Jan 042016

One of the most common defenses raised in a Philadelphia criminal case is the alibi defense. It is often raised in murder, attempted murder, robbery, and assault cases. Criminal trial lawyers who handle murder cases often raise the alibi defense at trial.

What is the Alibi Defense?

An alibi defense shows that the defendant was physically not present at the specific location where the charged offense(s) occurred. The evidence must show that it was physically impossible for the defendant to have committed the crime because the defendant was somewhere else at the time of the crime. See generally, Commonwealth v. Mikell, (Pennsylvania Supreme Court, 1999).

When Can the Alibi Defense Be Raised?

The alibi defense can be raised upon motion or notice. Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure require a criminal defendant to provide sufficient notion of the intention to present the alibi defense. See PA Rule of Criminal Procedure 567, which lays out the requirements.

The notice must identify the location/place where the defendant was at the time the offense is alleged to have occurred. The notice must also list the names/addresses of any witnesses who will testify in support of the alibi defense.

Related: Pennsylvania Post Conviction Relief Act Petitions – Raising the Alibi Defense at Trial

How Do You Prove an Alibi?

Proving an alibi requires evidence such as video footage, pictures or witness testimony, including the defendant’s testimony if he/she takes the witnesses stand. However, there is no requirement for the defendant to present corroborating evidence. In some cases, the defendant’s testimony, alone, may be sufficient to prove an alibi defense.

Alibi Raised in a Philadelphia Murder Case – A Look at a Recent case

From a trial strategy standpoint, presenting testimony from credible witnesses, or better yet, video footage showing that the defendant was present elsewhere at the time of the crime, increases the chances of an acquittal. In one Philadelphia murder case, criminal lawyer David Nenner presented video surveillance showing that the client was physically in another part of the city when the alleged murder occurred. The jury found the client not guilty. The case was featured in multiple news articles. See How videos convinced a jury that Amin Speakes, after 2 years behind bars, was not guilty of murder, February 8, 2012.

Philadelphia Criminal Defense Law Firm – Murder Charges

Our criminal lawyers handle murder cases in Pennsylvania, primarily in the southeastern area of PA including Philadelphia County, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Chester County, and parts of the Lehigh Valley area (Scranton, Lackawanna County). For a free consultation, please call our offices at (215) 564-0644.

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