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The Right Not To Testify At Trial

Posted By Criminal Law Standard || 1-Sep-2010


    The 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides the right against self-incrimination.  This means that at trial, the person charged with a crime (the defendant) has the right not to testify.  Furthermore,  jurors are instructed, that if the defendant chooses not to testify at trial, the jury cannot hold it against him. 

    Typically, a juror's natural inclination is to assume the defendant has something to hide if he chooses not to testify.  Therefore, in trials where the defendant may not testify, it is critical that the defense attorney make certain jurors understand, among other things, that the defendant has no obligation to testify at trial, and they may not hold the defendant's decision not to testify against him.

    It takes a seasoned criminal defense attorney to persuade the jury to follow the law regarding the defendant's right not to testify.  Dallas criminal attorney Tom D'Amore has practiced criminal law for over 23 years, and has tried more than 400 criminal jury trials including cases where defendants were charged with capital murder, drug possession, prostitution, aggravated assault, and driving while intoxicated.  

    There are many reasons why a defendant may choose not to testify at trial.  In many cases, the decision as to whether or not to testify is the most important strategy decision in the case.  Although the defendant's criminal defense attorney will give advice to the defendant with respect to whether or not he should testify, the defendant makes the final decision on the issue.

    Being charged with a crime is a serious matter.  Choosing the right criminal defense attorney to represent you may be one of the most important decisions you make in your life.  If you would like to schedule a free case evaluation meeting with Dallas criminal defense attorney Tom D'Amore, please contact the D'Amore Law Firm

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