FAQ Regarding Polygraph Examinations
Should I take a polygraph examination if the police ask me to take one? Are polygraph results admissible in court? Here are answers to your questions.
A polygraph examination may or may not be in your best interest.
Deciding whether to submit to a police lie detector test is involved, and the wrong choice can be disastrous. 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. Police rarely ask for polygraph examinations because they care about the result. Generally, police ask for polygraph examinations because it allows an expert interrogator (i.e., polygraph examiner) to question someone suspected of wrongdoing.
The defense team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience protecting clients and helping them avoid criminal charges and convictions.
If I agreed to take a polygraph examination, do I still have to do follow through and take it?
No. If a police requested polygraph exam is not in your best interest, a lawyer can always contact the police department and cancel the examination.
Can the police lie about the result and claim I failed when the results showed I was truthful?
Yes. Lying is a widespread and accepted practice of polygraph examiners and police investigators. Police officers and polygraph examiners use lies to trick or manipulate a person into making an admission, confession, or inculpatory statement. Remember, the polygraph examination procedure is as much, if not more, about the opportunity to interrogate a suspect and obtain evidence, as it is about the polygraph test results.
Are the results of a polygraph admissible in court?
Generally not. There are exceptions when a polygraph result may be admissible in an evidentiary hearing on the issue of credibility. Even many defense lawyers do not know how to make use of a favorable polygraph examination.
Why should I take a polygraph exam if the results are not admissible?
A favorable result may help avoid or reduce charges or achieve a favorable sentence. 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. A favorable polygraph result, in combination with a highly respected lawyer, can result in an outright dismissal of charges.
Is it true that some people cannot pass a police requested polygraph exam even if they are truthful?
Yes. We often hear clients say that they have no “fear” of a polygraph because they know they will be truthful. Unfortunately, telling the truth is not enough. In some cases, we have to have the client have a private polygraph examination before agreeing to participate in a public polygraph, so we will know whether there is a physiological issue that will interfere with the results. People sometimes have emotional responses when they tell the truth and sometimes do not emotionally respond when lying. A polygraph machine is simply not a lie detector. It will register false positives and false negatives and will vary from one test to the next. Some people will test more accurately than others.
If I am nervous or anxious, will that affect the polygraph?
Possibly but probably not. The truth is that virtually everyone is nervous, upset, and anxious when taking a polygraph. Nerves and anxiety alone have no impact on a polygraph’s result. As stated above, some people have stronger emotional responses to lying and telling the truth. It is crucial for the defense lawyer to accurately assess and vet a client to make sure he or she is making the right choice.
Should I take a polygraph exam?
Whether or not to take a polygraph examination is a question that you should not answer on your own, even with advice from the internet or friends. The answer to this question is complicated, and you need the assistance of a lawyer with decades of experience dealing with these issues. Making the wrong choice can result in charges that could have been avoided. The defense team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has handled cases where polygraph examinations have had a positive impact in the following areas:
- Drugs (Delivery, Manufacture, and Possession)
- Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC)
- Child Abuse
- Child Pornography
- Domestic Violence
- White Collar Crimes
- Weapons Offenses
- Violation of Probation
- Homicide (Murder)
- And More.
- A highly experienced criminal defense law firm that can help you decide whether to take a lie detector test or polygraph examination.
If you are asking yourself, “should I take a polygraph exam that is requested by the police?”, you need the help of a seriously experienced criminal defense lawyer. The defense team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience protecting clients and helping clients make these decisions.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.