Should I Take A Police Polygraph (“Lie Detector”) Test?
By Columbus Criminal Defense Attorney, James D. Owen
On a regular basis, clients under criminal investigation are contacted by the police and asked if they will take a police polygraph test.
Before you make a decision about whether to submit to a polygraph examination, you should first consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. In nearly every case, the attorney will advise you not to submit to a police polygraph examination. The reason for this is because in nearly all situations police polygraph examinations are conducted for purely interrogation purposes, without regard for proper testing procedures. These tests can be a source of tremendous anxiety, even for people with nothing to hide, and for good reason: polygraph examinations are interrogations, and it is all too common for innocent people to fail them for no reason, resulting in the prosecution of false criminal accusations.
Recently, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that statements made to a polygraph examiner are admissible at trial even though the results of the polygraph examination may not be. See State v. Jeffries, 119 Ohio St. 3d 265, 2008-Ohio-3865. The result of this case is that any statements elicited by the police or other polygraph examiner during, before, or after the polygraph examination can and will be used against you at trial.
There are occasions where you may want to take a polygraph test in order to attempt to convince the police that you are innocent. In such a case, however, you should have an experienced criminal defense attorney select a private, experienced, well-respected polygraph examiner to administer the test, and only turn the test results over to the police after they are thoroughly reviewed by your attorney.
Why? Because polygraphs are far from perfect. In fact, many experts consider them totally unreliable, and almost all scientists who have studied them (and even some polygraph administrators) understand that polygraphs are seriously limited.
If you are under investigation by Columbus or Central Ohio law enforcement authorities, and would like to consult with an experienced Columbus criminal defense lawyer, please contact us immediately at 614 454 5010 for a free initial consultation.