Brandon criminal defense attorneys are often asked about the impact of polygraph tests and the admission of same. In short, no, they are not admissible in Florida courts. Before going too far into why they are not yet admissible, it is worth highlighting specifically how these machines are supposed to work.
Polygraphs are intended to detect certain physical indicators of being untruthful; the most obvious example is an increased heart rate. Obviously, there are a whole host of other factors that are indicative of deception or dishonesty, but this is most simply to identify for the sake of this article. For purposes of a polygraph, different medical devices are utilized to measure one’s pulse rate and blood pressure to attempt to isolate such changes.
As to why these “tests” are not admissible, Florida uses the Daubert standard to determine the admissibility of scientific evidence. Prior to this year, Florida used the Frye test, which was a different test and standard than the overwhelming majority of jurisdictions. Daubert is also the preferred standard of our Federal Courts. Under the new standard, scientific evidence will be admissible if it meets the following three standards:
1. the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data;
2. the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and
3. the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.
Thus far, Florida courts have yet to allow polygraph results to be admissible despite the changing of the admissibility standard. There are obviously very strong arguments based on all three factors towards barring the admissibility of polygraphs. Most notably, our Brandon criminal defense attorneys argue that polygraphs simply aren’t based on reliable principles and methods since measuring deception is essentially almost impossible without certain known facts. Regardless, polygraphs are not admissible in Florida and we do not anticipate them being admissible until the technology significantly improves.
Many clients wish to take a polygraph to “show the police I’m not lying” and are well intended, but our Brandon criminal defense attorneys will generally recommend against doing so based solely on the unreliability of these machines. There are a whole host of factors that could potentially effect one’s physical factors during such an interview, including being placed in a windowless room in a police station surrounded by officers trying to arrest you and other relevant factors that may lead to an increase in your pulse and blood pressure. Unfortunately, that is where the real deception is in a polygraph – it detects all discomfort and anxiety as indicative of deception.
If you or someone you know has questions concerning their Tampa criminal case and/or the use of polygraph machines, contact the Brandon criminal defense attorneys of Hackworth Law for a free case consultation. We have literally handled thousands of cases throughout the Tampa Bay Area. If you would like to contact one of our Brandon criminal defense attorneys immediately, please use the “contact us now” tab in the upper right hand corner of our website. Thanks for checking out our Tampa criminal defense lawyer blog and we look forward to working with you.