Can I be forced to take a polygraph test?

UPDATED: Oct 19, 2011

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Can I be forced to take a polygraph test?

An investigator contacted me to demand that I return to the state that I just moved from. He says he has a witness that I stole something from my former neighbors and if I don’t return and take a polygraph to clear my name he will put a warrant out for my arrest. Do I have to return? Since I didn’t do it, I know his witness is lying. Can I ignore his threats? What will a warrant there do to me here?

Asked on October 19, 2011 under Criminal Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Get a criminal defense attorney--now--if you are possibly faced with criminal prosecution (even if you think that at the end of the day you are innocent and would prevail).

You do not say who is "investigator" is. If he is with the police, then possibly he could compel you to return, if either there is enough evidence for an arrest warrant against you or if you are in some fashion subpoened to testify (as before a grand jury). You need to take the threat seriously, and again, need the advice and representation of counel to deal with it.

If he is a private investigator or an investigator for an insurance company, he has no power over you directly--he can refer the matter to the authorities and see if they are interested, but he himself cannot issue an arrest warrant.

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