Anthony M. Salerno

Attorney At Law

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Anthony M. Salerno

Attorney At Law

Protect your right against self-incrimination

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2020 | Criminal Defense

One of the best things about living in the U.S. is that you have certain rights that you maintain at all times regardless of the situation. This includes rights you retain even when under arrest or accused of a crime in Massachusetts. In fact, during a time like this, your rights become even more important because they can protect you in many ways. 

One important right that you need to be aware of is your right against self-incrimination. The Legal Information Institute explains that this is the right to not have to expose details about your involvement in a crime that could lead to your prosecution for that crime. 

Where it comes from 

This right comes from the U.S. Constitution. It is in the Fifth Amendment, which says you do not have to testify against yourself and that nobody can make you do so. Essentially, it is the right to not provide evidence that the prosecution can use in court to prove its case against you. 

How it happens 

Sometimes, you may voluntarily incriminate yourself. This is most likely to happen when you are first under arrest and the officer starts asking your questions. Be aware that you do not have to answer questions as that is another right: the right to remain silent. You may wish to not answer questions because of the risk of self-incrimination. 

It can also happen by coercion or force. During an interrogation, law enforcement may use tactics to try to get you to answer questions or provide information that will help the prosecution build a case against you. Officers may even try to make promises to get you to talk. 

Typically, if you make statements to law enforcement voluntarily, the prosecution may use those statements against you. However, if you were not aware of your rights upon arrest or detention by officers, then the prosecution cannot use any statements you make against you in court.