Title 39 – Criminal Offenses

Chapter 11 – General Provisions

Part 2 – Burden of Proof

39-11-203. Defense.

(a) A defense to prosecution for an offense in this title is so labeled by the phrase: “It is a defense to prosecution under … that …”

(b) The state is not required to negate the existence of a defense in the charge alleging commission of the offense.

(c) The issue of the existence of a defense is not submitted to the jury unless it is fairly raised by the proof.

(d) If the issue of the existence of a defense is submitted to the jury, the court shall instruct the jury that any reasonable doubt on the issue requires the defendant to be acquitted.


(1) A ground of defense, other than one (1) negating an element of the offense or an affirmative defense, that is not plainly labeled in accordance with this part has the procedural and evidentiary consequences of a defense.

(2) Defenses available under common law are hereby abolished.