Texas Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions (TCPJI) (2010)
Note: Texas Criminal Pattern Jury Charges were updated in 2015.
Chapter 3. Defenses & Special Evidentiary Charges
A. Law

3:1740 Retreat — Reasonable Person Standard (Pre-2007)

In 2007, the Legislature passed the “Castle Doctrine” amendments to the self-defense/deadly force justifications. Therefore, Texas law no longer requires a duty to retreat prior to the use of deadly force. There was no duty to retreat prior to using non-deadly force. However, prior to the 2007 amendments, the following standards applied to the use of deadly force:

Before deadly force may be used in self-defense, the actor is required to retreat if a reasonable person in the actor’s situation would have retreated. See, Valentine v. State, 587 S.W.2d 399 (Tex.Crim.App. 1979). Penal Code 9.32 (a)(2). The actor must first go to the wall, as some might say, before shooting his assailant.

“Reasonable belief” should be defined by the court, upon request or objection, in a voluntary manslaughter case. The Statute, P C. §1.07(a)(31) defines it. Arline v. State, 721 S.W.2d 348 (Tex.Crim.App. 1986), held that failure to define “reasonable belief” in a self-defense context, even though omission thereof was objected to, was not calculated to injure the rights of defendant — it caused no harm in such a setting.