If law enforcement officers or state prosecutors have attempted to connect you to a criminal act, having a strong alibi that shows you were not present or available at the time of the crime can prevent the state from bringing charges against you. Even if they do charge you, an alibi can play a significant role in your criminal defense.
There is a lot of misinformation floating around out there about alibis. For example, given the way people discussed them on police procedural TV shows, some people mistakenly believe that their spouse or other family members cannot serve as an alibi. Family members can and do serve as an alibi, as an alibi is anyone who can truthfully testify to your location and verify that you were not capable of committing a crime because you were elsewhere at the time.
What must you do if you intend to use an alibi as part of your defense?
As previously noted, you can use family, friends or even total strangers as the basis of defensive strategy built around an alibi. However, you cannot simply show up in the Georgia criminal courts and announce that you have an alibi as part of your defense.
Although circumstances can change and witnesses that were previously silent can come forward unexpectedly, in most situations, you have an obligation to provide the prosecutor with information about your alibi prior to court under Georgia law.
If the prosecutor demands alibi information, you have ten days from that demand to make your alibi information accessible to the prosecutor. Otherwise, you generally need to provide the information regarding your alibi to the prosecutor’s office by ten days prior to your court date.
Planning ahead will help ensure that you meet all reporting and paperwork done lines required by your current defense strategy.