2021 Georgia Code
Title 24 - Evidence
Chapter 5 - Privileges
§ 24-5-506. Privilege Against Self-Incrimination; Testimony of Accused in Criminal Case

Universal Citation: GA Code § 24-5-506 (2021)
  1. No person who is charged in any criminal proceeding with the commission of any criminal offense shall be compellable to give evidence for or against himself or herself.
  2. If an accused in a criminal proceeding wishes to testify and announces in open court his or her intention to do so, the accused may so testify. If an accused testifies, he or she shall be sworn as any other witness and, except as provided in Code Sections 24-6-608 and 24-6-609, may be examined and cross-examined as any other witness. The failure of an accused to testify shall create no presumption against the accused, and no comment shall be made because of such failure.

(Code 1981, §24-5-506, enacted by Ga. L. 2011, p. 99, § 2/HB 24.)

Cross references.

- Prohibition against compelled self-incrimination, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. I, Sec. I, Para. XVI.

Testimony by defendant in pretrial hearing, § 17-7-28.

Law reviews.

- For article on the effect of a conviction that is based on a nolo contendere plea, see 13 Ga. L. Rev. 723 (1979). For article, "Court Ordered Surgery to Retrieve Evidence in Georgia in Light of the Supreme Court Decision in Winston v. Lee," see 37 Mercer L. Rev. 1005 (1986). For annual survey on criminal law, see 71 Mercer L. Rev. 69 (2019). For note, "Defendant as a Witness in a Criminal Proceeding," see 3 Mercer L. Rev. 335 (1952). For note on the Georgia right against self-incrimination, see 15 Ga. L. Rev. 1104 (1981). For comment criticizing Lovett v. State, 108 Ga. App. 478, 133 S.E.2d 595 (1963), as to right of accused to assistance of counsel in making an unsworn statement, see 15 Mercer L. Rev. 512 (1964).



  • General Consideration
  • Self-Incrimination
  • Evidence of Character or Other Crimes
  • Argument to Jury
  • Treatment of Defendant as Witness


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 29A Am. Jur. 2d, Evidence, § 715.

Involuntary Confession - Psychological Coercion, 22 POF2d 539.

Custodial Interrogation Under Miranda v. Arizona, 23 POF2d 713.

Invalidity of Suspect's Waiver of Miranda Rights, 42 POF2d 617.

Invalidity of Confession or Waiver of Miranda Rights by Mentally Retarded Person, 42 POF3d 147.


- Constitutional immunity against giving incriminating testimony as affecting contractual stipulation to submit to examination, 18 A.L.R. 749.

Admissibility of evidence of refusal of accused to comply with order or request to do an act which might aid in establishing his guilt, 35 A.L.R. 1236.

Plea of privilege by the woman concerned in violation of White Slave Act, 48 A.L.R. 991.

Privilege against self-incrimination as applicable to answer to pleadings, 52 A.L.R. 143.

What amounts to violation of statute forbidding comment by prosecuting attorney on failure of accused to testify, 68 A.L.R. 1108.

Constitutional provision against self-incrimination as applicable to questions asked or testimony given in proceeding before nonjudicial officer or body, 68 A.L.R. 1503.

Waiver of immunity from testifying and constitutional provision against self-incrimination, by accomplice testifying for prosecution, 87 A.L.R. 882.

Burden of proof as to outlawry by limitation or otherwise of criminal prosecution when relied upon to defeat claim of privilege against self-incrimination, 101 A.L.R. 389.

Constitutionality, construction, and effect of statutes in relation to conduct of driver of automobile after happening of accident, 101 A.L.R. 911.

Right to cross-examine accused as to previous prosecution for or conviction of crime as affecting his credibility, 103 A.L.R. 350; 161 A.L.R. 233.

Admissibility of plea of guilty at preliminary hearing, 141 A.L.R. 1335.

Disclosure by witness of fact or transaction as waiver of his privilege against self-incrimination in respect of details and particulars which will elucidate it, 147 A.L.R. 255.

Privilege against self-incrimination as available to member or officer of unincorporated association as regards its books or papers, 152 A.L.R. 1208.

Testimony of incriminating character which witness was compelled to give, by virtue of immunity statute or otherwise, as admissible in a prosecution of the witness for an offense subsequently committed, 157 A.L.R. 428.

Constitutional or statutory provision permitting comment on failure of defendant in criminal case to explain or deny by his testimony, evidence or facts against him, 171 A.L.R. 1267.

Suppression before indictment or trial of confession unlawfully obtained, 1 A.L.R.2d 1012.

Waiver of privilege against self-incrimination in exchange for immunity from prosecution as barring reassertion of privilege on account of prosecution in another jurisdiction, 2 A.L.R.2d 631.

Use in subsequent prosecution of self-incriminating testimony given without invoking privilege, 5 A.L.R.2d 1404.

