The Difference Between A SODDI Defense And A TODDI Defense

Criminal defense law sometimes has a language all its own. Two terms that you might hear in any criminal courtroom include the "SODDI defense" and the closely-related "TODDI defense." If you've been charged with any kind of crime, here's more information about what these defenses entail and when they're appropriate to use.

What Is a SODDI defense?

"SODDI" stands for "some other dude did it." Essentially, it's the defense you can use when you have no real idea who committed the crime -- but it wasn't you. 

In many criminal cases, it's debatable whether or not a crime even occurred. For example, a shoplifting charge requires an actual intention to steal -- so if you accidentally walk out of a store without paying for something, your defense attorney can argue that no crime was actually committed in the first place. In a SODDI defense, there's no question that a crime was committed, but you are asserting the idea that the police have arrested the wrong person.

When is a SODDI defense appropriate? Usually, it tends to come up in cases of mistaken identity. For example, you might assert a SODDI defense when:

  • You are accused of robbing a convenience store based on eyewitness accounts alone.
  • Witnesses incorrectly identified you as the person who seriously injured another patron in a bar fight.
  • You were at a hotel party when it was raided by the police, who found drugs and drug paraphernalia -- and one of the other party-goers incorrectly claims the items were yours.

In other words, any situation where you know someone else is responsible for the crime -- but cannot authoritatively say who that other person is -- could give rise to a SODDI defense.

What Is a TODDI defense?

The TODDI defense is closely related to the SODDI defense, but "TODDI" stands for "the other dude did it." It's the defense you can assert when you can clearly identify the other party that should be on trial for the crime in your place. For example:

  1. Your roommate was dealing drugs out of your dorm room. When university officials let the police perform a search, the drugs were found hidden underneath your mini-fridge, so you were charged instead of your roommate.
  2. You borrowed a car from a friend to run some errands. Your friend neglected to tell you that he had illegal firearms on the floor in front of the backseat and you didn't notice -- but the officer who pulled you over for a traffic stop did.

In both those cases (and many others) you would be able to logically assert the idea that someone else is the real culprit -- and that the prosecution is just willfully ignoring the evidence that it isn't you.

What Else Should You Know?

While the terms "SODDI" and "TODDI" aren't really legal vernacular, they are real defense strategies -- but both of them rely heavily on a defendant's credibility. It's important to understand that you need to remain consistent and clear about your innocence. In many cases, it's wise to testify on your own behalf (even if that means implicating someone else you know for the crime). 

As always, you need to remember that no two criminal cases are alike. Don't assume anything about your own case until you've spoken with a criminal defense attorney