Criminal defense attorney speaking on behalf of his convicted client

The Alibi Defense

By David Hammond

If you have been charged with a crime, it can be easy to lose hope. It can seem like you are up against a system that has already condemned you. Now, however, is not the time to give up. There is too much at stake and there may be many ways for you to successfully beat that criminal charge or, at least, to have that charge significantly reduced. The criminal defense strategy that may be most effective will largely depend on the specific facts and circumstances. One such strategy may involve asserting an alibi defense. Here, we will go over more details about the alibi defense and how to successfully assert it in your criminal case.

The Alibi Defense

With the alibi defense, a defendant is basically saying that, considering the information presented, it has been demonstrated that he or she was not or could not have been at the scene of the crime at the time when the crime occurred. As such, the defendant was elsewhere and, therefore, could not have been the person who perpetrated the crime. The prosecutor and the court, however, are not likely to take this defense at face value. Proof will be needed to support and substantiate such a defense claim.

The good news is that a defendant is able to proffer an alibi defense and maintain his or her constitutional right to remain silent, otherwise known as the right against self-incrimination. Having the defendant testify to an alibi defense is not required for the defense to be successfully asserted. There are many other ways that an alibi defense can be supported. You may be wondering though why a defendant would not want to testify personally to an alibi defense. There may be a number of reasons for this. Once a defendant is on the witness stand, he or she can be questioned on a wide range of matters, including other crimes that the defendant may be facing charges for. Being put on the witness stand also opens up the defendant to credibility attacks launched by the prosecutor. Prior convictions could be brought up and the alibi defense could be severely undermined.

The alibi defense can still be successfully supported by other witnesses and evidence even without the defendant testifying to its validity. Witnesses who saw the defendant at another location at the time of the crime could testify. Video recordings putting the defendant in a different location could also be presented as could things such as sign-in sheets, receipts, and other pieces of evidence putting the defendant at another location.

As with other defense strategies, the strength of an alibi defense will depend on the strength of the evidence presented to support it. Not all evidence will carry the same weight. For instance, a friend or family testifying to the defendant’s whereabouts may not carry the same weight as someone with no relationship to the defendant who testifies to seeing the defendant elsewhere. Also, purely objective pieces of evidence may be given more weight in supporting an alibi. This is why things like video footage, photographs, and GPS records can be significant pieces of evidence in supporting an alibi defense.

Syracuse Criminal Defense Attorneys

The criminal defense team at CDH Law is prepared to tirelessly defend you against all criminal charges. Time, however, is of the essence. Contact us today.

About the Author
David is a former military prosecutor and defense lawyer with over a decade of experience fighting for service members and their families. He served nine years and two combat tours as an active duty US Army officer, then joined the Reserves and settled down in Syracuse to be near family. Now representing people across Central New York charged with serious felonies, misdemeanors, DWIs, and traffic offenses, he puts the same level of commitment into his civilian law practice. If you have any questions regarding this article, you can contact David here.