How to Protect Yourself against Self Incrimination

Posted by Danny Katz on March 10, 2015

Do you know your rights under the Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights? Well, for those who don’t, your Fifth Amendment rights include your right against self-incrimination. It is a very important to know your rights included the Bill of Rights so that you may handle your encounters (if you unfortunately have one) with law enforcement appropriately.

Amendment V:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Have you ever heard the phase, “I Plead the Fifth”? That phrase is often used in the context of someone refusing to speak because doing so will prove incriminating. At times, law enforcement or the prosecution may try to convince you to give them information that will only help them build a case against you. Do NOT do this. You are not obligated to give the police or the court any information that will jeopardize your case.

Exercise your right to “Plead the Fifth”. If you find yourself in a sticky situation, tell the authorities that you want a lawyer. By law, they are obligated to stop all questioning until a lawyer is present. If they continue to question you, they cannot use anything you say against you in the court of law. Your request must be unambiguous, and I recommend the language “I have nothing further to say. I would like to speak to my attorney at once, and would like to contact him/her immediately”.

Knowing your rights does not make you a criminal, but surrendering your rights could make you a victim. If you need a lawyer, contact me. I am more than willing to take your case, educate you on your rights, and make sure your rights are not being violated. Remember, this Katz, got your back!