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5th Amendment Rights

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution most commonly applies to criminal law with regard to the right against self-incrimination.  There are a few ways the right against self-incrimination apply in criminal law.

Miranda Warnings.  Most people are most familiar with the term “Miranda Rights.”  Indeed, Miranda Rights are squarely rooted in the Fifth Amendment.  However, what many people may not know is that these rights are only triggered in a very specific scenario, called “custodial interrogation.”  First, the person has to be “in custody.”  The standard for being “in custody” is that such an individual would not reasonable feel free to leave tantamount to being under arrest.  Secondly, the person must be in the custody of the government.  Being detained by one who is not a governmental actor does not trigger one’s Miranda Rights.  Finally, the governmental actor must be “interrogating” the subject.  “Interrogation” specifically means that the government agent is asking questions of the subject that are likely to elicit incriminating responses.  Therefore, when law enforcement subjects an individual to the very technical meaning of “custodial interrogation,” the individual must be made aware of his or her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination prior to answering any questions.

The Right to Remain Silent.  The Fifth Amendment provides that an individual has the right to remain silent at any stage of criminal investigation or prosecution without that silence being held against him or her.  As such, whether it is during the investigatory phase, or at trial, a suspect or defendant cannot be compelled to say anything due to their right to remain silent.

Other Fifth Amendment Protections.  There are additional Fifth Amendment protections that apply to criminal law, however, the above are the most common applications.  If you are charged with a criminal offense in the state of Colorado, contact experienced Denver criminal defense attorney Jacob E. Martinez today to discuss your case, as well as to see how your case may involve Fifth Amendment defenses.

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