A lie detector test—also known as a polygraph test—is a machine that measures a person’s blood pressure, perspiration, heart rate, and other physical reactions while he is being asked questions to supposedly determine whether he is guilty. Especially if you know that you are innocent, you may be tempted to agree to take one if the police ask you. However, it is rarely a good idea to agree to this, and you should never make this decision without first consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Reasons That You Should Not Agree to Take a Polygraph Test
It is important to understand why the police are asking you to take this test. It is not to get to the truth. The purpose is to gather evidence—against you. Here are reasons not to agree even if you think you can pass the test:
- Not required. The police cannot force you to take a lie detector test whether you are a suspect or have been arrested.
- Unreliable results. The results of a lie detector test are unreliable, and many innocent people have failed them. Even if you pass the test, this does not mean that you will not be charged with committing a crime.
- Not admissible. Because of the inaccuracies of lie detector test results, they are not admissible in court in Virginia. This is true whether you fail or pass the test.
- Incriminating statements before and after test. While the results of the test cannot be admitted in court, any statements that you make before or after the polygraph are admissible. The officers administering the test are well-trained in how to give them and ask questions before and afterward in an effort to get you to make statements—sometimes made unintentionally—that can incriminate you. Statements you make during the exam could also lead the police to other evidence that they can use to convict you.
Are the police asking you to take a lie detector test? We urge you to contact our skilled attorneys before making a decision. We can discuss your situation and advise you on whether this is in your interests. Don’t delay! Call us today to schedule a free initial consultation.