alias | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: General Term

In a criminal justice context, the term alias refers to a name that is different from a person’s true legal name and is used instead of their real name.

In a criminal justice context, the term alias is commonly used to refer to a name that is different from an individual’s legal name and is used in place of their real name. The use of these can have significant implications for law enforcement, as it can make it more difficult to identify individuals and track their activities.

The use of an alternative name is often associated with criminal activity. Individuals may use one to avoid detection by law enforcement, to evade creditors or legal obligations, or to commit crimes without being identified. For example, an individual who is the subject of a criminal investigation may use an alias to avoid being tracked by law enforcement. Alternatively, an individual who is engaging in identity theft may use one to open new accounts or access personal information.

This can also have legitimate uses. For example, individuals in the entertainment industry may use stage names or pseudonyms as part of their professional persona. Similarly, individuals may use alternative names in the context of witness protection programs or to protect their personal safety.

In law enforcement, it is important to identify individuals who are using aliases in order to track their activities and criminal history accurately. This can be a complex and challenging task, as individuals may use multiple aliases or switch between aliases over time. Law enforcement agencies may use a variety of tools and techniques to identify aliases, including background checks, surveillance, and analysis of financial or other records.

The use of aliases can also have implications for criminal trials and sentencing. If an individual is known to have used aliases, this information may be introduced as evidence in court. Additionally, if an individual has a criminal history under one or more aliases, this information may be taken into account during sentencing.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 04/29/2023

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