Shotgun Instruction Law and Legal Definition

Shotgun instruction is an instruction or warning given by a judge to a deadlocked jury to go back and try to reach a verdict. In some cases, a deadlocked jury may not be able to reach at a verdict after prolonged deliberations. In such cases, the judge reminds jurors to consider the opinions of others and enter a verdict.

Some states prohibit the use of a shotgun instruction because of its coercive nature. However, the instruction passed federal constitutional muster in the case of Allen v. Gainer. Shotgun Instruction is also referred to as dynamite charge, Allen charge, third-degree instruction, or dynamite instruction.