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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

6.1-14  Assault in the Third Degree (Reckless) -- 53a-61 (a) (2)

Revised to December 1, 2007

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 (he/she) recklessly causes serious physical injury to another person.

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

Element 1 - Recklessness
The first element is that the defendant acted recklessly.  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.  <Insert Recklessness, Instruction 2.3-4.>

Element 2 - Caused serious physical injury
The second element is that the defendant's reckless acts caused serious 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.>

"Serious physical injury" is something more serious than mere physical injury, which is defined as "impairment of physical condition or pain."  It is more than a minor or superficial injury.  It is defined by statute as "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."


In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant acted recklessly, and 2) the defendant caused serious physical injury to <insert name of person injured>. 

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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