If the police suspect you committed a crime, they could bring you in for questioning and ask you to take a lie detector test. These tests—also known as polygraph tests—measure the suspect’s physiological responses, such as breathing, pulse, and galvanized skin response, while being asked a series of questions. People often agree to a polygraph test for the following reasons:
- The suspect is innocent and believes the test will prove this.
- The suspect worries he will look guilty if he refuses to take it.
- The suspect believes he can beat the test.
- The suspect doesn’t think he has anything to worry about because the test can’t be admitted in court or believes cooperating will help him with the police.
Four Considerations When Deciding Whether to Agree to a Polygraph Test
Sometimes people will volunteer to take a polygraph test—even before the police ask for this. Before agreeing to take this test, you should consider the following:
- The test is not required. The police cannot force you to take this test. You should be wary of the police trying to convince you to take the test.
- The results are unreliable. Lie detector results are known to be unreliable. In Virginia, they are not admissible in court—even if you passed the test—and could have little effect on whether you are charged with a crime.
- Statements before and after the test are admissible. Statements that are made before and after the lie detector test could be used against you. The person administering the test is a trained interrogator who could trick you into saying something you’ll later regret—especially after the test when you could be more comfortable.
- Consulting with an attorney. You should never agree to take a lie detector test without first consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can advise you on whether it is a good idea to agree to the test and can be present when it is administered.
If you’ve been asked to take a lie detector test, we urge you to contact the Easley Law Firm before making this decision. Call us at 888-386-3898 to schedule a free consultation where we’ll explain what you can expect in your criminal case and whether taking a lie detector test is in your best interest.