The Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment

Fifth Amendment

What is the protection against self-incrimination?

This Fifth Amendment-based freedom means that the government cannot force an individual to the prosecution against him or her. In other words, it means that the government cannot force persons to incriminate themselves. A person can say “I take the Fifth,” and the government cannot compel him or her to speak. We often think of the Fifth Amendment when someone takes the stand and a prosecutor asks them a question to which he or she responds: “I take the Fifth.” But, the Fifth Amendment also applies when a person is subject to police interrogation and questioning.


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