"Self-incrimination" refers to any statements, testimony, or
information that exposes the speaker, or leads to other information that
may expose the speaker to the possibility of criminal prosecution.
Under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the government
may not require people to make self-incriminating statements that might
be used against them in a criminal proceeding. When an individual "Takes
the Fifth" during questioning by law enforcement, he or she is invoking
the Constitutional right against self-incrimination and asserting his
or her right to remain silent. This Constitutional protection applies
only to statements or testimony, not to physical evidence such as fingerprints,
DNA, hair, blood or urine samples.
If you or someone you know is being criminally investigated, consult with
an experienced criminal defense attorney before speaking to law enforcement.
Any self-incriminating statements provided to law enforcement can be used
as evidence during the trial, or other criminal proceedings.