Why the 5th Amendment Is Important Today

Why the 5th Amendment Is Important Today

(Daily360.com) – Anyone who has watched enough episodes of Law and Order or any other courtroom drama has likely heard someone “plead the fifth.” Likewise, if you’re a fan of cop shows like Chicago PD, you probably have the Miranda warning memorized by now. You know the routine. The cops take a suspect into custody, telling them that they have “the right to remain silent…”

In both instances, the narrative refers to rights enshrined for all Americans by the US Constitution’s 5th Amendment. You may already know about pleading the fifth, but the Founding Fathers included several protections in the amendment.

Your 5 Rights Under the 5th Amendment

Enacted in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights, the 5th Amendment sets out procedural shields protecting the rights of individuals accused of committing crimes. Similar in scope to the 14th Amendment, it preserves citizens’ rights to secure their lives, liberty, and property from undue government intrusion.

Constitutional scholars, judges, and lawyers break the 5th Amendment down into five related, yet separate, protections:

  1. Grand jury: All defendants have a right to consideration by a grand jury before indictment for any felony charges.
  2. Double jeopardy: Criminal defendants cannot be charged and tried for the same crime twice.
  3. Self-incrimination: Suspects and defendants cannot be forced to implicate themselves in criminal conduct.
  4. Fair trial: Anyone accused of committing a crime has the right to due process during criminal hearings.
  5. Private property: The government cannot seize personal property without providing fair-market-value compensation.

Initially, the 5th Amendment only applied to the federal court system. However, the Supreme Court applied some of its rights to the individual states using the 14 Amendment’s “due process clause.” The rights granted at the state level include those concerning double-jeopardy, self-incrimination, and private property seizures.

All Americans need to familiarize themselves with all their rights under the Constitution. As the old saying goes, “Knowledge is power!”

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