In today’s episode Chuck talks about the first amendment and fifth amendment and how taking advantage of the first could give up your fifth amendment protections.
Hi folks. If you call a couple weeks ago or maybe a month ago I touched on a subject about being careful what you post on social media. Facebook I used as an example. If you’re the subject of an investigation or you’re a defendant or a plaintiff in a civil case you don’t want to be talking about your case first of all. You surely don’t want to be giving the other side anything that they can use against you.
That is what raised a bunch of red flags and got a lot of emails sent to me. These messages were basically well I have a first amendment right to say essentially what I want. Well you do, as long as you aren’t defaming somebody. In another video segment we will get into that. But yeah you can say whatever you want and post whatever you want, as long as it is for the most part your opinion or it is the truth. You can’t go out of your way to defame somebody and say that they are a bank robber when you know in fact they aren’t.
Regardless, you have a first amendment right. Okay, freedom of speech. I talked about the fifth amendment you have the right to remain silent. The right to an attorney in a criminal investigation. These two are distinctly different. You can say what you want on social media but your fifth amendment right is given up when you do that.
If you’ve gone ahead and talked about, let’s say you have criminal charges pending against you and you start talking about those pending criminal charges and what your side of the story is, that could be thrown in your face in a court room or by a detective, or whomever to be used against you.
So remember, your fifth amendment right is to keep your mouth closed. I suggest that you always ALWAYS do that when you become the subject of an investigation. I think you will pretty much know if you are. Or two, if you in fact do keep your mouth closed immediately ask for an attorney. But you don’t go on Facebook then and exercise your first amendment rights by talking about that, because you’ve now given up your fifth amendment rights. I hope that makes sense.
You can say what you want, but say what you want that is not going to come back and bite you in the rear end. That’s why social media has become such a big area of concern for me and every other lawyer in this country . It has become a tool of law enforcement, especially when it comes to people bragging about, believe it or not, robbing someone, scoring drugs, or how they stalked someone whether male or female. That can be used against you, you have no fifth amendment rights that protect you in that area.
The first and the fifth amendments are two different things. They are somewhat intertwined but you can give up your fifth amendment rights when your mouth opens. So it is always – number one rule – when you become the subject of an investigation, or you are involved in litigation, or you are a defendant in a criminal proceeding, or maybe you’re a witness in a criminal proceeding, keep your mouth closed! And surely don’t use social media as a place to voice your opinion on something. Because it will be thrown back in your face and it can be and will be used against you.