Does The Defendant Have A Right To Testify On His Own Behalf?

A defendant also has the right to testify on his or her own behalf. Rock v. Arkansas, 483 U.S. 44, 51-53 (1987); Nix v. Whiteside, 475 U.S. 157, 164 (1986); State v. Savage, 120 N.J. 594, 628 (1990); N.J.S.A. 2A:81-8. Alternatively, a defendant has the right to forego any such testimony pursuant to his or her privilege against self-incrimination. State v. Browning, 19 N.J. 424, 427 (1955); State v. Morales, 138 N.J. Super. 225, 229 (App. Div. 1975); N.J.S.A. 2A:84A-17(1); N.J. Evid. R. 501(1). Where a defendant is represented by counsel, it is counsel’s obligation to advise his or her client concerning the potential risks and benefits inherent in exercising or waiving the right to testify. State v. Savage, 120 N.J. at 630-631. Under those circumstances, the trial court should inquire of the defense attorney whether the attorney has explained the options available to the defendant. State v. Moore, 122 N.J. 420, 460 (1991); State v. Savage, 120 N.J. at 631

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