Frequently in criminal investigations, law enforcement may ask a suspect to submit to a polygraph. Polygraph is just another term for a lie detector test. The three most common types of crimes that the police request polygraphs for are:
As a Lexington criminal defense attorney, I understand why law enforcement relies so heavily on the results of a polygraph. They are fast. Most tests can be completed in two hours or less. Polygraphs can quickly eliminate possible suspects and help target resources on the likely offender(s). They are generally reliable. Recent testing has established the accuracy rate for a modern polygraph in excess of 99%. Polygraphs get people talking. The results are not admissible in court, but the police polygraph examiner is likely going to be the best interrogator on the force.
Anything said to the polygraph examiner can be admitted in court and used against someone. There are a lot of potential pitfalls to the police polygraph process. We do not recommend that anyone submit to a police polygraph unless their case has been carefully screened by a lawyer and it is determined that the procedure will be in their best interest. If the police have asked you to take a polygraph, your next move should always be to consult with a criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable in polygraph procedures.