The Fifth Amendment is applied to Florida, and all the other States, through the Fourteenth Amendment. It protects a person from self-incrimination and is meant to “assure that an individual is not compelled to produce evidence which later may be used against him as an accused in a criminal action.” Maness v. Meyers, 419 U.S. 449, 461 (1975). A witness in a civil proceeding has the right to refuse to respond to a question on the grounds that his answer may tend to incriminate him. See Kastigar v. United States, 406 U.S. 441, 444-45 (1972). When a person invokes the privilege against self-incrimination, “it need only be evident from the implications of the question, in the setting in which it is asked, that a responsive answer to the question or an explanation of why it cannot be answered might be dangerous because injurious disclosure could result.” St. George v. State, 564 So. 2d 152, 155 (Fla. 5th DCA 1990). Therefore, a person can testify at a Jacksonville, Florida civil hearing or trial but refuse to answer certain questions by invoking the 5th amendment privilege. The person giving testimony must be careful not to waive his or her privilege by testifying as to the criminal matter and “opening the door” to the subject-matter.
Also read, Fifth Amendment’s Right Against Self-Incrimination Applies to Jacksonville Domestic Violence Injunction Hearings