A “defense” and an “affirmative defense” are two distinct legal concepts used in criminal law. A defense is a claim or argument made by the accused that negates or refutes the prosecution’s case, without admitting to the commission of the crime. Essentially, it asserts that the defendant’s actions were justified, or the prosecution has not met its burden of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Texas Penal Code has various defenses, labeled in the code, “It is a defense to prosecution….” Some examples follow.
Examples of Defenses Under Texas Penal Code.
Section 8.02 – Mistake of fact: It is a defense to prosecution that the actor, through mistake, formed a reasonable belief about a matter of fact if their mistaken belief negated the kind of culpability required for the commission of the offense.
Section 8.05 – Duress: It is a defense to prosecution that the actor engaged in the proscribed conduct because they were compelled to do so by threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury to themselves or another.Section 8.06 – Entrapment: It is a defense to prosecution that the actor engaged in the conduct charged because they were induced to do so by a law enforcement agent using persuasion or other means likely to cause persons to commit the offense.Section 22.06 – Consent as a defense to assaultive conduct: It is a defense to prosecution that the conduct in question was performed under the victim’s consent.Section 42.03 – Obstructing a highway or other passageway: It is a defense to prosecution that the obstruction was a reasonable response to an emergency.