Law enforcement officials have asked you to take a lie detector test in regard to a crime they suspect you of committing. Should you agree or refuse? Does it hurt your case if you say no? Before you make any decisions, consult a criminal defense lawyer like Dimeo Law Offices for assistance.
What a Lie Detector Does
Technically called a polygraph, lie detector equipment gauges your physical reactions when you hear and answer questions. Certain changes in physiology, such as increases in blood pressure and respiration rate, are connected with being deceptive.
Problems With Polygraph Tests
Physiological changes associated with lying indicate nervousness or anxiety. However, the person answering the questions may feel anxious even if he or she isn't being deceptive. In addition, a person who is highly skilled at lying and accustomed to doing so may not feel nervous at all.
Another problem involves what can happen after the equipment is turned off. The individual may now become more relaxed and feel more cooperative because the ordeal is over. That can lead to saying more than he or she probably should to a criminal investigator. Even if the test results aren't allowed in court, the details of questioning afterward probably will be.
Admissibility in Court
Most jurisdictions do not entirely forbid or universally allow lie detector test results as evidence, although some states prohibit their use in court. Even then, criminal investigators can still ask suspects to take a polygraph test. For instance, they might rule out a suspect if the results indicate innocence.
Typically it's up to the judge. A decision about whether to include the results commonly depends on the details of the case and how the investigation and the test itself was conducted.
How Defense Lawyers View Polygraph Tests
Your criminal lawyer will probably advise you not to take a polygraph test in a setting where law enforcement officials are in control. Instead, if polygraph test results are admissible in court in your state, your attorney might have a test administered by a private company at the law firm. Now, if the results are in your favor, the lawyer may be able to present that as evidence. If the results are not in your favor, the lawyer doesn't have to disclose them to anyone.
What This Means for You
If criminal investigators have asked whether you're willing to take a polygraph test, it's your right to say no. You may be tempted to agree if you're innocent, but remember that the results can be inaccurate. If you really want to try confirming your innocence using this method, have your lawyer arrange an appointment with a private company.
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