How polygraph tests can help Georgia suspects

People in Georgia tend to have mixed opinions on polygraph tests-if they even have an opinion at all. One camp purports that the tests are unreliable and easy to beat. Another camp recognizes potential flaws while still understanding that these tests have a lot to offer.

The reality is that they do provide tremendous value in many cases. In fact, they have helped criminal suspects in Georgia avoid charges or have led to charges being dropped.

Official use

While Georgia courts do not generally accept polygraph test results as evidence, there are a few exceptions. One is a case in which both parties agree that the results of the test can be used. Another situation occurs when some sex offenders are required to take the tests as part of their probation. The use of the test in these cases can help clear suspects.

Avoiding trial and improving plea deals

Polygraph tests also help attorneys negotiate better plea deals for some of their clients. In fact, a polygraph test result can lead some prosecutors to decide not to bring charges in the first place.

If authorities think Suspect A has committed the crime but the polygraph indicates otherwise, these police officers and prosecutors are often more likely to give the suspect's claim more credibility. They may not necessarily drop charges altogether but can become much more willing to avoid trial and to negotiate a plea deal. In fact, these tests can be especially helpful in cases where the tangible evidence is iffy. For example, a student accused of rape in a "he said, she said" case could be cleared after taking a polygraph test.

A suspect cannot be forced to take a polygraph test. What many attorneys do is have an expert administer one without the knowledge of other officials. If results are favorable for the suspect, the attorney shares them. So, polygraph tests come with a lot of upsides and very little downsides for criminal suspects.

Narrowing down the field of suspects

Polygraph tests can also take suspects out of contention. Suppose that there has been a murder, and police identify five probable suspects. One of the quickest ways to narrow down the field and to make the best use of police time and resources is to administer a polygraph test to each suspect. Many suspects get cleared much more quickly and no longer have to endure intense and misappropriated police scrutiny for weeks, months or years.

Polygraph tests have become more reliable as their technology has improved. If a suspect in Georgia thinks that testing could help his or her case, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney about getting one done.