A private investigator is an independent detective, or agency hired to gather information covertly. Private investigators operate similarly to attorneys in the sense that they provide investigative services and offer legal advice. However, in most jurisdictions, the two roles are segregated and each profession is regulated separately. There are also differences in function and methodology depending upon the industry. You can check out Steven Feakes & Associates info on the particular details.
Classifying Private Investigators
Private investigators are more like consultants than cops. That means that they are usually not armed, they don’t have arrest powers. They work as an independent contractor for their client. They are licensed by state and county and must abide by a code of ethics. The specific licensing requirements vary from state to state though. In some circumstances, PIs are paid by the job, but most get paid on a retainer basis.
There are many different private investigative agencies in the United States. Some specialize in personal or family matters such as child custody cases, missing persons, infidelity, and more while others are concerned with criminal investigations such as corporate fraud cases, theft investigations, and financial investigations.
The Dangers Involved
The investigative job, along with the confidentiality aspects, also has a certain amount of danger involved. A private investigator lives on the edge of both law and morality. The private investigator uses their knowledge of the legal system to help with work. A good private investigator will always follow all the laws in gathering information and also knows what can and cannot do as far as procedure is concerned.
Who Hires Private Investigators?
Private investigators are hired by private citizens in need of information or to conduct investigations on their behalf. Often, the requests are for a wide range of services including background checks and credit checks. Sometimes these requests come from financial institutions and insurance companies.
The investigative process is confidential up to a certain point where client confidentiality must be broken in order to prosecute someone for a crime such as theft or fraud. In other instances, private investigators help find information that would be beneficial to the client’s case in court or on the witness stand.
There are many private detectives who specialize in surveillance services. This is a very common practice used in many divorces; the client installs hidden cameras to catch the unfaithful party. In other cases, private detectives are installed as employees at a business to discover trade secrets and other stolen proprietary information. Insurance fraud investigators also perform this type of service by placing GPS devices in cars so they can track them when accidents happen or people claim false damages.
Know Your Rights
It is essential for consumers to understand their rights when dealing with private investigators. One of the most important rights is to be informed whether the investigator is working for a private company or individual, the names of all other clients being served by the investigator, and any attorney or agency that may be associated with your case. Consumers are encouraged to ask for identification from your investigator before any work takes place. State laws may require investigators to file a bond if they are operating without an established business.
Private Investigators and Confidentiality
Many consumers want to know whether their personal information will remain private when using a private investigator. Authorities are required by law to keep client information private unless they receive authorization from the client. Consumers with questions are encouraged to ask for references or contact their local Better Business Bureau for more information on an agency or individual.
Private Investigators License Information
In order to become a private investigator, one must first get licensed to work as a PI. The most common licensing authority is the state government in which the PI is doing business. Other licensing agencies exist, however, for example in some states one must also have a license from the state police. The purpose of these licenses is to ensure competency and experience levels as well as corporate accountability.
A private investigator is trained to collect information about a specific subject. They are great at getting information on people or events that may not otherwise be available such as learning what your spouse is up to when you’re away for the weekend or finding out whether a business has been taken over by criminals. A private investigator is also great at finding the truth behind a situation and knowing how to make accurate assumptions about a person based on limited facts.