Will I Have to Take a Lie Detector Test if I’m Accused of a Sex Crime?

A street sign at an intersection, with one direction labeled as "truth" and the other direction labeled as "lie"
A lie detector test is supposed to be able to tell if you’re being honest or not, but it doesn’t always work.

When a sex crime is reported to a police department here in Michigan, their job is to investigate and figure out exactly who did what to whom. There are many ways that police officers try to figure out what took place – they look for physical evidence at a crime scene, they interview witnesses and suspects, and they collect specimens from the alleged victim’s body in the hopes of having DNA to match with a suspect later on. But one interesting thing that the cops come back to relatively regularly in Michigan, is polygraph or lie detector tests.

The purpose of a polygraph test is to tell if you’re lying.

Another name for polygraph test is “lie detector test“, and that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do – check to see if you’re being completely honest. The theory behind how it works, is that when you’re not answering a question truthfully, your body responds to certain stimuli in a certain way, and when you’re being truthful your responses to the same stimuli changes. (For example, when you lie your blood pressure and pulse rate are supposed to increase)

For example, when you get hooked up to the polygraph machine, your breathing, heartbeat, blood pressure and pupils are all monitored. The polygraph operator must be licensed by the state of Michigan. They will first look for baseline readings of your vital signs. You’re asked a series of questions where the truthful answers are already known, and your responses are recorded to create that ‘baseline’. Then, when you’re questioned about the alleged crime, your reactions are compared to those baseline results from earlier in the hopes of determining if you were being honest or not. That’s a pretty brief and incomplete explanation of polygraph exams. There is much more to them. 

Why do the cops use polygraph tests in sex crime cases?

 It’s something of a dilemma because polygraphs aren’t exactly foolproof. Research has proven that people don’t all respond in the same way to the act of lying. So the results aren’t exactly conclusive, are they? And then there are all those other factors that might influence the way a person responds to certain triggers during a lie detector test, like the “signs of dishonesty” that sometimes present when someone is being honest but is terrified of a false reading. Or when someone feels passionate that they didn’t commit the crime in question.

So why would the cops make you take a lie detector test if you’ve been accused of a sex crime in Michigan? The first answer is that nobody can force you to take a polygraph test in Michigan. However, they are used as investigative tools by police and also by criminal defense attorneys. They aren’t 100% reliable, and the results generally aren’t even admissible in court anyway. So why bother? For law enforcement, the cops are hoping the intimidating process of being hooked up to the machine and questioned will cause someone to crumble under the pressure and make a confession. It’s all part of a tactic to get you to confess. And that’s never a good idea! But that’s not always the case. However, what is ALWAYS the case is that you should never agree to anything before you’ve hired an experienced criminal defense attorney.

You should never agree to a polygraph if you’re accused of a sex crime!

Being pressured into making a confession is often what results in wrongful convictions. As experienced sex crime defense attorneys, we would NEVER recommend that anyone make a confession to the police under pressure, or without the help of their criminal defense attorney. If someone you know has been accused of sexual assault or molestation and the cops ask you to submit to a lie detector test, don’t do it! Stop the conversation and call our criminal defense team right away. 

The top rated sex crimes defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm will make sure that your rights are being properly protected! We’re available 24/7 at 866 766 5245 (866 7NoJail), so make the right choice. Shut up. Lawyer up. Call our office first. The Kronzek Firm’s defense team has been helping our clients in Michigan since the last century, and we’re ready to help you too.

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