The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states that you have the right to refuse to answer questions, or make statements that could incriminate you in a court of law. This means you can refuse to answer questions put to you by the police, and you cannot be forced to testify as a defendant in court. Witnesses in a trial may be legally compelled to take the stand, but do not have to give such testimony. Furthermore, a jury is not allowed to take your refusal to appear or testify into account when determining a verdict.
However, there are circumstances when you cannot “plead the fifth.” If you agree to take the stand in a trial of your own free will, you waive your Fifth Amendment rights and cannot choose to answer some questions, but not others. You also cannot refuse to give evidence such as blood, fingerprints, or DNA, since the Fifth Amendment only applies to verbal testimony.
If you need a lawyer who can help you understand these important rights, contact Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Gabriel L. Grasso for the best legal representation in Las Vegas.