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Criminal Jury Instructions  

Criminal Jury Instructions



A person "operates" a motor vehicle when, while in the vehicle, (he/she)  intentionally does any act or makes use of any mechanical or electrical agency that alone or in sequence sets in motion the motive power of the vehicle.


This definition of "operating a motor vehicle" originated in State v. Swift, 125 Conn. 399, 401-03 (1939).  Swift established that "'operating' encompasses a broader range of conduct than does 'driving.'"  State v. Haight, 279 Conn. 546, 551 (2007); State v. Angueira, 51 Conn. App. 782, 786 (1999).  No intent to move the vehicle is required.  State v. Ducatt, 22 Conn. App. 88, 92, cert. denied, 217 Conn. 804 (1990); see also State v. Wiggs, 60 Conn. App. 551, 554 (2000) (intent to drive is not an element of operation). Any step taken in the sequence necessary to engage the motive power of a vehicle is sufficient to come within the definition of "operating."  State v. Cyr, 291 Conn. 49, 56-62 (2009) (starting the engine with a remote starter is sufficient); State v. Haight, supra, 279 Conn. 555-56 (inserting the key in the ignition is sufficient).




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