Fifth Amendment – Right to Remain Silent


There is perhaps nothing more frustrating for a defense attorney than finding out that your client has already given a statement to law enforcement.  Even the most intelligent people panic and waive their rights.  But by giving a statement to law enforcement, an accused really limits his options when later preparing for a defense.  The 5th Amendment of the US Constitution provides:

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 offense 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.

This right that we have to remain silent is also encompassed in the Miranda Rights which are read to a suspect upon a citizen’s his arrest.  However, this does not exclusively apply to suspects who are arrested, but to anyone who may divulge answers which may be used against him or her in any future prosecution.  The questions do not even have to come from law enforcement.  They can be at an administrative hearing, a deposition, or in a grand jury presentation.  TAKE THE FIFTH!

Many suspects speak to law enforcement because they believe that the State will be lenient on them if they confess.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Police officers do not have the authority to negotiate plea bargains.  They are only interested in gathering as much evidence as possible against you.  And there is nothing more pleasing to a prosecutor than seeing a videotaped confession of a defendant.  Do not waive your Miranda rights.  Invoke your right to counsel.  “I WANT A LAWYER!”

              If you have any other questions about the Fifth Amendment or any other constitutional rights contact the office…

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