Even if you have never been in trouble with the law before, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “pleading the fifth.” This essentially means that a person is invoking his right to remain silent. This right is spelled out in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and it essentially means that Americans have the right to not answer questions while in police custody or in the courtroom, especially when answering those questions leads to an admission of guilt and self-incriminates that individual.
Miranda v. Arizona
In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case called Miranda v. Arizona, where the court determined that police must inform potential suspects they have the right to answer questions, or any confession that may be used at trial. The Fifth Amendment provides additional protection for suspects in that they don’t have to offer information during questioning or interrogation, but it does not protect a suspect from refusing to submit to the following:
- Blood test
- DNA test
It’s highly possible that a suspect offers information unintentionally and in doing so self-incriminates himself. A criminal defense attorney who gets to know his client and the circumstances can file motions to suppress that evidence. If successful, any statement made while in police custody is removed from the evidence presented in court. A motion to suppress may also be filed when the police failed to read the defendant his Miranda Rights before subjecting him to questioning.
Self-incrimination is just one of many reasons why a person needs a Chicago criminal lawyer. Contact us today if you have been charged with a crime and believe your Fifth Amendment rights were violated.