In some high-tension situations, such as after a heated argument, or a car accident, people feel pressured to self-incriminate, or admit fault, for whatever criminal act or accident may have occurred. Sometimes, because these situations are so intense, innocent people end up confessing to crimes they didn’t actually commit. This is only one instance in which the Fifth amendment was designed to protect people from self-incrimination.

At The Bianchi Law Group, we encourage every New Jersey resident, and every United States citizen, to know that they are protected under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution against being required to testify against themselves at trial. This right, called the right against self incrimination, is where we get the term “pleading the Fifth,” a reference to this landmark amendment that we leverage when declining to provide testimony before a judge. When someone “pleads the Fifth,” they are exercising their right not to speak.

New Jersey citizens should always be aware of their right against self incrimination in order to understand the ways in which they are protected under the law. When the Fifth amendment is invoked, criminal defendants, the accused persons, have the right to not provide testimony at their criminal trial. As such, the prosecutor of the case is not legally permitted to require that the defendant be called to the stand. This right can be useful in many criminal cases.

Can It Be Used Against Me In Court If I Choose Not To Testify Against Myself?

If you have been accused of any kind of crime in New Jersey, it is important to remember that you are protected under the Constitution no matter what the circumstances are. You are not required to self-incriminate under any circumstances, and have the right to remain silent. Therefore, as part of this Constitutional right, the jury is required to not treat your choice as an admission of guilt, or take it into consideration at all. With that being said, the jury is still permitted to assess the evidence of the case and form their own opinions about whether or not you are guilty, but the choice to invoke your Fifth amendment right cannot be used as a sort of evidence against you.

What Happens If I Want To Testify At My Own Hearing?

As a criminal defendant, you are, of course, permitted to testify at your own trial if you wish to do so. If you do choose to testify at your own trial, this means that you have formally waived your Fifth amendment right to not self-incriminate. After formally choosing to testify, you are required to answer the prosecutor’s questions and must undergo a cross-examination.

This section of Constitutional law is nuanced and can quickly seem complex depending on the circumstances that accompany your case. You are not required by law to hire a lawyer to defend your case, but understanding this complex section of law can be difficult to achieve on your own. It is incredibly important to consult with a criminal defense attorney and ask them any questions you have about self-incrimination in your New Jersey criminal defense case.

How Should I Know When To Exercise My Right To Remain Silent In A Criminal Defense Case?

No two criminal defense cases in New Jersey are the same. Nuances vary from case to case, and there’s no way to give one straight answer regarding what rights you should invoke during your case. The best way to know if you should, or should not, testify at your criminal case hearing is to schedule a free consultation with a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer. You can discuss your case with one of our criminal defense attorneys, who are former prosecutors, and begin to build a strong case for your defense together. Only a New Jersey criminal defense attorney can provide specific advice for your unique case regarding your right to remain silent.

Schedule A Free Consultation With The Bianchi Law Group If You Have Questions About Self Incrimination

Criminal charges in the state of New Jersey can be accompanied by penalties such as fines in the thousands of dollars or decades in prison. Without the guidance and advice of a tough, hard-working attorney, you run the risk of losing your life to a serious charge. If you have incriminated yourself and confessed to a crime you didn’t commit, or are unsure whether or not you should testify against yourself, contact our law firm right away.

At The Bianchi Law Group, we offer a free, no-obligation consultation to any New Jersey resident in this situation. The sooner you call our attorneys, the sooner we can help you with your criminal defense case.