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Criminal Jury Instructions

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8.4-3  Breach of the Peace in the Second Degree -- § 53a-181 (a) (2)

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 assaults or strikes another.

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

  • 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 - Assaulted or struck another person
The second element is that the defendant assaulted or struck another person.  An "assault" is a demonstration of an unlawful intent to inflict immediate injury on the person of another who is then present.  The statute also prohibits the striking of another.  "Striking" means to deliver a blow.  A defendant may be liable for striking another when the blow is delivered through some intervening agency that (he/she) has put in motion as, for example, intentionally throwing an object that strikes another person.2

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.

2 Carefully tailor this part of the instruction to the allegations and evidence.  A striking does not always constitute an assault.
 


 

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