The “It Wasn’t Me” Defense in Florida
Next to claiming self-defense in the case of a homicide, there is probably no more familiar defense than the alibi defense. The alibi defense essentially claims that you were not present at the place and time the crime is alleged to have happened. The defense goes slightly farther than a simple “I did not do it” defense: instead, an alibi claims you could not have committed the crime because you were not present at the scene of the crime. If a witness is claiming he or she saw you at the scene of a crime, an alibi defense is essentially saying that the individual was mistaken or lying.
As you can see, an alibi defense can be quite powerful and can be used to defeat a wide variety of charges, including drug-related charges or homicide charges. Asserting the defense can be complicated, however, so it is wise to seek the assistance of a Florida criminal defense attorney when asserting an alibi defense.
You Must Notify the Prosecution About Your Alibi Defense
Florida requires that you notify the prosecution of your intention to assert an alibi defense and the witnesses you intend to use to establish your defense if the prosecution makes a formal request for this information. The prosecution is required to provide as much detail to you as possible regarding the alleged crime so that you can prepare your response. Information about whether you intend to present an alibi defense and the witnesses you will use to establish the defense must be given to the prosecution at least ten days before trial, or earlier if the court so directs.
It is important that your response be timely submitted and complete. If you fail to provide the required information to the prosecution within the time limits prescribed by law, the court can prohibit you from presenting any alibi defense (except for your own testimony). Moreover, if you leave a witness off of the list you give to the prosecution, the court can prohibit you from calling that witness at trial.
The Prosecution Must Reciprocate, and Both Parties’ Duty is Ongoing
Once you have made the requisite disclosures to the prosecution, the prosecution must inform you of what witnesses it intends to call to refute your alibi defense. If the prosecution fails to meet this obligation, then the prosecution would be prohibited from calling those witnesses at trial to refute your alibi defense.
Each party must keep the other party informed of any additional information or witnesses relevant to your alibi defense.
How a Miami Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
If you have been wrongly accused of a criminal offense in Florida and you have witnesses available who can testify truthfully that you were someplace other than the scene of the crime when the crime is alleged to have happened, contact experienced South Florida criminal defense lawyer Jeffrey S. Weiner for assistance. He can help ensure you follow Florida criminal procedure rules so that your alibi defense can be presented and properly supported through the testimony of your witnesses. Contact the Florida office of Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. today by calling (305) 670-9919.