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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

8.2-16 Carrying Dangerous Weapons -- 53-206

Revised to April 23, 2010 (modified May 20, 2011)

The defendant is charged [in count __] with carrying a dangerous weapon. The statute defining this offense imposes punishment on any person who carries upon (his/her) person <insert one of the following:>

  • a BB gun.
  • a blackjack.
  • metal or brass knuckles.
  • a dirk knife.
  • a switch knife.
  • a knife having an automatic spring release device by which a blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one-half inches in length.
  • a stiletto.
  • a knife the edged portion of the blade of which is four inches or more in length.
  • a police baton or nightstick.
  • a martial arts weapon or electronic defense weapon.
  • any dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument.1

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

Element 1 - Carried weapon
The first element is that the defendant carried <insert specific weapon> upon (his/her) person. A weapon is "carried" if it is on one's person and within the person's control or dominion, meaning that the person must be aware of its presence.2

<Insert appropriate definition(s):>

  • A "martial arts weapon" is a nunchaku, kama, kasari-fundo, octagon sai, tonfa, or Chinese star.
  • An "electronic defense weapon" is a weapon which by electronic impulse or current is capable of immobilizing a person temporarily, but is not capable of inflicting death or serious physical injury.
  • Dangerous instrument" means any instrument, article or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used or attempted or threatened to be used, is capable of causing death or serious physical injury.  "Serious physical injury" means 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. It is important to note that the article need not be inherently dangerous; all that is required is that the article was capable of causing death or serious physical injury under the circumstances in which it was used.  Any article or substance, without limitation and even though harmless under normal use, may be found by you to be a dangerous instrument if, under the circumstances of its use or threatened or attempted use, it is capable of producing serious physical injury or death.  The state need not prove that in fact death or serious physical injury resulted, only that the instrument had that potential under the circumstances.

[<If the conduct involves a threat and not an actual use of a dangerous instrument:> A threat can only be punishable when it is a true threat, that is, a threat that a reasonable person would understand as a serious expression of an intent to harm or assault, and not as mere puffery, bluster, jest or hyperbole. In determining whether the threat is a true threat, consider the particular factual context in which the allegedly threatening conduct occurred which could include the reaction of the person allegedly being threatened and the defendant's conduct before and after the allegedly threatening conduct.]3

Element 2 - Outside dwelling or place of business.
The second element is that the defendant was outside (his/her) dwelling or place of business.4

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant carried <insert specific weapon>, and 2) (he/she) was outside (his/her) dwelling or place of business.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of carrying a dangerous weapon, 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.
_______________________________________________________

1 Note that the definition of "deadly weapon" in General Statutes 53a-3 (6) explicitly excludes its application to 53-206.

2 State v. Hopes, 26 Conn. App. 367, 375, cert. denied, 221 Conn. 915 (1992).

3 See State v. Cook, 287 Conn. 237, 252 (2008).

4 "General Statutes 53-206 (a) does not expressly except from its terms the carrying of a dangerous weapon in one's dwelling or abode. This, however, is an implied exception. See General Statutes 29-35 (allows the carrying of pistols or revolvers without a permit in one's dwelling or place of business). Section 29-35 provides in pertinent part: "No person shall carry any pistol or revolver upon his person, except when such person is within his dwelling house or place of business, without a permit to carry the same." State v. Sealy, 208 Conn. 689, 693 n.2 (1988).

Commentary

A knife with a cutting blade less than 4 inches long, which does not explicitly come under the statute, may come under "dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument." State v. Holloway, 11 Conn. App. 665, 671 (1987).

Self-defense may be available to a charge under this statute, if it was the defendant's use of the item that made it a dangerous instrument. State v. Ramos, 271 Conn. 785, 803 n.13 (2004).

The "place of business" exception means only premises that contain a business in which the defendant has a proprietary or possessory interest, not a location at which the defendant is merely an employee. State v. Vickers, 260 Conn. 219, 221-22 (2002). It is also limited to fixed places of business only, and does not encompass taxicabs. State v. Lutters, 270 Conn. 198, 208 (2004). A stairway and landing leading to the defendant's apartment was not in his exclusive control and thus did not come within the dwelling exception. State v. Sealy, supra, 208 Conn. 694.

See General Statutes 53-206 (b) for exceptions to culpability. "[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).
 


 

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