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Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyerWhen a suspect is arrested, they are informed of their “right to remain silent.” What does this right really mean, though? When does it apply, and are there any exceptions? Sadly, most American citizens do not know, or they have misconceptions that lead to accidental incrimination. The following information can help you better understand your Fifth Amendment right, and know when you should exercise it to its fullest extent.

Why We Have the Fifth Amendment

Like all rights granted by the Constitution, the Fifth Amendment right is meant to protect citizens in the face of a corrupt government. This does not mean that our government is, in fact, corrupt. It simply means that, should you face a corrupt officer, judge, or other legal entity, your rights can help protect you from wrongful imprisonment and/or wrongful due process.

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Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, Wisconsin criminal lawWhen Wisconsin or the federal government is investigating you or someone else, and they need information in your possession, they may offer you a certain form of immunity in exchange for your testimony. In the area of criminal law, there are two types of immunity that are generally available: use immunity and transactional immunity. Depending on the type of immunity you are offered, you will have different forms of protection.

 Generally, transactional immunity is favored because it provides the most protection—a total ban on using the witness’s testimony against the witness. But, use immunity serves a different purpose. It allows the witness to give information to the prosecution and bars them from using those statements against the witness in the future.

Understanding the Difference

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Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, criminal justice systemThrough each stage of the criminal justice system you have rights that must be protected. The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution grant you many rights, including the right to an attorney in most stages of criminal proceedings. These rights ensure that your trial is fair and that you do not unjustly get sent to prison. However, some of your rights, including the right to an attorney, can be waived.

Each year numerous people are arrested in the United States and are charged with drug violations. To be sure, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2007, estimated that 14 million individuals were arrested across the United States, and approximately 1,800,000 of those individuals were arrested for drug violations. In Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, approximately 340,000 individuals were arrested in 2012, and an estimated 27,000 of those arrests were related to drugs.

Miranda Rights

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