Substitute House Bill No. 5059

Public Act No. 00-142

An Act Concerning Hunting Safety.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (a) As used in this section:

(1) "Criminal negligence" shall have the same meaning as "criminal negligence", as defined in section 53a-3 of the general statutes;

(2) "Hunting" shall have the same meaning as "hunting", as defined in section 26-1 of the general statutes;

(3) "Loaded hunting implement" means (A) a rifle or shotgun with a live round in the chamber or in a magazine which is attached to such rifle or shotgun, a muzzle-loaded firearm with the percussion cap in place, or a flintlock firearm with powder in the pan, (B) a bow and arrow with an arrow notched on the bow, (C) a drawn crossbow with a bolt in place, or (D) a high velocity air gun that is charged with a projectile in the chamber or in a magazine that is attached to such air gun; and

(4) "Serious physical injury" shall have the same meaning as "serious physical injury, as defined in section 53a-3 of the general statutes.

(b) (1) A person is guilty of negligent hunting in the first degree when, with criminal negligence while hunting, such person discharges a loaded hunting implement and thereby causes the death of another person.

(2) Negligent hunting in the first degree is a class D felony.

(c) (1) A person is guilty of negligent hunting in the second degree when, with criminal negligence while hunting, such person violates any provision of section 26-85 of the general statutes or discharges a loaded hunting implement and thereby causes the serious physical injury of another person.

(2) Negligent hunting in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor and any person found guilty under subdivision (1) of this subsection shall be fined not less than four hundred dollars.

(d) (1) A person is guilty of negligent hunting in the third degree when such person, while hunting, (A) discharges a firearm at a time of day when hunting is not permitted, (B) discharges a firearm from a vehicle, (C) hunts while the person's license to hunt is suspended, (D) hunts out of season or on a Sunday, or (E) discharges a firearm so as to cause the projectile to strike or enter into any building occupied by people or domestic animals or used for storage of flammable or combustible materials.

(2) Negligent hunting in the third degree is a class B misdemeanor and any person found guilty under subdivision (1) of this subsection shall be fined not less than two hundred dollars.

(e) (1) A person is guilty of negligent hunting in the fourth degree when such person, while hunting, (A) hunts without purchasing a license, permit or stamp or other permission required by law, (B) is in possession of a loaded hunting implement at a time of day when hunting is not allowed, (C) hunts with or discharges a firearm less than two hundred fifty feet from any building occupied by people or domestic animals or used for storage of flammable or combustible materials, or less than one hundred twenty-five feet from any such building while hunting in tidal water areas, unless written permission of the owner of such building has been obtained, or (D) hunts from or discharges a hunting implement from or across a public highway.

(2) Negligent hunting in the fourth degree is a class C misdemeanor.

(f) Any person who is convicted of a violation of any provision of subsection (b), (c) or (d) of this section or subsection (b) of section 53-206d of the general statutes, as amended by this act, within five years of a previous conviction for violation of this section shall be considered a persistent negligent hunter. Upon such second conviction within five years, a persistent negligent hunter shall be fined an amount that is not less than twice the minimum fine provided for the second violation and shall be subject to penalties provided for the next more serious degree of negligent hunting under subsection (b), (c) or (d) of this section or subsection (b) of section 53-206d of the general statutes, as amended by this act.

(g) Any fine imposed for a conviction under subsection (b) or (c) of this section or subsection (b) of section 53-206d of the general statutes, as amended by this act, shall be deposited in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund established pursuant to section 54-215 of the general statutes. Any fine imposed for a conviction under subsection (d) or (e) of this section shall be deposited in the Conservation Fund established under section 22a-27h of the general statutes for land management or acquisition of hunting easements.

(h) (1) The Commissioner of Environmental Protection may suspend the hunting license of any person convicted under subsection (b), (c), (d) or (e) of this section or subsection (b) of section 53-206d of the general statutes, as amended by this act for: (A) Indefinitely upon conviction of negligent hunting in the first degree or upon conviction of any violation of subsection (b) of section 53-206d of the general statutes, as amended by this act; (B) up to ten years upon conviction of negligent hunting in the second degree; (C) up to five years upon conviction of negligent hunting in the third degree; and (D) up to three years upon conviction of negligent hunting in the fourth degree.

(2) Any person arrested for a violation of subsection (b), (c) or (d) of this section or subsection (b) of section 53-206d of the general statutes, as amended by this act, except as provided in section 26-85 of the general statutes shall surrender any firearm, bow, crossbow, bolt or high velocity air gun in the person's possession while hunting at the time of the alleged violation. Such property shall be confiscated at the time of arrest by a police officer or conservation officer. Upon nolle or dismissal of charges or acquittal of such person of such violation, such property shall be returned to the person within five business days and in the same condition as when the firearm, bow, crossbow or high velocity air gun was surrendered. Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 54-33g and 54-36a of the general statutes, the property shall be turned over to the Commissioner of Environmental Protection upon conviction of such person for such violation. Said commissioner shall (A) retain the property for use by personnel of the Department of Environmental Protection, (B) convey the property to the Commissioner of Administrative Services for sale at public auction, the proceeds of which shall be credited to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund established pursuant to section 54-215 of the general statutes, or (C) destroy the property.

