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Criminal Procedure

Privilege Against Self-Incrimination

Privilege Against Self-Incrimination

Examine the nuances of the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, beginning with an overview of the type of proceedings to which the privilege applies, moving to a discussion of the mechanics of the privilege and the requirements for the privilege to apply, and finishing up with the impact of waiver or promises of immunity on the privilege.


We often hear people jokingly refer to “pleading the Fifth.” This is, of course, a reference to the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination. While people often joke about the privilege, it has serious implications for anyone who communicates information to the government under legal compulsion. In this clip, we’ll talk about what those implications are.

The Fifth Amendment provides that: “No person shall… be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” A...