Frequently Asked Questions

Can an employee be forced to take a polygraph test?

NOTE: For suspected employee thefts, see the requirements of the Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) of 1988 – by clicking  here.

How does a polygraph instrument work?

A polygraph instrument records changes in a person’s blood pressure, pulse rate and strength, galvanic skin response (sweat gland activity), and upper and lower breathing patterns. It does not matter if the person being tested becomes “nervous” during the examination – that is very common. The polygraph records significant changes from the subject when specific issue questions are answered. A person intending deception to a particular question will activate his/her Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) as a “self defense” mechanism when that specific issue question (threat) is asked on the test. The SNS activation will cause recognizable changes in one or more of the physiological responses.

Can someone beat the polygraph instrument?

The polygraph instrument works by recording changes in a person’s Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), part of the Autonomic Nervous System, which operates independently of conscious thought.

For example, your lungs and heart continue to operate even when you are asleep – you don’t have to think about it. These systems can be consciously controlled only very slightly, and attempts (countermeasures) to change these systems are usually picked up by the polygraph examiners, who are trained to identify countermeasure techniques. It is highly unlikely that someone can alter the outcome of a polygraph examination, but it is not impossible. A verified accuracy rate as high as 95% attests to this fact.

Use of certain drugs and medications can also affect the polygraph examination, but such use generally results in an “No Opinion” (inconclusive) polygraph examination. It is virtually impossible to change a result from “deceptive” to “truthful” through the use of drugs or medications prior to a polygraph examination.

Is the polygraph examination admissible in court?

It depends. Some courts have allowed the introduction of polygraph evidence while others have not. Each jurisdiction must be checked to determine admissibility standards. One of the greatest fears keeping polygraph evidence out of courts is the fact that such evidence would carry greater weight than other equally-important evidence and would tend to sway a jury in one direction even though other evidence may point the other way. In most cases, polygraph evidence is used during pretrial negotiations, administrative hearings, and during sentencing rather than during the trial itself.

As an attorney, how can a polygraph examination benefit my client?

As an attorney, in both criminal and civil actions, it makes sense to use all available tools to assist you in critical strategies. In tort actions, the polygraph is frequently used to test key fact issues that cannot be corroborated by any other means. A polygraph examination can be used to test the reliability of memories and well as the truthfulness of statements.

In appeals cases, polygraph examinations have been a key part of the arguments that have been successful in courts granting new trials.

Successful criminal defense often includes the use of forensic polygraph examinations of suspects and witnesses. Certainly if the prosecution offers a polygraph examination to your client, you should have confidence in your client’s ability to pass a law enforcement polygraph examination. A polygraph examination is an excellent predictor of how your client will perform in trial, at depositions even in front of public forums.

Our examiners have the highest standards in forensic polygraph examinations. Our examiners are graduates from an APA accredited school and members of several polygraph organizations. All examiners have met the minimum standard of a Bachelor’s degree from accredited Universities. In addition, all examiners have advanced courses of study in interview, interrogation and statement analysis.

Is my deposit refundable?

If the polygraph examiner does not administer your polygraph due to his/her choice or schedule problem, the deposit is refundable. If the client cancels the polygraph examination for any reason, the deposit and additional fees discussed above is forfeited and another deposit must be applied prior to rescheduling.

Can someone under age 18 be administered a polygraph test?

Yes, but the polygraph examiner must first have written consent of a parent or guardian. However, most polygraph examiners will not test anyone under the age of 12 years old barring extraordinary circumstances.