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Texas Criminal Practice Guide
Copyright 2017, Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group.

5-122 Texas Criminal Practice Guide 122.syn


General Defenses


Editorial Consultant:;Frank Maloney;Update Author:;John M. Schmolesky

Chapter Summary


This chapter covers the Penal Code's recognition of common law defenses. The chapter discusses when a separate jury charge on a defense is required and the rule that if evidence is presented to the jury regarding a defense, affirmative defense, or justification, the trial court must charge the jury on that defense, affirmative defense, or justification, regardless of the strength of the evidence or the credibility of the person from whom the evidence is obtained. Next, the chapter covers jury charges on conflicting defenses; statutory exceptions to offenses; and statutory defenses available to a defendant, which include mistake of fact, entrapment, infancy, and self-defense. Then, the chapter discusses the defendant's and state's respective burdens of proof on defenses; the four affirmative defenses of general application which Texas law provides, which are defense to criminal responsibility of a corporation or association, insanity, mistake of law, and duress; and the burden of proof on affirmative defenses.

In addition, this chapter provides an in-depth discussion of the defenses of mistake of fact, entrapment, and the defendant's age. The chapter also includes detailed treatment of the due diligence of a corporation or association to prevent the commission of an offense affirmative defense, as well as the affirmative defenses of mistake of law and duress. It also covers the admissibility of involuntary intoxication to mitigate a punishment; common law defenses and affirmative defenses, including involuntary intoxication and alibi; the burden of proof for evidence of an exception or defense; and the standard of review in courts of appeals for a rejected affirmative defense.

This chapter contains helpful checklists for exceptions and defenses; useful forms for requested jury instructions for various defenses and affirmative defenses; and convenient constitutional, statutory, case law, annotational, law review, and periodical references, among other resources.

Texas Criminal Practice Guide is a complete resource on Texas criminal law. It provides expert legal analysis, practice tips, sample forms, research guides, and updates on legislative changes. It is arranged by section to correspond with the progression of the Texas criminal justice system, making its detailed information easy to access.


Texas criminal practice,criminal defenses,common law defenses,jury charges on defenses,conflicting defenses,jury charges on conflicting defenses,statutory exceptions,statutory defenses,mistake of fact,entrapment,infancy,self-defense,burden of proof on defenses,affirmative defenses,duress,criminal responsibility of a corporation,mistake of law,involuntary intoxication,alibi


Chapter 120 covers the classification of offenses. Chapter 121 discusses criminal responsibility. For treatment of justifications, please refer to Chapter 123. For discussion of specific offenses, please see Chapters 124-134.


For the most complete discussion and expert analysis of drunk driving law in Texas to date, see Texas Drunk Driving Law (Matthew Bender).

For an organized and comprehensive guide to criminal sentencing in the Texas courts which includes analysis of the collateral consequences of criminal convictions, victims' rights at the sentencing phase, sentencing options for juveniles, community supervision, and the various types of institutional facilities, among other sentencing issues, see Texas Sentencing (Matthew Bender).

For quick reference, expert guidance, and the latest developments in criminal evidence law regarding scientific evidence, polygraph evidence, evidence obtained from automobile stops and other searches and seizures, and amendments to the Federal Rules of Evidence, among other evidentiary issues, see Courtroom Criminal Evidence (Matthew Bender).

For a review of all of the major evidentiary doctrines applicable to scientific evidence, see The Methods of Attacking Scientific Evidence (Matthew Bender).

For West's flagship treatise on federal civil, criminal, appellate, and admiralty procedure whose authors are the judges, lawyers, and professors who write and amend the federal rules, see Moore's Federal Practice--Criminal (Matthew Bender).
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