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Tampa Criminal Lawyer > Blog > Criminal > Be Careful With That Alibi

Be Careful With That Alibi


The alibi defense is only one of many defenses that defendants can use in criminal court.  It is a factual defense, which means that you are saying, “I didn’t do X.”  In other words, it is not an affirmative defense, where you say, “I did X, but the X that I did doesn’t fit the definition of the crime.”  When you use the alibi defense, you are saying that you were somewhere else at the time of the alleged crime, and therefore, if the crime occurred at all, you were not the one who committed it.  For example, if you are accused of selling MDMA pills to an acquaintance in the waiting area for the It’s a Small World ride at 2:05 p.m., you might use an alibi to the effect that, at 2:10, you were waiting in line at Space Mountain, and it is not possible to get from It’s a Small World to Space Mountain in five minutes.  Using an alibi defense is much harder than it sounds.  A Tampa criminal defense lawyer can help you refine your alibi defense or, better yet, use other defenses to cast doubt on the state’s allegations against you.

Supporting Your Alibi With Evidence

If you plan to use an alibi, you must file a notice of alibi to the court at least ten days before your trial.  It must specify the location you plan to use as your alibi.  This way, the prosecution can find evidence that casts doubt on whether you were there.  If you say you were at Space Mountain, the prosecution might summon a cast member who was stationed at Space Mountain on the day of the crime, and she might testify that, from 1:45 until 2:30, the line stood still, because someone on the ride barfed, and the cast had to turn on all the lights inside the ride to clean it up.

Five days before the trial, the prosecution must notify you of the witnesses it plans to summon to rebut your alibi.  This way, you can tell your story in a way that doesn’t exclude you standing still in the Space Mountain line for 45 minutes.  You might even show your text messages from your friends, asking what’s taking you so long, and you replying that the line is stopped.  If, however, the prosecutors enter as evidence a text message at 2:20 from your cousin saying, “I’m here at the Mickey Mouse ice cream bar cart.  Where are you?” and your reply, “I’m right here at the Adventureland sign,” then your Space Mountain alibi is toast.

Sometime You Location Does Not Prove That You Didn’t Do It

Let’s say the jury believes your alibi, because you have airtight responses to all of the prosecution’s challenges.  That’s fine if you are being accused of handing over two MDMA pills at It’s a Small World, but it doesn’t help if you are being accused of drug trafficking conspiracy.  With conspiracy charges, you are still guilty whether you were at Space Mountain or in outer space.

Contact Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Bryant Scriven

A criminal defense lawyer can help you support your alibi with corroborating evidence or complement it with other defenses.  Contact Scriven Law in Tampa, Florida to schedule a consultation.



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