Polygraph Evidence in Georgia

Polygraph tests can be a powerful tool in criminal defense. The tests are widely accessible, portable, relatively inexpensive, painless, and simple to administer. However, it is important to understand how polygraphs can be used in court before deciding if a polygraph would be helpful to your case.

In Georgia, polygraph results are only admissible if both parties agree before the test is administered that the results can be used in court regardless of what they results show. This rule comes from the Georgia Supreme Court case State v. Chambers, which was decided in 1977.   That means that your attorney and the prosecutor will have to agree to who administers the test, what questions are on the test, when and where the test is given, and that the results will be admissible during your trial before you take the test. If there is no agreement, the test results cannot be used.

However, the State cannot use your refusal to consent to a polygraph test against you. In Brown v. State, a 1985 Georgia Court of Appeals case, the court reiterated that only the results are admissible, not the fact that a defendant refused to take a polygraph. It is also important to note that a defendant does not have to be represented by counsel at the time they agree to have the results of a polygraph test admitted in court.

Finally, the admission of polygraph evidence is governed by the Georgia Rules of Evidence in that the test must be administered in a reliable manner and the person testifying about the results (the polygraph examiner) must be qualified as an expert.

If you are charged with a serious crime, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer before agreeing to take a polygraph test because once you agree, the results will be admitted in your trial regardless of what the results say. The lawyers at W. Scott Smith are experienced in representing clients charged with murder, rape, child molestation, drug offenses, gang crimes and aggravated assault, and know how to leverage polygraph evidence to benefit our clients. If you are facing criminal charges in Gwinnett, Fulton, Cobb, Douglas, Forsyth, Dekalb, Clayton, or Fayette County, call our office at 404-581-0999 today for a free consultation.