If there was a fight on my property and I was subpoenaed as a witness, can I exercise my right under the 5th amendment in this case?

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If there was a fight on my property and I was subpoenaed as a witness, can I exercise my right under the 5th amendment in this case?

Asked on May 24, 2015 under Criminal Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The 5th amendment right is a witnesses right to not *incriminate*--or say something showing that the witness committed a crime--him- or herself. So if by testifying, you'd put yourself at risk of procecution or conviction, you may avoid saying those things--and only those things--which would increase your personal risk of prosecution or conviction. You must testify as to everything else. And even where you can exercise your 5th amendment right, you have to do so in person--you'd have to appear, testify, and answer individual questions by "taking the 5th" as to those specific questions.


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