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What Is an Alibi Defense?

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When facing criminal charges, there are multiple defenses that a person may invoke to defend himself or herself. One common defense is an alibi, or type of defense that alleges that someone accused of a crime was somewhere else at the time of the incident.

If you are facing criminal charges, providing an alibi can help prove your innocence. However, you will need to gather strong evidence that establishes your whereabouts at the time of the alleged crime. In these situations, it is critical to consult with a Washington criminal defense lawyer about your case.

How to Prove an Alibi Defense

To invoke an alibi defense, you must provide evidence that shows that you were not at the scene of the crime when the incident occurred. As a result, you could not have been the person who committed the crime and are therefore innocent. 

For example, say that you are arrested and charged with breaking and entering a business at 11:00 pm on a Saturday night. However, you and your significant other were out of town visiting family at the time of the incident.

You can use multiple pieces of evidence to establish your alibi and prove your innocence. For example, family members can testify about your whereabouts on your behalf. Security footage from the hotel that you were staying at, time-stamped receipts from restaurants or gas stations, and even geolocation data from electronic devices can also establish your alibi defense.

How an Alibi Defense Affects a Criminal Case

To convict someone of a crime in Washington, the prosecutor must prove that a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This burden of proof means that the jury must believe that the defendant is guilty and do not have sufficient doubt to acquit the defendant. In addition to establishing the defendant’s whereabouts, the prosecutor must also show that the defendant committed a criminal act. 

By raising doubt about your whereabouts at the time of the alleged crime, an alibi defense can be a powerful tool during a criminal trial. The prosecutor still has a requirement to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If your alibi is strong, this evidence may be enough to achieve a not guilty verdict.

However, some alibis are not very strong or rely on unverifiable or untrustworthy evidence. If a jury does not believe an alibi, the prosecutor still has an opportunity to prove all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. As a result, the jury may issue a guilty verdict despite the presence of an alibi.

Build a Strong Alibi Defense with a Washington Defense Attorney

An alibi defense can be powerful enough to convince a jury to issue a not guilty verdict or have the court drop criminal charges altogether. However, building a strong case that clearly establishes an alibi can be challenging without an attorney on your side.

If you are facing criminal charges in Washington state, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can conduct a full investigation into the alleged crime, gather the evidence necessary to prove your alibi, and identify your optimal path to the best possible outcome.

As soon as possible following the arrest, contact a Washington criminal defense lawyer to discuss your case and strategize your next steps.

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