Some Basics On The Alibi Defense
When charged with a crime in Florida, a defendant can employ several defenses. One of the defenses that defendants use is the alibi defense.
So, what exactly is an alibi defense? It is a defense based on information that you, as the defendant, were not present at the crime scene but were instead somewhere else when the crime was committed. When you use the alibi defense, you aim to prove that since you were not present at the crime scene when the crime was committed, you cannot be the person who committed the crime.
When using the alibi defense, the defense side can invite witnesses to testify in support of the defense.
Example of an Alibi Defense
If you are charged with selling drugs to a minor near a school, you can present evidence that you were at your office desk at the time of the sale; therefore, not the person who committed the drug crime. Any individual such as your boss or co-worker who was with you or saw you at work can testify to those facts. In addition to using witness testimonies, you can present video footage or pictures that show you were at your office desk or work at the time of the crime.
It is important to note that a defendant can use the alibi defense without foregoing their constitutional right against self-incrimination, that is, the right to remain silent. Just because you claim you were somewhere else other than the crime scene at the time of the crime doesn’t mean you have to testify. You can rely on other people’s testimonies without having to testify personally. As a defendant, you may choose not to testify for various reasons. For example, if you are being charged with other crimes that you don’t want to be questioned about, you can choose not to testify.
The Alibi Defense and Reasonable Doubt
When a defendant uses the alibi defense, they don’t have to assume the responsibility of proving the alibi beyond a reasonable doubt. Also, if a jury or judge questions an alibi defense, the prosecution must still prove all elements of the crime a defendant stands accused of beyond a reasonable doubt. That means, in addition to proving that you were at the crime scene at the time of the crime, the prosecution must prove all other elements that show you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. So, following the example given in the previous section, if the judge or jury is not convinced of your alibi, they must still consider, among other things, whether you had drugs in your possession and exchanged the drugs for money.
Florida Alibi Rules
According to Rule 3.200, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, a defendant who intends to use the alibi defense must, upon the written request of the prosecuting attorney, file a Notice of Alibi and serve it on the prosecutor no less than ten days before their trial.
The written demand of the prosecuting attorney usually includes the date, time, and place of the commission of the offense charged, as is known to them.
Contact Us for Legal Help
If you are currently facing criminal charges, contact a qualified Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney at Joyce A. Julian, P.A., today. Even if you don’t have an alibi, our team of skilled attorneys can help you determine other defenses that can be used in your case.