MA Alibi Defense
Picture of clock taken by bortescristian
Where were you at 10:55 a.m.?
An alibi defense is one of the classic defenses to a criminal case. In an alibi case, you would put forth evidence that you were not at the crime of the scene. Essentially, you would have witnesses testify that you were somewhere else when the crime occurred. The argument is that because you were somewhere else, there is no way you could have committed the crime. If the jury accepts your alibi defense then you should be found not guilty.
You can call any witness as an alibi. Your alibi witness could be a family member or a friend that you were with at the time of the crime. Also, your alibi witness does not need to be someone you know. An alibi witness could be a security guard who saw you leave the building at a certain time or a waitress that can say you were eating dinner when the crime occurred.
In Massachusetts, if you are going to use an alibi defense, you must give the prosecution notice. The prosecution needs to be given notice of your alibi defense prior to trial. To give proper notice of an alibi defense, you must supply names of the alibi witness. The court may also order you to provide the date of birth, address, and phone number of your alibi witness. The prosecution may run criminal records on your alibi witness to see if they have been convicted of a crime. If your alibi witness has been convicted of certain crimes, the prosecution may be able to impeach his or her credibility based on the conviction.
The state of Massachusetts which is represented by the prosecutor has the burden of proving a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden on the state does not shift to you even if you are using an alibi defense. It is important that you understand the burden is on the state and remains with the state to prove their case. The judge in your case will instruct the jury to let them know that the burden is on the state. An alibi defense used correctly and in the right situation can be a powerful tool in your case.