(i) Possession by any person of a loaded hunting implement while at or entering or leaving an area where a reasonable person would believe the objective was to take wildlife shall be prima facie evidence of hunting, except that a person may, one hour before sunrise during the regulated deer and turkey firearms hunting seasons, be in possession of a loaded rifle or shotgun, as defined in subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of this section, provided a live round is not in the chamber of the rifle or shotgun.

Sec. 2. Subsection (g) of section 26-31 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(g) Any holder of a hunting license which has been suspended under section 26-61, for a hunting safety violation as identified by the commissioner in the Hunting and Trapping Guide published annually by the Department of Environmental Protection or any holder of such a license which has been suspended under section 26-62 shall successfully complete a remedial hunter education course formulated by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection and show proof that the hunter has successfully completed a conservation education-firearms safety course or its equivalent, as deemed by the commissioner, prior to any reinstatement of such license.

Sec. 3. Section 53-206d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) (1) No person shall carry a pistol, revolver, machine gun, shotgun, rifle or other firearm, which is loaded and from which a shot may be discharged, upon his person [(1)] (A) while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, or both, or [(2)] (B) while the ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person is ten-hundredths of one per cent or more of alcohol, by weight.

[(b)] (2) Any person who violates any provision of this [section] subsection shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor.

(b) (1) No person shall engage in hunting while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, or both, or while impaired by the consumption of intoxicating liquor. A person shall be deemed under the influence when at the time of the alleged offense the person (A) is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, or both, or (B) has an elevated blood alcohol content. For the purposes of this subdivision, "elevated blood alcohol content" means (i) a ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person that is ten-hundredths of one per cent or more of alcohol, by weight, or (ii) if such person has been convicted of a violation of this subsection, a ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person that is seven-hundredths of one per cent or more of alcohol, by weight. A person shall be deemed impaired when at the time of the alleged offense the ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person was more than seven-hundredths of one per cent of alcohol, by weight, but less than ten-hundredths of one per cent of alcohol, by weight.

(2) Any person who violates any provision of this subsection shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

(3) Enforcement officers of the Department of Environmental Protection are empowered to arrest for a violation of the provisions of this subsection.

Sec. 4. Subsection (a) of section 15-140q of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) If any person, having been placed under arrest for violating subsection (b) of section 53-206d, as amended by this act, or for operating a vessel upon the waters of this state while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, or both, and thereafter, after being apprised of his constitutional rights, having been requested to submit to a blood, breath or urine test at the option of the police officer, having been afforded a reasonable opportunity to telephone an attorney prior to the performance of such test and having been informed that evidence of such refusal shall be admissible and may be used against him in any criminal prosecution, refuses to submit to the designated test, the test shall not be given; provided, if the person refuses or is unable to submit to a blood test, the police officer shall designate the breath or urine test as the test to be taken.

Sec. 5. Subsection (a) of section 15-140r of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) In any criminal prosecution for violation of section 15-140l or 15-140n, [or] subsection (a) of section 15-133 or subsection (b) of section 53-206d, as amended by this act, evidence respecting the amount of alcohol or drug in the defendant's blood or urine at the time of the alleged offense, as shown by a chemical analysis of the defendant's breath, blood or urine shall be admissible and competent provided: (1) The defendant was afforded a reasonable opportunity to telephone an attorney prior to the performance of the test and consented to the taking of the test upon which such analysis is made; (2) a true copy of the report of the test result was mailed to or personally delivered to the defendant within twenty-four hours or by the end of the next regular business day, after such result was known, whichever is later; (3) the test was performed by or at the direction of a law enforcement officer according to methods and with equipment approved by the Department of Public Health and was performed by a person certified or recertified for such purpose by said department or recertified by persons certified as instructors by the Commissioner of Public Health. If a blood test is taken, it shall be on a blood sample taken by a person licensed to practice medicine and surgery in this state, a qualified laboratory technician, an emergency medical technician II or a registered nurse; (4) the device used for such test was checked for accuracy at the beginning of each workday and no later than the end of each workday by a person certified by the Department of Public Health; (5) an additional chemical test of the same type was performed and the device was checked for accuracy by a person certified or recertified by the Department of Public Health, at least thirty minutes after the initial test was performed, provided the results of the initial test shall not be inadmissible under this subsection if reasonable efforts were made to have such additional test performed in accordance with the conditions set forth in this subsection and such additional test was not performed or was not performed within a reasonable time, or the results of such additional test are not admissible for failure to meet a condition set forth in this subsection; and (6) evidence is presented which demonstrates that the test results and the analysis thereof accurately reflect the blood alcohol content at the time of the alleged offense.

Approved May 26, 2000