alibi | Definition

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

An alibi is a legal defense based on the claim of being elsewhere when a crime occurred.

An alibi is a defense strategy utilized in a criminal trial that attempts to prove that the accused was not present at the scene of the crime when it was committed. This defense involves presenting evidence that contradicts the prosecution’s claim that the defendant was involved in the criminal activity.

An alibi defense is often a crucial element in many criminal cases, particularly those involving serious offenses such as homicide, assault, or robbery. In these cases, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was present at the scene of the crime and committed the offense. If the defense can establish a credible alibi, it can create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury, which may result in an acquittal or a reduced sentence.

To establish an alibi, the defense must present evidence that demonstrates the defendant’s whereabouts at the time of the crime. This evidence can take many forms, including eyewitness testimony, physical evidence, and documentary evidence such as receipts or video footage. In addition to providing evidence of the defendant’s location, the defense must also demonstrate that the defendant could not have physically committed the crime given the distance or the amount of time it would have taken to travel from the defendant’s location to the scene of the crime.

It is important to note that an alibi defense is not foolproof and can be challenged by the prosecution. The prosecution may attempt to discredit the alibi by presenting evidence that contradicts the defendant’s claims, such as surveillance footage or eyewitness testimony that places the defendant at the scene of the crime. The prosecution may also argue that the alibi is fabricated or that the defendant had an accomplice who committed the crime in their absence.

In some cases, the defense may also attempt to establish a partial alibi. This defense strategy involves admitting that the defendant was present at the scene of the crime but asserting that they were not involved in the criminal activity. For example, a defendant accused of a robbery may admit to being at the location but claim that they were unaware of the robbery taking place.

Learn More

On This Site

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 04/18/2023


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.