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Are the results of a polygraph test be admissible in court in California?

West Covina, CA |
Filed under: Criminal defense

The defendant took and failed 2 polygraph exams. Are the results admissible in court? Also, can what the defendant said to the polygrapher be used in court? The person wasn't in custody at the time, but agreed to be tested.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. No.

    Evidence Code 351.5 says:

    (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the results of a polygraph examination, the opinion of a polygraph examiner, or any reference to an offer to take, failure to take, or taking of a polygraph examination, shall not be admitted into evidence in any criminal proceeding, including pretrial and post conviction motions and hearings, or in any trial or hearing of a juvenile for a criminal offense, whether heard in juvenile or adult court, unless all parties stipulate to the admission of such results.
    (b) Nothing in this section is intended to exclude from evidence statements made during a polygraph examination which are otherwise admissible.

    The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case.


  2. No. However, with regard to the actual statements made, it would depend on the context of the statements. If they were voluntary, they might be admissible, even if the test results were not.

    No legal advice is given here. My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must NOT be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions & Answers forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by joint execution of a written agreement for legal services. I am only licensed in the States of California and New York and the District of Columbia


  3. The polygraph results are typically not allowed for testimony, but there's a few exceptions. The statements are likely to come in if they are admissions. A criminal defense trial is like a chess match. The award for winning is one sided. The prosecution has nothing to lose and the defendant is playing for their freedom. Unlike the old days the defendant today can have an attorney who is familiar with the rules and strategies represent them. My recommendation is to lawyer up.

    The response above is not intended as legal advice since it’s impracticable to provide thorough, accurate advice based upon the query without additional details. It is highly recommended that one should seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting. Moreover, this response does not constitute the creation of an attorney-client relationship since this message is not a confidential communication because it was posted on a public website, thereby publicly disclosing the information, which is another reason to setup a confidential meeting with an attorney.


  4. Absolutely not


  5. I don't think there is one state where it is admissible. It is a tool used by offers to come back and say "you are lying, tell us the truth." It's a tool to get a confession, nothing else.

    This is not intended as individual legal advice and there is no attorney client relationship established by this answer. It is advisable that you seek individualized legal assistance. This is not a substitute for hiring an attorney.

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