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Family and Criminal Law Blog

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Asserting an Alibi Defense Strategy

In the U.S. criminal justice system, defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest threshold in the U.S. justice system. Unfortunately, however, this does not mean that defendants are served, and certainly not best served, by waiting to see if the prosecution can build a strong enough case against them to secure a guilty verdict. Instead, defense teams must prepare to mount rigorous strategies geared at proving a defendant’s innocence, showing that it would have been impossible that the defendant was the one to commit the crime in question, and/or to undermine whatever case the prosecution has prepared to present. One defense strategy aimed at showing that it would be impossible for the defendant to have been the one to commit a crime is the alibi defense.

Asserting an Alibi Defense Strategy

The alibi defense is a claim by the defense that basically asserts that it would have been impossible for the defendant to have committed the crime in question because the defendant was somewhere other than the scene of the crime at the time the crime occurred. It is not enough, however, to simply assert this defense. It must be supported by convincing proof. There must be evidence to support the assertion that the defendant was elsewhere at the time of the crime.

While an initial inclination may be to just put the defendant on the witness stand so that he or she can testify under oath to being elsewhere at the time the crime was committed, this should be carefully considered as it could go awry for a number of reasons. First and foremost, a defendant on the witness stand is exposed to a number of different attacks and is vulnerable to the prosecution’s questions. For instance, the defendant could be questioned about other crimes that he or she may have been involved in but not yet charged with. There is also a strong potential for character attacks as the prosecution attempts to undermine, or “impeach,” the credibility of the defendant as a witness.

Instead of putting the defendant on the stand to testify to an alibi, the defense is often better served by placing other relevant witnesses on the stand. While friends and family may testify to the defendant’s alibi, it is not the strongest form of testimony as these are people that are vested in the outcome of the case. They are not disinterested witnesses. Instead, disinterested witnesses, outsiders that do not have a personal relationship with the defendant, can present strong evidence if willing to testify to the validity of the defendant’s alibi. Other forms of objective evidence, such as video surveillance, receipts, and sign-in sheets showing the defendant was somewhere other than the scene of the crime at the time it was being committed can also be strong ways to support the validity of the alibi defense.

Texas Criminal Defense Attorneys

The defense strategy best suited to a case will vary depending on the unique facts and circumstances of each case. At Navarrete & Schwartz, we tackle our criminal defense strategy from every possible angle to help ensure we are mounting the strongest defense possible for our clients that are up against serious criminal charges. We are proud to serve the residence of Midland, Texas. Contact us today.


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