2 - With knowledge
The second element is that the defendant knew that (he/she) was not privileged to do so.  A person acts "knowingly" with respect to conduct or circumstances when (he/she) is aware that (his/her) conduct is of such nature or that such circumstances exist.  <See Knowledge, Instruction 2.3-3.>

Element 3 - After order
The third element is that the defendant had been ordered (to leave / not to enter), and the order had been personally communicated to the defendant by (the owner or other authorized person / an authorized official of the state or municipality).2 

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant (entered / remained) (in / on) <identify the building or land>, 2) (he/she) knew that (he/she) was not licensed or privileged to do so, and 3) an order to not (enter / remain) (in / on) <identify the building or land> had been personally communicated to (him/her) by <identify authorized person>.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of criminal trespass in the first 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 Do not instruct on both "unlawful entering" and "unlawful remaining" if the information and the evidence could support a conceptual distinction between the two.  See "enters or remains unlawfully" in the glossary.

2 State v. Vlasak, 52 Conn. App. 310, 316-17, appeal dismissed, 252 Conn. 228 (2000) (authorized person may transfer authority to police); State v. LoSacco, 12 Conn. App. 172, 174-75 (1987) (no evidence that authority had been transferred to police).

Commentary

This statute protects any possessor of land, whether titleholder or not, from intrusions by unwanted persons.  State v. Delgado, 19 Conn. App. 245, 254 (1989).

A tenant cannot be considered an ''owner'' with respect to an order to leave the premises for purposes of § 53a-107 unless the record reveals that the owner or an agent of the landlord conferred authority on the tenant, thereby permitting the tenant to prevent someone from being on the premises.  State v. Bell, 55 Conn. App. 475, 486, cert. denied, 252 Conn. 908 (1999).
 


 

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