Invoking the Fifth

Invoking the Fifth

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees that an individual cannot be compelled by government to provide incriminating information about oneself, which means you have the right to remain silent. By invoking that right, you have the right to refuse to answer questions or provide information that might incriminate you.

With that said, you can only invoke the Fifth Amendment in certain situations, for example during a trial. The government cannot force you to testify against yourself.

If you are the driver in a motor vehicle in Massachusetts and are pulled over, you cannot invoke the Fifth if asked by the officer to identify yourself.  You must identify yourself if asked by the police, or you can be charged with a crime.

In addition, if an officer asks for your license and registration once you’ve been pulled over, you must provide that information. After that, you have no obligation to say another word, and certainly if an officer asks to search your vehicle, you do not have to consent.

If you have questions or concerns about your Fifth Amendment rights, call the law offices of Johnson Sclafani & Moriarty at 413-732-8356.