The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects individuals from being compelled to incriminate themselves in a criminal case. This means that a person cannot be forced to testify against themselves in court, and it also extends to other situations where self-incrimination might occur, such as during police interrogation. It's commonly referred to as the right against self-incrimination or the right to remain silent.


For an incriminating statement to be admissible at a criminal trial, it must meet certain legal standards. Here are some factors that determine admissibility:


  1. Voluntariness: The statement must be given voluntarily, without coercion, duress, or undue influence. If the statement is obtained through coercion or threats, it may be deemed involuntary and therefore inadmissible.

  2. Miranda Rights: If the statement was made during custodial interrogation, the defendant must have been informed of their Miranda rights (the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, etc.). If the defendant was not properly advised of these rights and waived them, any statements they make may be excluded from trial.

  3. Waiver of Rights: The defendant must have knowingly and voluntarily waived their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and other applicable rights before making the statement.

  4. Understanding: The defendant must have had a sufficient understanding of the nature of their statement and the consequences of making it. If the defendant was mentally incapacitated, intoxicated, or otherwise unable to understand the implications of their statement, it may be deemed inadmissible.

  5. Relevance: The statement must be relevant to the case at hand. Irrelevant or extraneous statements may be excluded from trial.

  6. Hearsay: If the statement is considered hearsay (an out-of-court statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted), it may be subject to exclusion unless it falls within a recognized exception to the hearsay rule.


Ultimately, admissibility of incriminating statements is determined by the judge based on the circumstances surrounding the statement and its compliance with legal standards.


Copyright © Stephen D. Hebert, LLC | 700 Camp Street, Suite 216, New Orleans, LA 70130 | Disclaimer