The Fifth Amendment’s prohibition on compelled self-incrimination

Petitioner further contends that his conviction violates the Fifth Amendment's prohibition on compelled self-incrimination. The Fifth Amendment states that "[n]o person … shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself. " To qualify for the Fifth Amendment privilege, a communication must be testimonial, incriminating, and compelled. See United States v. Hubbell, 530 U. S. 27, 34-38 (2000). Respondents urge us to hold that the statements NRS §171. 123(3) requires are nontestimonial, and so outside the Clause's scope.

We decline to resolve the case on that basis. "[T]o be testimonial, an accused's communication must itself, explicitly or implicitly, relate a factual assertion or disclose information. " Doe v. United States, 487 U. S. 201, 210 (1988). See also Hubbell, 530 U. S. , at 35. Stating one's name may qualify as an assertion of fact relating to identity. Production of identity documents might meet the definition as well. As we noted in Hubbell, acts of production may yield testimony establishing "the existence, authenticity, and custody of items [the police seek].

" Id. , at 41. Even if these required actions are testimonial, however, petitioner's challenge must fail because in this case disclosure of his name presented no reasonable danger of incrimination. The Fifth Amendment prohibits only compelled testimony that is incriminating. See Brown v. Walker, 161 U. S. 591, 598 (1896) (noting that where "the answer of the witness will not directly show his infamy, but only tend to disgrace him, he is bound to answer"). A claim of Fifth Amendment privilege must establish

Reasonable ground to apprehend danger to the witness from his being compelled to answer … . [T]he danger to be apprehended must be real and appreciable, with reference to the ordinary operation of law in the ordinary course of things,–not a danger of an imaginary and unsubstantial character, having reference to some extraordinary and barely possible contingency, so improbable that no reasonable man would suffer it to influence his conduct. ' " Id. , at 599-600 (quoting Queen v. Boyes, 1 Best & S. 311, 321 (1861) (Cockburn, C. J.)).

As we stated in Kastigar v. United States, 406 U. S. 441, 445 (1972), the Fifth Amendment privilege against compulsory self-incrimination "protects against any disclosures that the witness reasonably believes could be used in a criminal prosecution or could lead to other evidence that might be so used. " Suspects who have been granted immunity from prosecution may, therefore, be compelled to answer; with the threat of prosecution removed, there can be no reasonable belief that the evidence will be used against them. See id. , at 453.

In this case petitioner's refusal to disclose his name was not based on any articulated real and appreciable fear that his name would be used to incriminate him, or that it "would furnish a link in the chain of evidence needed to prosecute" him. Hoffman v. United States, 341 U. S. 479, 486 (1951). As best we can tell, petitioner refused to identify himself only because he thought his name was none of the officer's business. Even today, petitioner does not explain how the disclosure of his name could have been used against him in a criminal case.

While we recognize petitioner's strong belief that he should not have to disclose his identity, the Fifth Amendment does not override the Nevada Legislature's judgment to the contrary absent a reasonable belief that the disclosure would tend to incriminate him. The narrow scope of the disclosure requirement is also important. One's identity is, by definition, unique; yet it is, in another sense, a universal characteristic. Answering a request to disclose a name is likely to be so insignificant in the scheme of things as to be incriminating only in unusual circumstances. See Baltimore City Dept.

of Social Servs. v. Bouknight, 493 U. S. 549, 555 (1990) (suggesting that "fact[s] the State could readily establish" may render "any testimony regarding existence or authenticity [of them] insufficiently incriminating"); Cf. California v. Byers, 402 U. S. 424, 432 (1971) (opinion of Burger, C. J. ). In every criminal case, it is known and must be known who has been arrested and who is being tried. Cf. Pennsylvania v. Muniz, 496 U. S. 582, 601-602 (1990) (opinion of Brennan, J. ). Even witnesses who plan to invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege answer when their names are called to take the stand.

Still, a case may arise where there is a substantial allegation that furnishing identity at the time of a stop would have given the police a link in the chain of evidence needed to convict the individual of a separate offense. In that case, the court can then consider whether the privilege applies, and, if the Fifth Amendment has been violated, what remedy must follow. We need not resolve those questions here. The Nevada law at issue in this case imposes a narrow duty to speak upon a specific class of individuals.

The class includes only those persons detained by a police officer "under circumstances which reasonably indicate that the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime"1–persons who are, in other words, targets of a criminal investigation. The statute therefore is directed not "at the public at large," but rather "at a highly selective group inherently suspect of criminal activities. " Albertson v. Subversive Activities Control Bd. , 382 U. S. 70, 79 (1965). Under the Nevada law, a member of the targeted class "may not be compelled to answer" any inquiry except a command that he "identify himself.

"2 Refusal to identify oneself upon request is punishable as a crime. 3 Presumably the statute does not require the detainee to answer any other question because the Nevada Legislature realized that the Fifth Amendment prohibits compelling the target of a criminal investigation to make any other statement. In my judgment, the broad constitutional right to remain silent, which derives from the Fifth Amendment's guarantee that "[n]o person … shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself," U. S. Const. , Amdt.

5,4 is not as circumscribed as the Court suggests, and does not admit even of the narrow exception defined by the Nevada statute. "[T]here can be no doubt that the Fifth Amendment privilege is available outside of criminal court proceedings and serves to protect persons in all settings in which their freedom of action is curtailed in any significant way from being compelled to incriminate themselves. " Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S. 436, 467 (1966). It is a "settled principle" that "the police have the right to request citizens to answer voluntarily questions concerning unsolved crimes," but "they have no right to compel them to answer.

" Davis v. Mississipi, 394 U. S. 721, 727, n. 6 (1969). The protections of the Fifth Amendment are directed squarely toward those who are the focus of the government's investigative and prosecutorial powers. In a criminal trial, the indicted defendant has an unqualified right to refuse to testify and may not be punished for invoking that right. See Carter v. Kentucky, 450 U. S. 288, 299-300 (1981). The unindicted target of a grand jury investigation enjoys the same constitutional protection even if he has been served with a subpoena.