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The Privilege Against Self-Incrimination, Continued.

As we previously noted, the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America provides that no person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself or herself in any criminal case. For a period of time, this amendment was not applicable to the States--it was only applicable to the federal government. Slowly, the Supreme Court of the United States began to slowly incorporate the Bill of Rights (and the other amendments) to the States (though, not all have been incorporated).

However, Texas did not need the Supreme Court to incorporate it to the States. In fact, in all provisions of the Texas Constitution, there has been some form of the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. In article 1, section 10 of the Texas Constitution, it states that an accused "shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself."

The privilege against self-incrimination, a colloquial term used to refer to the Fifth Amendment, is applicable to all legal proceedings; regardless of whether they are civil, criminal, administrative, judicial, investigator, or even adjudicatory. But what does it really protect?

In general, the Fifth Amendment does not protect against all incriminating evidence. As history has shown, there is no greater piece of incriminating evidence as a person's own confession. Furthermore, history has shown, that there are few pieces of evidence that are more unreliable than a person's own confession. Thus, the main concern are those statement's by the accused that tend to inculpate himself or herself. This, however, does not mean that all statements by the accused are inadmissible. No, absolutely not, just those statements that violate the Fifth Amendment (those that show some sort of compulsion or improper, outside force that causes the person to confess).

If you have been charged with a crime, such as a violent crime, contact a Plano criminal defense lawyer today.