Can I call the DA to let them know I am pleading the 5th if my testimony might implicate me?

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Can I call the DA to let them know I am pleading the 5th if my testimony might implicate me?

My roommate had a fight. I am in a scooter chair and he was arrested on a weapons charge. I told the DA the next day it was also my fault because of drinking. I told them I am loosing my mom,  and that my roommate should not been arrested. It was my cane which he flung on the couch I was on. Now a new DA has taken the case and wants me to testify against him. This not the original DA I spoke with. Now this new DA wants to summon me to court. I want to plead the 5th amendment because it will implicate myself.

Asked on August 7, 2011 Massachusetts

Answers:

Stan Helinski / McKinley Law Group

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I would have absolutely no contact with the DA's office at all.  I would ask what court/county you're out of and what DA's office you're dealing with.  I would also want to know to what extent you're involved with the weapon's charge and the nature of a weapon (is it the cane?) and what you said on the 911 call, which is crucial to determining whether you should even take the 5th (they may enter the 911 call without you under some new Mass case law).  If the weapon wasn't a can (and was a gun perhaps), you really need to speak with a lawyer--which you should really do anyway.  If you can't afford to hire a lawyer, go to the court, ask to speak with a public defender and explain the circumstances to the public defender. You can then be appointed counsel to represent you over the 5th amend issue if you want to assert it.  If the 911 tape is going to be admitted without you testifying, you may want to testify to clarify the recording.  sd

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You need to consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately regarding the situation that you are in so that your Constitutional Rights are safeguarded.

I recommend that you do not initiate any contact with the district attorney's office until you consult with a criminal defense attorney. Although you are not charged with a criminal act (your roommate is), depending upon your original statement to law enforcement soon after the incident for which the criminal charges were filed against your roommate and what you might or might not testify in court, you could be subject to criminal charges for a false police report.

If your concern is that you might incriminate yourself by testifying in court, have your retained criminal defense attorney work out an "immunity agreement" with the prosecution where all of your statements about the incident, in and outside of court would bar any criminal action against you in the future.

Better yet, the "immunity agreement" should state that no criminal charges would be brought against you concerning the arrest of your roommate in exchange for your cooperation.

Good luck.

 

 


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