09/6/17 The Difference between Excuse, Justification, and Alibi

The Difference between Excuse Justification and Alibi

In criminal law, these terms are distinguished. We consider duress, for example, a valid excuse for most crimes (as if to say, “You did wrong, but it wasn’t your fault”). We consider self-defense a legitimate justification (as if to say, “What you did wasn’t wrong under the circumstances because it avoided a greater harm”). An alibi is not an excuse or a justification, and it is not just any defense. It is specifically a defense that the accused was somewhere else when the crime occurred.