Why Is the Officer Pressuring Me to Take a Lie Detector Test?

Law enforcement officers and prosecutors might try to make you believe that by refusing a polygraph exam you are admitting your guilt. Why would an innocent person decide not to use a lie detector test to prove his or her innocence?  The prosecution and the investigators already believe you are guilty. They only want additional evidence and information to make their case stronger.  In many cases, the officers do not care about the results of the exam — they just want you to keep talking because the more you talk, the more information they can get from you before you “lawyer up.” Therefore, putting pressure on you to take a polygraph test, whether you take it or not, is another tactic used by law enforcement to keep you talking instead of asserting your constitutional right to not answer any questions without legal counsel.

Refusing a polygraph is not going to make a difference in how the police officers or the prosecutor view your innocence or guilt. Remember, a police officer does not need to tell you the truth. Even if you pass the test, the officer may lead you to believe you failed. In a panic to prove you are innocent, you may continue to divulge information the prosecution can use in building a case against you.  While the results of a polygraph test are typically not admissible in court, the results can impact other factors and decisions in your case. You do not want to give the prosecution or investigators any assistance in building a criminal case against you. You should only consider taking a polygraph test after consulting with a Lansing criminal defense attorney.

Should I Take the Polygraph Test If I’m Completely Innocent?

If you are innocent, is there a reason why you shouldn’t take a lie detector test? When you are innocent, taking a polygraph test can only prove your innocence, right? Wrong! While taking a polygraph test can be a strategic element in a well-crafted criminal defense plan, you should not take a lie detector test without consulting with a Michigan criminal defense attorney. Taking a polygraph test, even if you are innocent, can hurt your defense in some cases.

Polygraph Tests Are Not Perfect

A polygraph machine cannot detect the truthfulness of a statement. The machine is designed to measure a person’s physical reactions while hearing questions and providing answers to those questions. Sensors are used to measure a person’s pulse, breathing, blood pressure, perspiration, and gross motor movements. Control questions give the operator a base to compare the individual’s responses to the questions about the investigation. Based on changes in the person’s physical reactions, the operator can detect if the person is lying or telling the truth.

However, polygraphs are not perfect.  For instance, the operator is making a subjective interpretation of the results. Therefore, the operator can make mistakes or errors when interpreting the results. Furthermore, some individuals have different physical reactions when they are lying, so a one-fits-all test is not accurate for every individual.  In addition to the operator making errors, the questions could be flawed, or the environment in which the test is performed can have a negative impact on the results. Our Michigan criminal defense lawyers can use these flaws to challenge polygraph results; however, we strongly urge you to consult with our office before you agree to take a lie detector test.

What Should You Do If You Are Arrested or You Are Being Investigated for a Crime?

It is better to weigh all options before deciding whether to submit to a lie detector test during a criminal investigation.  If you and your attorney determine taking a polygraph exam is a wise move, your attorney can protect your best interest during each step in the process, including agreeing on an experienced, reputable, and neutral polygraph operator to conduct the test.  As with any criminal investigation or arrest, it is always best to invoke your right to remain silent and refuse a polygraph test until you have consulted a criminal defense lawyer. Tell the police officers, investigators, and prosecutors that you want your attorney. Keep insisting you want an attorney without answering any questions or submitting to a lie detector test.

To request a free legal consultation with a Lansing criminal defense attorney, contact The Clark Law Office by calling 517-347-6900. We represent clients in Okemos, Lansing, and the surrounding areas. Our attorneys utilize a wide variety of resources, tools, and legal strategies to protect your rights.