What does the phrase "I plead the fifth" mean?

I hear a lot of people use that as an answer to questions. I have heard that this phrase has something to do with our Constitution, but I don't really know what it is. Basically, when some says "I plead the fifth", what is it that they are pleading?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Sorry, but I refuse to answer on the grounds that it might incriminate me.

  • 1 decade ago

    The Fifth Ammendment to the Constitution is in the Bill of Rights. Part of the Fifth is the right to not incriminate yourself. In court, somebody "pleading the 5th" is saying that they are not going to talk. Courts do not allow people to use the Fifth selectively. Either all questions must be answered with an appeal to the Fifth, or all the questions must be answered fully.

    The exact clause says:

    "nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,"

    Outside of court, people either mean they don't want to talk about something, or they misuse the phrase believing that it means "I don't know."

  • 1 decade ago

    The Fifth Amendment of The Constitution basically says you hold the right not to be a witness to yourself, so when you "plead the fifth" you are protecting yourself from self incrimination.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    OK, Ive thought about the same thing and what I can come up with sounds logicall enough, but on a basis that some might think as racial but its really not: I plead the fifth... well what is the fifith amendment? something about the right to bear arms I think and if thats the case then think about the weapons charges brought against many... what ever you wanna say racial sections of humans ( african american, latino... etc) so by pleading the fifth theyre saying that it's constitutionally correct to carry fire arms. By the way, these people saying " I plead the fifth" watch too much Dave Chappell! :) hope it helps, unless I have my amendments wrong.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The Fifth Ammendment, allows the accused to not incriminate theirselves. They don't have to tell the jury what illegal acts they commited. The proof must come from elsewhere.

    The accused, must not be compelled to put the noose over their own necks. They can refuse to testify, and plead the Fifth!

    I hope that helped!

  • 1 decade ago

    When someone tells you they "plead the fifth" they are telling you that they are using their Constitutional right not to say anything that may incriminate themselves.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    That if they answer they are incriminating themself. Lets say you & friends broke into a store. Two of your friends get into a fight while in the store & one gets a broken nose. This person then sues for the medical bills & calls you as a witness to the fight. By you answering questions, you are saying that you are one of the people who broke into the store. So you would plead the 5th

  • 1 decade ago

    the fifth amendment to the constitution says that you do not have to attest to any information asked of you that could or will incriminate you.

    i.e., in a court of law, when you are testifying to certain events of which you have personal knowledge, then you are questioned of an event whereby if you answered it, you could jeopardize your liberty by going to jail, you say, "i plead the fifth."

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It means you plead the fifth ammendment. When being called to testify in a trial or a court of law, you can "plead the fifth", which means you can refuse to speak or to testify against someone.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yuor fifth amendment right to not incriminate yourself. Yuo don't have to say anything when questioned by the police, other than identify yourself. In court, you don't have to take the witness stand against yourself. But you can't take the stand FOR yourself, either.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution protects people from having to testify against themselves. Basically, it allows you to refuse to answer questions...probably won't help you look innocent, though.

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