Sex Offender Polygraph Questions: Everything You Need to Know
Across the United States, sexual assault offenses are among the top crimes that are being charged with the harshest of penalties. Upon conviction, an offender not only has to deal with the likely reality of confinement, but once their sentence is over, the punishment continues to exist. This is because a person convicted of a sex crime will most likely be required to register as a sex offender, i.e. the Michigan Sex Offender Registry, which has life-altering consequences.
Due to the high stakes when dealing with sexual assault cases, the prosecution will go to any length to prove or challenge the defense. Therefore, the defense has to fight back twice as hard. Other than the numerous sexual assault defense strategies that will be used in defending the accused, the defense will often have the accused subject themself to taking a private polygraph test.
Sex Offender Polygraph Questions
A polygraph test, also known as a lie detector test, can be offered by the prosecution or government. If you take a polygraph test administered by the prosecution or government, they decide the questions and parameters of the test. The defense has no say during the entire process.
On the other hand, if you take a private polygraph set up by your defense team, they will choose a well respected polygraph examiner to administer the test, then the defense will be able to use the results when talking to the prosecutor or government.
This article focuses on polygraph testing (lie detectors) and what it can mean for your case.
Understanding the Polygraph Test
A polygraph test is an examination performed on a person to determine the truthfulness of their statements. It involves using an instrument called a polygraph and a set of questions. According to data supported by the National Research Council, polygraph examinations can be a great way of establishing the truth when matched with the right set of questions.
Typically, six polygraph sensors are placed on the subject’s body to detect changes during the polygraph examination. The sensors are designed to detect and measure the candidate’s:
- Breathing volume and rate
- Relative blood pressure
- Electrodermal activity
- Gross motor movements
Many people think that they can beat a polygraph. The accused may even sit and read articles on “how to beat a polygraph test,” however the above listed sensors do not lie. They will detect and show deception to the polygraph examiner.
Can Polygraph Testing Be Used in Court?
The short answer is NO. Although the polygraph examination results are not admissible in court, the results can be used for purposes of negotiations with the prosecutor. Although dismissal is always going to be the goal when the suspect has not done anything illegal, if a plea deal is a possibility, the results of a passed polygraph can go a long way during negotiations for the best possible outcome that exists for your circumstances.
Explanation of the Polygraph Procedure
A reliable polygraph examination must have the correct set of questioning and has three main sections, which involves the following different forms of questioning:
- Pretest Interview: This section of a polygraph exam is used to determine a person’s baseline parameters in their response to questions. In this section, the examiner asks non-accusatory questions where the answers are used as the standard for physiological changes.
- Material Questions Phase: After determining a subject’s baseline parameters, the questioning takes a more probative approach. The polygraph examiner will ask the interviewee relevant questions dealing with the accusations in order to establish if they committed the offense.
- Chart Collection and Examination: This is the last section of the polygraph examination and involves comparing the physiological changes observed in the above two sections to determine if the subject was truthful or not.
There are three possible outcomes from a polygraph examination, which include:
- The subject passes the test
- The subject fails the test
- The results are inconclusive
Purpose of a Polygraph Examination: To Prove Your Innocence
When facing Michigan criminal sexual conduct charges, you are entitled, by law, to a lie detector test, if you want one. All you have to do is tell your criminal sexual conduct attorney you want to take a polygraph examination and they will simply let the prosecutor know, then it will typically be set up for you.
With that said, the best approach for a suspect to prove his innocence is to first take a private polygraph by a trusted examiner, of which your criminal defense attorney will provide. The results of a private polygraph can help ascertain whether or not you can pass the prosecutor’s polygraph exam. If you pass with flying colors, then after passing the private test, you should then take the prosecution’s test.
Polygraph Administered By the Police (for the Prosecution) vs. Private Polygraph
Many people facing sexual offense charges take police-issued polygraph examinations hoping they can beat the device. The chances of beating the device are very slim, and a failed test can hugely hurt your case and future.
If you take a police administered polygraph, the prosecution can use the pre-interview and the post-interview done by the police officer, prior to and after the exam, against you. The pre-interview and the post-interview are typically audio taped and/or video taped. These interviews are not designed to assist the suspect, they are designed to get you to talk and say things you might otherwise not say.
You have a right to reject taking a polygraph exam, and your refusal can not be used against you.
There are Several Reasons Why Taking a Test May Be a Bad Idea
A police-issued polygraph exam is designed to prove guilt rather than innocence, so the questioning typically differs from questions used in a private polygraph test. Unless you are 100% certain that you will pass, the following reasons are why you may want to avoid taking a police-issued polygraph exam:
- The interaction during the pre- and post-interview could be used against you
- You can’t have your lawyer with you when taking the actual test; without your lawyer by your side, you are exposing yourself to vulnerability
- The person administering the lie detector is a skilled police officer who has special training on how to tactfully get answers from you that you otherwise would never say
Post-Conviction Polygraph Exam
A polygraph examination can also be used after conviction. Post-conviction polygraph tests help determine convicted sex offenders’ sexual history and ensure probation and treatment compliance.
These tests are conducted in confidentiality and can only be accessed by the probation officer or the attending therapist when determining a sex offender treatment program.
There are several types of sexual history polygraph examinations, which include:
Maintenance polygraph examinations cover a specific period after conviction and can be used to advise the probation officer about possible sanctions to place against a convicted sex offender, if the possibility of reoffending is detected.
Full Disclosure Sexual History Examinations
This test is administered to convicted offenders that are not in denial about their conviction and is used to determine an offender’s lifetime history of sexual criminal activity. A Full Disclosure Sexual History Polygraph Examination is strictly used to determine a convicted offender’s level of supervision or treatment program.
Specific Issue Denial Test
This test is conducted on a convicted offender within a short time after the conviction. The test is designed to help an offender in denial about their conviction to take responsibility for their actions or identify an innocent person.
Parental Risk Assessment
Parental risk assessment is used to determine a convicted person’s risk of engaging in criminal sexual behaviors, which can help the probation officer or social services determine the risk an offender poses to their children, if reunited with them.
Let Criminal Defense Attorney Nicole Blank Becker Help You with Your Case
Being charged with a sex crime is the worst kind of charge anyone can face because the ramifications can last a lifetime. Therefore, you must ensure that you do not approach a sex crime charge alone or without a skilled attorney who focuses solely on sex crimes. If you live in Michigan, or anywhere else in the USA, your go-to lawyer for all sex crime offenses is attorney Nicole Blank Becker of Blank Law, PC.
Nicole’s law firm, Blank Law, PC, focuses solely on sex crimes, meaning she is well versed when it comes to everything there is to know about sex crimes in Michigan. Nicole’s credentials are exactly what you need when you are falsely accused of CSC.
Nicole Blank Becker has practiced law for over two decades and has served on both sides of the law: as both a prosecutor in Macomb County, as the county’s Chief of Sex Crimes and Chief of Child Abuse Crimes, and as a criminal defense attorney in Detroit. This experience alone puts her in a class of her own when it comes to defending those accused of sex crimes.
Do not let the police trick you into taking a lie detector test that could destroy your future. Instead, let Nicole Blank Becker guide you and assist you in navigating one of the worst times in your life. Nicole knows that innocent people are charged with false sexual accusations all the time and she believes in helping to maintain your innocence and freedom. Nicole is there to help when you need it most.
To book a free consultation with Nicole Blank Becker for your case, contact Blank Law online or call us at (248) 515-6583 today.