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This may be a dumb question, but my friend and I were wondering…

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This may be a dumb...
This may be a dumb question, but my friend and I were wondering about polygraph tests. If you are innocent and get accused of a crime, wouldn't you be a nervous wreck, and thus, because of your nerves actually fail the polygraph? Likewise, what if a person was guilty, but had no remorse or care about the crime they committed and hence were not nervous, wouldn't those people pass the polygraph. We have been curious about this for a long time. Thanks.
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Criminal Law
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
6/16/2010
Criminal Lawyer: Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor replied 8 years ago
Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 31,837
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Hello,

There is a margin of error with polygraphs which is one the reason that they are not admissible as evidence in court unless both sides agree that the results ought to come in before the jury. And, the accuracy of test results are related also to how skilled a test examiner is and how well he's able to read the results. A highly skilled examiner can establish a baseline for a suspect that would take in his nerves or (lack of it) and proceed from there. There are stories of people outright beating lie detector tests but not a huge number of them. They're pretty reliable.

If you're charged with a crime and innocent and want a lie detector test, the way to do it is to just let your lawyer know. You never ask the court for one, as anything you say can be used against you. Your lawyer keeps it confidential. If you pass the test, he announces to the judge and the prosecutor that you've taken and passed a lie detector test. The reliability of the test is high enough so that the prosecutor will usually think differently about the case. He may not dismiss it, but he may offer a super deal.

On the other hand, if he fails the lie detector test, the lawyer is bound by attorney client privilege to keep quiet about it. Nobody but he and his client ever know about the test, and the bad results can never be used against him.

___________

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.

This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your State for specific legal advice.

Edited by FranL on 6/16/2010 at 2:01 AM EST
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Thanks . . . finally an answer to one of my top questions. One more thing, if a person is mentally incapacitated (i.e. does something in their sleep, or when intoxicated, etc.), and they honestly think their innocent, would they likely pass or fail the lie detector? We were actually wondering about this for many years, since the O.J. verdict and mysterious polygraph he took.
Criminal Lawyer: Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor replied 8 years ago
The mind is a tricky thing. If someone was intoxicated or his capacity for remembering an incident was diminished, he might not pass a polygraph because he would not be able to say with certainty what he did or didn't do and that may cause anxiety when the questions trigger vague memories.

Even a psychopath or sociopath who is both skilled at lying and feels no pity or remorse for any of his actions might still get edgy at the thought of going to jail and fail a lie detector test. He could react to the stress of the moment, or to the pleasure of putting one over on the system and the reaction could be recorded. But if someone is truly delusional, he will pass a lie detector test. His reality is his truth and the whole nature of his illness is that he is completely unable to distinguish one from the other.
___________

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.

This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your State for specific legal advice.
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