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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23149
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I was placed on probation 14 months ago for felony battery.

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I was placed on probation 14 months ago for 'felony battery'. The case was originally sex related, but as a part of the plea bargain I have to attend sex offender therapy. The therapy class requires periodic 'lie-detector' tests. I've taken 2 so far and failed 2. They say if I fail a third I will be kicked out of class and face probation violation. I was telling the truth, but I was so nervous because of the type of questions and everything I have to lose. My question is: can they legally violate me given the inaccuracy polygraphs are known for? Thank you
Hi Jacustomer,

Lie detectors are inadmissible in court because they are deemed not sufficiently accurate enough. They are used as a tool to help probation monitor you.

I have known of sex offenders on probation who finished probation successfully without ever having passed the lie detector test. There are some people who are simply too nervous to test. He was one, and you may be as well.

F.S. 948. 30(2)(a) specifically says:

"As part of a treatment program, participation at least annually in polygraph examinations to obtain information necessary for risk management and treatment and to reduce the sex offender’s denial mechanisms. A polygraph examination must be conducted by a polygrapher who is a member of a national or state polygraph association and who is certified as a postconviction sex offender polygrapher, where available, and shall be paid for by the probationer or community controllee. The results of the polygraph examination shall be provided to the probationer’s or community controllee’s probation officer and qualified practitioner and shall not be used as evidence in court to prove that a violation of community supervision has occurred.

So, it's a diagnostic tool, but it should not be used against you for purposes of establishing a violation.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Will I need to hire an attorney if I fail the next test, or can I rely on my probation officer to help me? Or won't they try to violate me? Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX be my last question.

Hi Dave,

What the class tells you is one thing. What your probation officer tells you is another. If he says they are going to lodge a violation, then you should get yourself a lawyer.

Like I said, there is law that indicates that they cannot use a failing polygraphs alone to give evidence that a violation has occurred, so if they do try to violate you for it (they shouldn't) then a lawyer has something to work with in your defense..

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