If you have been asked by a law enforcement officer to submit to a polygraph examination in San Diego and you believe you have nothing to hide you may be tempted to agree. Most criminal defense attorneys, however, advise their clients not to submit to a polygraph exam (lie detector test) that has been requested by law enforcement officials. California does not allow results of a polygraph exam to be admitted in court; however, negative or questionable results could prompt the police to pursue criminal charges against you.
The reason polygraph results are not admissible in court is because they have proven to be unreliable. Their accuracy rate is impacted by several factors. If the examiner is not well-trained or experienced in giving the test and interpreting results, the final report might not be accurate. In addition, if the examiner is hand-chosen by the police and paid for by the state, he might be hesitant to declare you are telling the truth when the police believe you are lying. The “never bite the hand that feeds you” comes into play. Finally, being investigated for a crime can cause you enough stress that you fail the test even though you are innocent.
Sometimes, a criminal defense attorney will hire a private examiner to give a client a polygraph examination. If the results are favorable the attorney uses that information to attempt to get the police to stop investigating the client. If the client fails the test, the police are never told it was done. A failure does not mean the person is lying. Factors such as stress and faulty equipment can contribute to false test results.
There is only one reason the police request a polygraph test – to gather evidence against you. It may be tempting to agree to the test in an effort to prove your innocence, but there are so many variables in how the tests are scored and interpreted, it can be a significant risk to do so. Innocent people can, and do, “fail” lie detector tests and find themselves prosecuted for crimes they did not commit.
Under Investigation in San Diego: Legal Advice
Any time a law enforcement officer asks you to submit to a polygraph exam, you should assume you are under investigation for a crime. You cannot be forced to take the test. You have a right to refuse and are not required to provide an explanation for your refusal. Only an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney can evaluate the specific facts and circumstances surrounding the request and provide you with concrete advice.