What's Your Alibi? Two Sources to Track Where and When

Law Blog

If you've been accused of a criminal act that you didn't commit, don't underestimate your accusers. It could be an honest misunderstanding from overzealous people in distress, or you could be dealing with someone crafty enough to set you up for failure. Don't say or do anything incriminating, but as you get in contact with a criminal defence lawyer, start thinking of a couple of ways to track down your time and location to put you safely away from the scene of the crime.

Purchases and Other Money Transactions

Always keep your receipts—unless you have something to hide. When you buy something from a store, there are a few ways to track down your location and put a date on your activities that could make or break your defence.

At the most basic level, a receipt will have a time and date listed. Police should be able to find that information from the cash register if you use a store as an alibi, but technical malfunctions or negligence (willful or otherwise) can leave you with no proof if you don't have a receipt.

If you threw away the receipt, there's still a chance to prove yourself. If you used a credit or debit card, your bank or the card company should be able to track down the purchase to the store location, plus the time you were there and the amount of money you spent. There's no similar tracking associated with using cash, but a card can attest to your innocence just as well (or even better) than a receipt.

On the subject of purchases, keep in mind that many stores have video surveillance. Unfortunately, some cameras may be broken or simply not recording. If there's no recorded evidence that could provide an alibi for you, a criminal defence lawyer can hire investigators to search the area for other possible cameras or witnesses who could support your innocence. 

Internet Activity Has Limited Locating Ability

Unless you're using sophisticated technique to fake your location, such as a proxy server, any Internet usage can be tied to place and time. 

When you use the Internet, your computer's information goes through a series of devices that belong to your Internet service provider (ISP). You're not just dealing with a single record that says you've used the Internet from your house or at work; hundreds or even thousands of network devices are used to perform all kinds of tasks with your data in a matter of seconds.

Only a few of the devices can retrieve your time and date efficiently, but it's very unlikely that your information is lost. Any number of IP traceback techniques can be used to figure out where your data is coming from and when it was happening. ISPs can even figure out what you were doing as long as they have proper legal permission from you or the court system.

If you were using a public computer or a mobile device, proving that you were the person using the device is difficult. You'll need information such as personal login information, frequented websites with your personal information, or other pieces of evidence that can support your innocence. Even then, unless you were recording yourself or taking pictures, the information isn't always a perfect defence.

That doesn't mean the information is useless. Don't assume anything about the information you have. Instead, contact a criminal defence lawyer, give them what information you have, and answer their questions before speaking to any law enforcement professionals to maintain your innocence.


2 July 2015

How to Gain Guardianship Over a Child

The laws governing child custody and guardianship can be confusing. As a family attorney, I have helped many clients gain legal guardianship over a foster child or a relative's child. Getting legal guardianship of a child you are caring for is important because you need to be able to make decisions about that child's education, health care and other matters. This blog will help you navigate the world of legal guardianship and show you how to take steps to get guardianship over a child whether the child's parents are cooperative or not. Legal guardianship does matter even if a child is not going to be adopted. I hope to help people find the way to get this done.