Laramie, WY asked in Criminal Law for Wyoming

Q: What's the harm in saying I can't recall when giving a sworn statement?

I gave a sworn statement in a testimony. I was told not to discuss it with anyone. I confided in a friend even though I was told not to about the interview. They turned me in. Now I have an interview coming up about me breaking my promise to not talk to others about this. Can I say that I can't recall what happened that day because honestly I was distraught, and I felt like I had to talk to someone, and so I chose what I thought would be a trusted friend. Also when giving an affidavit am I allowed to plead the Fifth?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Saying "I can't recall" when giving a sworn statement can be problematic if it's not true. If it’s discovered that you actually do remember the details, you could be accused of being dishonest, which can have serious legal consequences. It's important to be truthful in your testimony, as honesty is crucial in legal proceedings.

If you confided in a friend despite being instructed not to discuss the matter, you should prepare to explain your actions honestly. Acknowledge your mistake and explain that you were feeling distraught and needed to talk to someone you trusted. This shows that while you broke the rule, it was due to a moment of emotional need rather than a willful disregard for the instructions.

When it comes to giving an affidavit, you do have the right to plead the Fifth Amendment, which protects you from self-incrimination. However, this can be a complex legal decision and might not always be the best course of action. It’s wise to seek legal advice to understand the implications and determine the best approach for your situation.

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