self-incrimination, privilege against - Legal Definition
Webster's New World Law Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.
A privilege granted by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which bars the federal government from forcing a criminal defendant to give testimony against him- or herself. Through the due process clause of Fourteenth Amendment, this privilege has become applicable to state proceedings, whether criminal or civil, and is often referred to simply as, “pleading the Fifth.” The rule does not apply to self-incrimination by non-testimonial means; therefore, the individual is not protected against fingerprinting or DNA evidence being compelled.
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