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What is an Alibi?

Your worst nightmare has come true. You have been accused of a crime you didn’t commit and detained for questioning. As you listen to the crime you are charged with and the details of when that crime occurred, you see a ray of hope. You were out of town on the day the alleged offense took place. There is no possible way you could have committed this crime since it is not possible for you to be in two places at once. You have an alibi.

In Latin, the term alibi literally means “in another place.” As it relates to law, an alibi is a type of defense that asserts a defendant was somewhere else when the crime they are accused of took place. This is one of the strongest defenses in a criminal case as the nature of being in another location when a crime took place infers that you could not have committed a crime in another location. While an alibi can be a very strong defense in a criminal case, it can be difficult to prove if witnesses or tangible evidence do not exist to support your claim.

When an alibi defense is used, the prosecution has the burden of disproving the alibi beyond a reasonable doubt. As such, the prosecution must be made aware of an alibi defense with sufficient time to check the information and gather evidence to disprove an alibi. Providing the prosecution with information regarding an alibi is called an alibi notice. There are generally strict timelines by which an alibi notice must be made to the prosecution. Therefore, it is usually a good idea to hire an experienced criminal law attorney to defend you if you face criminal charges as s/he should be aware of the various deadlines that must be met to secure a strong defense.

If you offer an alibi as a defense in a criminal case, you have the constitutional right to call witnesses and provide evidence that supports your claim. Having witnesses is an important aspect of your alibi defense as witnesses help validate your claims of an alibi. In addition to witnesses, you should secure any type of written documents that support your alibi. Written documents could include receipts, programs, tickets or any record that authenticates your whereabouts at the time of the alleged offense. An attorney should be able to provide you with more detail on exactly what kind of documents you need to procure to support your alibi.

In any criminal matter, it is usually a good idea to consult an experienced criminal law attorney—even if you are innocent. Innocence does not always speak for itself and must be defended. If you have been accused of a crime and have an alibi, it is important to seek legal advice on how to proceed with your case. An attorney should be able to help you through this difficult time and help prove that you are, in fact, innocent.

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