In high-tension situations, such as during a police interrogation or investigation, people feel pressured to talk, self-incriminate, or admit fault, Sometimes, because these situations are so intense, innocent people confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Our United States Supreme Court has found that the Fifth Amendment’s Right to Remain Silent protects the guilty and the innocent.

At The Bianchi Law Group, we encourage every New Jersey resident, and United States citizen to know that they are protected under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when interrogated by police or 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 or during police interrogation. 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 to understand how they are protected under the law. When the Fifth Amendment is invoked, criminal defendants , have the right not to answer questions during a police interrogation or provide testimony at their criminal trial. As such, the police can’t force you to answer questions, and the prosecutor of the case is not legally permitted to require that the defendant be called to the stand. This right can be helpful in many criminal cases.

When Should You Invoke the Right Against Self Incrimination and Take the Fifth?

  • When police arrest you and ask you questions that may incriminate you,
  • When you are read your Miranda Rights,
  • When talking to other people about the facts of your case, or
  • When another jailhouse inmate tries to get, you talk about your case’s facts.

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

Suppose you are being investigated for a crime or have been accused of any crime in New Jersey. In that case, it is essential to remember that you are protected under the Constitution no matter the circumstances. 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 not to treat your choice as an admission of guilt, or consider it 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 evidence against you.

What Happens If I Want To Testify At My Hearing?

As a criminal defendant, you are permitted to testify at your trial if you wish to do so. If you choose to testify at your trial, you have formally waived your Fifth Amendment right not to self-incriminate. After formally choosing to testify, you will first answer questions on direct examination from your lawyer. Next, 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. Understanding this complex section of the law can be challenging to achieve on your own. It is essential 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?

Invoking your right to remain silent during an investigation or criminal prosecution is always advisable.  It is often called Rule Number One of criminal defense. Nuances vary from case to case, and the facts and circumstances of your investigation or case will be essential to developing a strategy. You can discuss your case with one of our criminal defense attorneys, who are former prosecutors. 

How the Bianchi Law Group Can Help

At the Bianchi Law Group, our firm primarily focuses on cases related to Criminal Defense, Municipal Court Matters, and Domestic Violence. Our team of former prosecutors has prosecuted many criminal and domestic violence cases. 

Former Prosecutors and Trusted by the Media

The Bianchi Law Group partners Robert (Bob) Bianchi and David Bruno are former prosecutors who are certified along with only 250 other attorneys as certified criminal trial attorneys by the New Jersey Supreme Court. Bob Bianchi and David Bruno regularly appear as national legal analysts to comment and debate on major news networks such as Fox News, CNN, HLN, MSNBC, and Fox Business.

Contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss how we can potentially assist you with your upcoming case or investigation.