The U.S. criminal justice system is founded on the idea that all Americans are presumed innocent until proven otherwise if they have been suspected of criminal wrongdoing. It also affirms that it is the prosecution’s job to prove an individual’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But, if you have been accused of criminal wrongdoing, these foundational ideas do not mean that you have no responsibility to help prove your innocence.
One of the defense options you can consider if you have been charged with certain crimes is establishing an alibi.
Understanding how alibi works
Alibi is Latin for “somewhere else.” In the context of criminal defense, you can raise an alibi to prove that you could not have committed the crime in question because you were at a different location when it happened. Of course, you cannot raise an alibi if you have been accused of certain crimes like DUI and shoplifting, especially if you were caught in the act. However, if you are falsely accused of burglary, sexual assault or domestic violence, then this type of defense might work for your circumstances.
Proving your alibi
The primary purpose of establishing an alibi is to cast reasonable doubt on the prosecution’s assertion that you are “their guy,” thus necessitating your acquittal. Here are some of the kinds of evidence that you can potentially present as an alibi if you are charged with a crime:
- Time-stamped surveillance footage or photos that place at a different location
- Transaction documentation like credit card receipts that prove that you were elsewhere at the time of the alleged crime
- Time-stamped employee register that shows that you were at your place of work when the crime happened
- Witness account
Building your defense
If you are falsely accused of a crime, you need to present a strong defense against the charges you’re facing. Seeking legal guidance is often the best first step you can take under such circumstances.