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The Fifth Amendment: Protection From Unfair Prosecution

The Fifth Amendment: Protection From Unfair Prosecution

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The Fifth Amendment is one of the most important parts of the U.S. Constitution. It was established to protect people who have been accused of some crime. Everyone has rights – whether guilty or innocent.

The text of the amendment reads:

“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 offense 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.”

Right to Jury

The Fifth Amendment is divided into four parts. The first part requires that no person can be charged with a crime unless a grand jury decides there is enough evidence. This is to make sure some government official doesn’t abuse his or her power to go after people they don’t like for no legal reason.

Double Jeopardy

The Fifth Amendment also protects a citizen from Double Jeopardy, which happens when the government arrests and tries to convict a person for the same crime more than once. If a person is arrested for a crime and acquitted – that is, found not guilty – the government can’t arrest this person again and try to charge them for the same crime. This section is designed to prevent the government from continuing to harass and target a citizen if they have been found “not guilty” of an illegal act.


The third section involves self-incrimination. In the United States justice system, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty and it is the state’s responsibility to prove guilt.

This part of the Fifth Amendment allows the accused to avoid answering questions that might it look as if they’re guilty – whether they are or not. Average citizens do not have the same legal training and experience as attorneys and could fall into a trap.

Right to Due Process

This section protects a suspect’s right to due process. It prevents the government from taking life, liberty, or property from citizens without following a specific set of rules to protect the suspect’s rights.

The Fifth Amendment exists to ensure that members of the government do not abuse their power. Without these types of safeguards, it would be easy for those in power to bully anyone they dislike or disagree with through the power of prosecution.

Race Relations & Media Affairs Correspondent at and A self-confessed news and political junkie, Jeff’s writing has been featured in Small Business Trends, Business2Community, and The Huffington Post. Born in Southern California and having experienced the 1992 L.A. Riots up close and personal, Jeff’s insights are informed by his experiences as a black man and a conservative.

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