Proving an Alibi Defense

An alibi can create reasonable doubt as to whether you committed a crime.

Proving an Alibi Defense

Most Americans are familiar with the concept of an alibi defense. In essence, it is claiming that you could not have committed a crime because you were someplace else when that crime was being committed. But how exactly is an alibi defense proven? Is it easier or harder to prove than other types of defenses to criminal charges?

In a criminal case, a prosecutor has to prove that the defendant in a criminal case committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest standard in the law; it means that the evidence shows that there is no logical explanation other than that you have committed the charged crime.

For most defenses to crimes, the defendant has to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she has a valid defense. For example, if a defendant is claiming that he killed a person in self defense, then he has to show by a preponderance of the evidence (that it is more likely than not) that he acted in self defense. This is known as an affirmative defense, because it puts the burden back on the defendant to prove the case.

Proving an alibi is different, however, because it is not an affirmative defense. Instead, the defendant just has to raise a reasonable doubt as to whether or not he or she could have been the one who committed the crime. A criminal attorney in Los Angeles, CA would not have the burden of proving that the defendant was someplace else at the time that the crime was committed. Instead, the lawyer would just have to raise a reasonable doubt that the defendant was at the place where the prosecutor claims that he was — which would make it impossible for the prosecutor to meet his or her burden of proof.

To present a successful alibi defense, a criminal attorney in Los Angeles, CA introduces some evidence to show that the defendant was not present at the time and place where the crime was committed. This could be through photographs, videos, receipts, eyewitness testimony or other evidence. Then lawyer would then attempt to show that this evidence creates reasonable doubt as to whether the defendant was present when the crime was committed — so that the defendant must be found not guilty of the crime.

Of course, in order to be effective, an alibi must be credible. If an alibi consists of your girlfriend swearing that you were home alone with her all night and no one else saw you, then that likely won’t be a very credible alibi. However, if you were seen by other people or — better yet — captured on video as you went about your day — then the chances of building a successful alibi defense are greater. For example, if you state that you could not have robbed a bank because you were at a local home improvement store buying supplies to build a fire pit, it would be helpful if you had a time-stamped receipt to show your purchases, a video of you in the store at the time of the bank robbery, and testimony from people in the store who saw you there. This type of evidence can corroborate your claim of an alibi for the crime.

While they seem simple, alibi defenses can be complicated to put together successfully. At the Chambers Law Firm, our attorneys are skilled at handling this type of defense and other types of defenses to criminal charges. Contact our firm today at 714-760-4088 or to schedule a free initial consultation and learn how we can help you if you have been charged with a crime.

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