Should I take a police requested polygraph exam?
Deciding whether to submit to a police requested polygraph exam is complex. Someone should never participate in a polygraph examination without the advice of a seriously experienced criminal defense attorney.
In deciding whether to participate in a polygraph examination, you should know several things. Oddly enough, police rarely ask for polygraph exams to see if someone is telling the truth. Generally, police ask for polygraph examinations because it gives an expert interrogator (i.e. polygraph examiner) an opportunity to question someone or because it gets someone who is otherwise not talking to start a dialog. The best answer to the question, “Should I take a police requested polygraph exam?” will depend on a multitude of factors.
Frequently Asked Polygraph Questions:
If I agreed to take a polygraph examination, do I still have to do it?
No. If you shouldn’t take a polygraph examination, a lawyer can always contact the police department and cancel the examination.
Can police lie about the result and claim I failed when the results showed I was truthful?
Yes. Lying is a very common and accepted practice of polygraph examiners and police investigators. Police lie about polygraph results and other evidence in a case for the purpose of tricking or manipulating a person into making an admission, confession or inculpatory statement.
Are the results of a polygraph admissible in court?
Generally no. There are exceptions when a polygraph result may be admissible in an evidentiary hearing on the issue of credibility.
Why should I take a polygraph if the results are not admissible?
A favorable result may be helpful in avoiding or reducing charges or achieving a favorable sentence if some, but not all facts, in a case are in dispute. If a prosecutor is on the fence about whether to issue charges, he or she may elect to decline a warrant request if a polygraph examination shows that a subject was being truthful.
Is it true that some people cannot pass a polygraph even if they are truthful?
Yes. Some people, no matter how truthful they are being during a polygraph exam, will fail virtually every time. A person can be tested privately before a police polygraph to see if they are an appropriate candidate for a polygraph test.
If I pass a polygraph, is it possible I will still be charged with a crime?
Absolutely. In many cases, police have already made a decision that a person is guilty of a crime and that person is being charged (or has already been charged). This is one of those situations where the police are looking for another crack at an interrogation.
If I am nervous or anxious, will that affect the polygraph?
No. Nervousness and anxiety are a constant. In other words, you cannot turn your nervousness and anxiety off for one test question and then back on for the next test question. Your nervousness is present throughout the testing process and will have no impact on the result. Consider this…anyone taking a police polygraph is nervous and anxious. When you are accused of a serious crime, you would have to be pathological not to be afraid on some level.
Can I fail a polygraph if I am telling the truth?
Yes. There is an expression that is at least partially true…polygraph tests will fail 20% of the people telling the truth and pass 10% of the people who lie. While the percentages are highly debatable, there is no doubt that some people will fail even though they are being truthful and some people who are being dishonest will pass with flying colors. Experienced criminal defense lawyers generally work with private polygraph examiners who can assess a potential test subject to see if they can be tested accurately.
it mean to fail a polygraph?
Deception is indicated when the examinee’s Autonomic Nervous System displays a significant and repetitive “defensive” reaction to one or more of the relevant test questions. Research has shown that if a polygraph is done correctly and the charts are read accurately, 90% of time that this reaction is observed, the test subject is being deceptive or withholding information.
Should I take a police polygraph or not?
You should not make this decision without the assistance of a very experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney with vast experience in criminal law will be able to assess all the advantages and disadvantages and guide you into making the best possible decision. If you are unrepresented, get an attorney ASAP. If the police are asking you to take a polygraph, the charge being considered against you is very serious and potentially life changing in a tragic way. Don’t take the allegation lightly or it will likely be to your detriment.
In what types of cases are polygraph exams requested by law enforcement?
Polygraphs are not used in most cases; however, they are most frequently used when there are allegations of criminal sexual conduct (CSC), theft or embezzlement, assault, child abuse, drug crimes, internet crimes, child pornography, fraud, obstruction of justice and perjury.
What law enforcement agencies request polygraphs?
Local police, the Michigan State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Secret Service, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, most commonly request polygraphs.
Criminal Defense Attorney Experienced with Polygraph Examinations
The defense team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience defending and protecting clients accused of serious criminal offenses in Michigan. Many of our clients are high profile, public figures or people who cannot afford to have a mistake made that would jeopardize their future or family. When there is no room for errors and you need a lawyer with the experience, dedication and intelligence to give you the best possible defense to a serious felony or misdemeanor allegation, we are here to help you. Call us today at (248) 263-6800 or kindly complete a Request for Assistance Form and an experienced, successful criminal defense lawyer will promptly contact you.
The bottom line is that you should not answer the question, “Should I take a police requested polygraph exam?” by yourself and without the advice of an expert even if you are telling the 100% truth.