The Fifth Amendment:
The Fifth Amendment was written to keep the government from prying into people’s personal lives. This provision protects people from unreasonable invasion of privacy and confiscation of private property by protecting citizens from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures.
We have all heard the phrase “I plead the fifth.” The Fifth Amendment has a broad scope that protects a citizen from the abuse of power that may occur at the hands of the justice system.
Let us look at what these protections entail:
1) Self-incrimination: A citizen cannot be forced to tell the court things that could get him thrown into jail. One can “Plead the Fifth” in a court of law so as not to answer specific questions that may self- incriminate.
2) The Grand Jury: Before a person can be formally charged for a serious crime a grand jury must first hear the evidence and agree that an actual crime most likely took place.
3) Cannot Be Tried Twice: Once a person has been found innocent or guilty, he cannot be tried for the same crime a second time.
4) Forced Confession: A person cannot be forced to confess to a crime. He may volunteer the information in a plea deal, or confess it just to clear his conscience, but he cannot be forced.
5) Due Process: This powerful protection prevents the government from taking an American’s life, liberty, or property without a hearing, known as “due process of law.”
6) Property Rights: The government may not take private property without giving the owner fair payment or compensation. This kind of government “taking” is called exercising “eminent domain.” It may not take place except to benefit the general public, and with fair compensation.
The Fifth Amendment reads as follows
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except :in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.