Power of prosecuting attorney to extend immunity from prosecution to witness claiming privilege against self-incrimination, 13 A.L.R.2d 1438.

Right of witness to refuse to answer, on the ground of self-incrimination, as to membership in or connection with party, society, or similar organization or group, 19 A.L.R.2d 388.

Right of witness to claim privilege against self-incrimination on subsequent criminal trial after testifying to same matter before grand jury, 36 A.L.R.2d 1403.

Privilege against self-incrimination as to testimony before grand jury, 38 A.L.R.2d 225.

Cross-examination of character witness for accused with reference to particular acts or crimes, 47 A.L.R.2d 1258.

Party's waiver of privilege as to communications with counsel by taking stand and testifying, 51 A.L.R.2d 521.

Sufficiency of witness's claim of privilege against self-incrimination, 51 A.L.R.2d 1178.

Adequacy of immunity offered as condition of denial of privilege against self-incrimination, 53 A.L.R.2d 1030, 29 A.L.R.5th 1.

Right of state in criminal contempt case to obtain data from defendant by interrogatories or pretrial discovery as permitted in civil actions, 72 A.L.R.2d 431.

Admissibility of inculpatory statements made in presence of accused to which he refuses to reply on advice of counsel, 77 A.L.R.2d 463.

Duty of court to inform accused who is not represented by counsel of his right not to testify, 79 A.L.R.2d 643.

Comment on accused's failure to testify by counsel for codefendant, 1 A.L.R.3d 989.

Plea of guilty or conviction as resulting in loss of privilege against self-incrimination as to crime in question, 9 A.L.R.3d 990.

Necessity of informing suspect of rights under privilege against self-incrimination, prior to police interrogation, 10 A.L.R.3d 1054.

Comment or argument by court or counsel that prosecution evidence is uncontradicted as amounting to improper reference to accused's failure to testify, 14 A.L.R.3d 723.

Permissibility of impeaching credibility of witness by showing former conviction, as affected by pendency of appeal from conviction or motion for new trial, 16 A.L.R.3d 726.

Violation of federal constitutional rule (Griffin v. California) prohibiting adverse comment by prosecutor or court upon accused's failure to testify, as constituting reversible or harmless error, 24 A.L.R.3d 1093; 32 A.L.R.4th 774.

Requiring suspect or defendant in criminal case to demonstrate voice for purposes of identification, 24 A.L.R.3d 1261.

Right of motorist stopped by police officers for traffic offense to be informed at that time of his federal constitutional rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 25 A.L.R.3d 1076.

Privilege against self-incrimination as ground for refusal to produce noncorporate documents in possession of person asserting privilege, but owned by another, 37 A.L.R.3d 1373.

Propriety of requiring accused to give handwriting exemplar, 43 A.L.R.3d 653.

Witness's refusal to testify on ground of self-incrimination as justifying reception of evidence of prior statements or admissions, 43 A.L.R.3d 1413.

Censorship and evidentiary use of unconvicted prisoners' mail, 52 A.L.R.3d 548.

Refusal to answer questions before state grand jury as direct contempt of court, 69 A.L.R.3d 501.

Admissibility in criminal case of blood alcohol test where blood was taken from unconscious driver, 72 A.L.R.3d 325.

Admissibility, in state probation revocation proceedings, of incriminating statement obtained in violation of Miranda rule, 77 A.L.R.3d 669.

Nonverbal reaction to accusation, other than silence alone, as constituting adoptive admission under hearsay rule, 87 A.L.R.3d 706.

Admissibility in evidence of confession made by accused in anticipation of, during, or following polygraph examination, 89 A.L.R.3d 230.

Requiring defendant in criminal case to exhibit self, or perform physical acts, during trial and in presence of jury, 3 A.L.R.4th 374.

Cross-examination of character witness for accused with reference to particular acts or crimes - modern state rules, 13 A.L.R.4th 796.

Admissibility of evidence as to other offense as affected by defendant's acquittal of that offense, 25 A.L.R.4th 934.

Failure to object to improper questions or comments as to defendant's pretrial silence or failure to testify as constituting waiver of right to complain of error - modern cases, 32 A.L.R.4th 774.

Admissibility of evidence of accused's membership in gang, 39 A.L.R.4th 775.

Requirement that defendant in state court testify in order to preserve alleged trial error in rulings on admissibility of prior conviction impeachment evidence under Uniform Rule of Evidence 609, or similar provision or holding - post-Luce cases, 80 A.L.R.4th 1028.

Admissibility of evidence of prior physical acts of spousal abuse committed by defendant accused of murdering spouse or former spouse, 24 A.L.R.5th 465.

Propriety of using prior conviction for drug dealing to impeach witness in criminal trial, 37 A.L.R.5th 319.

Admissibility, under Rule 404(b) of Federal Rules of Evidence (28 USC Appx.) of evidence of accused's prior use of illegal drugs in prosecution for conspiracy to distribute such drugs, 114 A.L.R. Fed. 511.

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