An alibi is evidence that proves that the defendant in a criminal case was somewhere else when the crime occurred. The defendant will have to rely on a witness or evidence (camera footage) that he or she was at a different location at the time of the crime.
Although a defendant may have an alibi, they may choose not to testify personally, because they can be charged with other crimes if they are questioned further. In other instances, testifying may put the defendant at risk of the prosecutor attacking the defendant’s credibility and even highlighting prior convictions. Once a jury believes that the defendant may be lying, it can be difficult to change their minds.
However, the defendant offering the alibi as a defense will not assume responsibility to verify the alibi. This task rests on the prosecution and will require finding the defendant guilty beyond reasonable doubt. However, the judge and jury will weigh the credibility of the defendant with the evidence put forward.
Most states will require the defendant in criminal cases to disclose information and an intention to rely on an alibi as evidence at a trial. The process is called “discovery” and will provide prosecutors the opportunity to investigate the validity of an alibi and to prepare to undermine its credibility.
If you or someone close to you is charged with a crime, it is best to speak to an attorney who has experience in handling criminal cases.