Can You Claim Self Defense Without Admitting Your Criminal Conduct ?
Self-defense is a justification for one's actions, which necessarily requires admission that the conduct occurred. See Young v. State, 991 S.W.2d 835, 838 (Tex.Crim.App. 1999) (discussing defense of necessity as justification); MacDonald v. State, 761 S.W.2d 56, 60 (Tex.App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 1988, pet. ref'd). Self-defense is inconsistent with a denial of the conduct. Sanders v. State, 707 S.W.2d 78, 81 (Tex.Crim.App. 1986); MacDonald, 761 S.W.2d at 60.
To raise the issue of self-defense, appellant must admit the committed offense and then offer self-defense as justification. See Young, 991 S.W.2d at 839 (finding defendant was not entitled to instruction on defense of necessity because he argued he did not commit offense).
A defendant is entitled to an instruction on any defensive theory, including mistake of fact, if the issue is raised by the evidence, whether that evidence is strong or weak, unimpeached or contradicted, and regardless of what the trial court may think about the credibility of the evidence. Hamel v. State, 916 S.W.2d 491, 493 (Tex.Crim.App. 1996); Walker v. State, 994 S.W.2d 199, 201 (Tex.App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 1999, pet. ref'd).
Neither the trial nor the appellate court decide whether appellant's mistaken belief was reasonable because this is a question left for the jury. See Granger v. State, 3 S.W.3d 36, 37 (Tex.Crim.App. 1999).
This rule is designed to insure that the jury, not the judge, will decide the credibility of the evidence. Id.
If the evidence viewed in a light most favorable to appellant does not establish a mistake of fact defense, an instruction is not required. Id.