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Why would an innocent person plead the Fifth?

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

There are certain constitutional rights that should not be overlooked in criminal cases, and one of these is the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Often, pleading the Fifth is portrayed by the media, law enforcement and the prosecution as an indication of guilt. However, this is not the case.

Pleading the Fifth is one of the most fundamental steps in protecting your legal rights, and this includes if you are innocent. Why would an innocent person plead the Fifth rather than protest their innocence?

How investigations are conducted

On the surface, police officers conduct criminal investigations to get to the truth. However, in reality, this goes against human nature. Due to confirmation bias, humans tend to look for evidence that supports their beliefs or claims rather than evidence to the contrary.

From a criminal law perspective, this means that if law enforcement have identified you as a suspect, they will be looking for evidence to back up their suspicions. Your statements and utterances can be used as evidence in court, and they will not necessarily go in your favor.

Being caught in a lie

You may decide to speak up and protest your innocence with police officers. For example, there is no way you could have committed the offense in question because you were working late that evening.

Nonetheless, when law enforcement checked your company’s attendance records, you were not there. You mixed up your dates for just one day. The trouble with making an innocent mistake like this is that it can be portrayed as a lie. This alleged lie can be the beginning of attempts to bring your character into the question in front of a judge and jury.

When facing criminal charges, it is best to seek legal guidance before making any statements.