Criminal Defense Lawyer in Florida: Understanding Self-Incrimination

Charged with a Crime in Tampa? Do Not Incriminate Yourself

The 5th Amendment of the Constitution holds that you have the right against self-incrimination. This means that you cannot be forced to answer questions or otherwise provide information about yourself that will likely result in your facing criminal prosecution. It is also this amendment that gives you “the right to remain silent.” 

It is possible you have even heard of people invoking this right by “pleading the fifth.” By pleading the 5th Amendment, they have invoked their right against self-incrimination. 

The 5th Amendment does not apply to DNA and fingerprint evidence. This type of evidence is considered to be non-testimonial and the right against self-incrimination only applies to communicative evidence.

If you've been arrested in Tampa, it is important you speak to a defense attorney right away. At Rodriguez & Williamson, PLLC, we've successfully represented clients and we can defend your rights, as well. Contact us either online or by calling 813-320-7500.

Why the Right against Self Incrimination is Important in Florida

The right against self-incrimination is a cornerstone of our justice system. There are several reasons for this. 

  • It limits the power of the government. Mere suspicion by the government of someone's guilt is not enough; the government must actually prove their guilt. 
  • No one can be forced to confess (which can happen even when someone is not actually guilty).

The main purpose of the right against self-incrimination is to protect both the innocent and the guilty from being subject to government overreach. 

Self-Incrimination Violations

The police are unable to force you to incriminate yourself. It was held in Malloy v. Hogan, 378 US 1 (1966) that “when determining if state officers properly obtained a confession, one must focus on whether the statements were made freely and voluntarily without any direct or implied promised or improper influence.” In other words, the right against self-incrimination applies to situations where there is an attempt to force you to give testimony that will likely be used against you in a criminal proceeding. It does not apply when you offer the information voluntarily.

One of the ways your right against self-incrimination may be violated is when the police arrest you but do not read you the Miranda rights. Part of the Miranda rights state that you have the right to remain silent and that if you do speak, anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. Failure to inform you of this right may render any statement you give to police inadmissible if you are subsequently charged with a crime. Also, if the police violate this right by using improper influence on you, it may be grounds to have any evidence obtained by virtue of that violation dismissed. 

How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Tampa Use Self Incrimination Violations?

A constitutional rights violation can be a powerful and effective basis for your defense when you have been charged with a crime. A skilled criminal defense attorney can use this violation to have charges dismissed, confessions tossed, and evidence excluded. This is why you should call Rodriguez & Williamson, PLLC today at 813-320-7500 for a Free.

Are you facing criminal charges in Tampa? Please Do Not Accuse Yourself in Public.

You have the right not to incriminate yourself, according to the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, and you cannot be forced to do so. This indicates that you cannot be coerced into answering questions or providing information about yourself in any other way that will likely result in you being prosecuted for a criminal offense. You also have the "right to remain silent" thanks to this amendment, which was included in the Constitution.


You may have even heard of people "pleading the fifth" in order to exercise this right. They have exercised their right not to incriminate themselves by relying on the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.


DNA and fingerprint evidence are exempt from the requirements of the 5th Amendment. This evidence is not considered testimony, and the privilege against self-incrimination only applies to evidence that can be communicated verbally or in writing.


In the event that you have been detained in Tampa, it is imperative that you contact a defense attorney as soon as possible. At Rodriguez & Williamson, PLLC, we have successfully defended our clients' rights on multiple occasions, and we can do the same for you. You can get in touch with us by calling 813-320-7500 or by contacting us online.


Why Florida Residents Should Protect Their Right to Refuse to Testify Against Themselves


Our legal system is built on the principle that individuals have the right not to incriminate themselves. This is due to several different factors.

  • It restricts the power that the government can exercise. It is not sufficient for the government to merely suspect someone of guilt; instead, the government must prove the individual's guilt.
  • Nobody can be coerced into making a confession (which can happen even when someone is not actually guilty).


The primary objective of the right not to incriminate oneself is to shield both the innocent and the guilty from being compelled to provide information that could be used against them by an overzealous government.

Violations of the Right Against Self-Incrimination

You are not required to give a statement to the police because they do not have the authority to do so. In the case of Malloy v. Hogan, which was decided in 1966 by the Supreme Court of the United States by a vote of 378 to 1, the court stated that "when determining if state officers properly obtained a confession, one must focus on whether the statements were made freely and voluntarily without any direct or implied promised or improper influence." In other words, situations where there is an attempt to force you to give testimony that will likely be used against you in a criminal proceeding fall under the purview of the right to avoid incriminating oneself, which protects you from having to give that testimony. If you provide the information voluntarily, it is irrelevant to this discussion.


When you are placed under arrest by the police but you are not given a copy of your Miranda rights, this is considered a violation of your right not to incriminate yourself. You have the right to remain silent; if you speak, anything you say can be used against you in a legal proceeding. However, if you choose to speak, anything you say can be used against you in a legal proceeding. In the event that you are subsequently charged with a crime, the fact that you were not informed of this right may render any statement you made to the police inadmissible as evidence. If the police violate this right by exerting improper influence on you, it may be grounds for having any evidence obtained due to that violation thrown out. Additionally, if this right is violated, it may be grounds for having any evidence dismissed.


How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Tampa Use Violations of the Right Against Self-Incrimination?

When you have been accused of committing a crime, using a violation of your constitutional rights as the basis for your defense can be a solid and effective basis for your defense. An experienced criminal defense attorney can use this violation to have charges dropped, confessions thrown out, and evidence excluded from consideration. Because of this, you should contact Rodriguez & Williamson, PLLC, at 813-320-7500 right now to receive a free consultation.

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