Should I take a Police Polygraph Test?
Should I take a police polygraph test? This is a question a person ask when they are under investigation by the police. Some times during the course of an interrogation or investigation the police detective will ask the suspect if they would be willing to take a polygraph. Most people feel obligated to say yes. They believe if they say no the police will think they are guilty of the crime they are investigating. On some occasions the suspect will even volunteer to submit to a polygraph to clear their name. The answer to the question of “should I take a police polygraph test” is No.
The truth is when the police ask the suspect to take a polygraph test their intent is to use the polygraph examination as a way to get a confession. The detective has almost always made up their mind about the suspect’s guilt and their goal in an interview is to get some type of confession or some type of statement that implicates the suspect. The police will hook the suspect up to a polygraph and their polygraph operator will only briefly interview the suspect. After the test the police confront the suspect and tell him the polygraph test shows he is lying and then they put real pressure on the suspect to confess. Under Texas law the police are allowed to lie to a suspect during an interrogation. Even if a suspect passes the polygraph or results are inconclusive the detective can still tell the suspect he failed and try to get a confession.
The only polygraph a person should take is one under the direction of his or her criminal attorney. A criminal attorney will first make a decision if a polygraph test could be helpful to the defense. If the criminal attorney decides to have his client take a polygraph he will hire a qualified polygraph operator as his expert so that the testing and the client’s interview with the polygraph operator is covered under the attorney client privilege. That way test results and communication with the polygraph operator can not be released to anyone unless the client gives their permission.
An experienced criminal lawyer will choose a well respected polygraph operator. If the polygraph operator isn’t respected in his field or has a bad reputation a prosecutor or law enforcement agency will not give the test results any consideration. That is why it is important to let the criminal lawyer choose the polygraph operator.
An experienced polygraph operator will have a lengthy interview with the client. The criminal attorney and the polygraph operator must work together to get the specific questions needed for the test. It should be emphasized again that this whole process falls under the attorney client privilege.
If there is a good result the criminal attorney makes a decision how and when to use the polygraph results. Polygraph test are not admissible in evidence in a criminal trial in Texas but a criminal attorney can include them as part of a grand jury packet or turn the test over to the prosecutor or the detective. The test can also be used by the criminal attorney during plea negotiations.
If the polygraph results are inconclusive or show deception the results stay in the criminal attorneys file and will never be released. Also the fact that a defendant refused a police officers request to take a police polygraph is not admissible evidence in a trial.