Your Right Against Self-Incrimination: When Does It Apply?

By: Wallin & Klarich

We hear it all the time, “he took the 5th…she pled the 5th”. Your constitutional right against being forced to incriminate yourself follows you where ever you go! Whether you’re participating in a civil trial, a criminal trial, a juvenile matter or even an administrative hearing, you cannot be forced to testify or give a statement if doing so would tend to incriminate you.

The right applies to all citizens-even police officers, as was evidenced in an Orange County Court this week.

He’s already one of California’s highest paid public pensioners, and this week former Bell Police Chief Randy Adams asked a state pension panel to double his retirement pay to reflect the huge salary he received during his brief stint as the top cop in the scandal-plagued city.

If Adams wins his case, which is being heard in Orange County, his pension would zoom to $510,000 a year, making him the second-highest-paid public pensioner in California.

Adams took the witness stand Thursday, and he invoked his 5th Amendment right to not incriminate himself a whopping 20 times, including when asked about his Bell salary, which was among the highest law enforcement paychecks in the nation. He may not win his hearing on a pension increase, but Adams was wise to refuse to give testimony that may incriminate him and potentially lead to criminal charges like those 8 other members of Bell city government are facing.

This highlights another fact: There is no limit on the number of times you can assert your right to remain silent!

We all have rights and we must defend those rights. If you or your loved one had your rights violated, call Wallin & Klarich now at 888-280-6839. We have offices in San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange County. We will be there when you call.

Posted In: Criminal Defense