Should I Take a Polygraph Offered by the Police?
In some criminal investigations, the suspect may be offered the “opportunity” to take a polygraph examination by the police officer or detective who is investigating the case. If you are a suspect in a criminal investigation, you may be asked by a police officer whether or not you would be willing to submit to this lie detector test. (Hint: If you are being asked by a police officer to take a lie detector test or polygraph examination, you are definitely a suspect, whether they have told you that or not.)
So, the question is, when asked by the police to take a polygraph examination or lie detector test, should you take it?
The answer is a resounding no. I’ll say it again. No.
The first thing that you should know about polygraph examinations is that their reliability and accuracy is incredibly suspect. They are so unreliable that courts across the country have precluded them from being admitted as evidence in criminal proceedings, and they are also inadmissible in nearly all civil proceedings as well. (This is saying a lot, because courts have a long history of admitting some very suspect scientific evidence over the years.)
The second important thing to remember is that the police are not offering the polygraph examination for the purpose of proving that you are innocent of the crime for which they are investigating you. The police use lie detector tests not as a way to rule out suspects, but as a tool in interrogating them. For the most part, the police could care less what the actual results are, and a passing test won’t cause them to believe that you didn’t commit the crime.
When you go in to take the polygraph examination, no matter what the results are, the examiner will likely tell you that you failed the examination. They will tell you that they know you are lying, and they will use that information to try to pressure you to confess to the crime. This is a strategy that they use consistently when they bring in a suspect for an examination.
You should never take a lie detector test or polygraph examination offered by the police. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t take a polygraph examination at all. You can have a private examination set up by your attorney, like a criminal lawyer Greenville, MI trusts, that will remain confidential. If you receive a passing result at the private examination, then your attorney can provide those results to the police or the prosecuting attorney in your case. In conjunction with other evidence, this may be helpful in convincing the police or prosecutor not to bring charges, or to drop charges that have already been brought.
If you have been asked to take a polygraph examination by the police, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately for a consultation.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Blanchard Law for their insight into criminal defense.