How to hire a private investigator

writing-in-journalWhen it comes to hiring your own private investigator, you may come across with a lot of choices. But with the right criteria, you are sure to end up with someone who’s experienced in the field and will surely make the job done.

Here are some tips on how to you could hire a well-experienced private investigator:

Make a list of possible private investigators – Looking up some names or agencies via Google search or the Yellow Pages is a good place to start. However, with the many names that pop up, you are never sure which ones are the trustworthy and are actually experienced. If you want to guarantee a private eye that’s reputable, you can try asking for referrals. You can go ask your relatives and friends but the best group that can refer you to the right PI are the clerk from a police department, watch commander from the sheriff’s department, criminal defense lawyers, and the duty agency at a local FBI.

Ensure that the private eye is licensed – After coming up with a list of good private eyes, you can check out the ones that are licensed. There are restrictions being implemented amongst private investigators that vary from state to state so make sure that you know what your current state requires. For you to be sure, you can try contacting the licensing division of your state’s Department of Consumer Affairs so that you can verify with them the license that your preferred private eye owns.

Look at the private eye’s past or background – You can do a little bit of investigation yourself by taking a look at the past or background of your private eye prospects. Make sure that they have a reputable amount of experience so that it will give you assurance that they can do their job right. Take a look at their level of technical knowledge based on the previous cases that they’ve handled if it is available. Through this process, you can eliminate from your list those private eye’s which you think are incapable of doing the job and leave out the good ones.

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Find out if the private investigator is prepared to testify in court – A reputable private eye have a sheer understanding of the justice system in court and he also knows his way around to make everything work in your favor. Even if you think that going to the court will be necessary for your situation, it’s good to know that your private eye can possess such skills just in case.

Interview your private eye prospects in person – If you want to experience firsthand how your chosen private eye interact in real life, the best way to do that is by meeting them in person. Just like any professional, they need to be human enough to communicate with their clients very well. This is also a way for you to build a solid relationship with your private eye since it’s likely that you will be working with each for a long time. Through this process, you can ensure how your private eye works and if they indeed possess a good personality.

So make sure that you carry out the steps above to guarantee that your private eye is someone who you can trust and not someone who will make you lose your case.

Next you should read my post called Private investigation: What a man can do (and what he shouldn’t), or return to private investigator Atlanta.

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Private investigation: What a man can do (and what he shouldn’t)

To become a private investigator, a person must be licensed by the state. In addition to other requirements, licensing by the state often requires a certain measure of experience: this may be direct experience, such as with a law enforcement agency, or as a staff member working for a licensed private investigative firm. This requirement varies from state to stay, across a considerable margin; in Connecticut, for example, the minimum requirement is five years experience, while in Massachusetts – right next door – it’s three.

This is because a private investigator is neither an official law enforcement officer, nor is he restricted solely to the information which is available to a civilian. Likewise, he is not affected by certain restrictions available to either such individual, which makes him useful to both parties… as when he is called upon by a business owner to investigate the possibility of his partner’s embezzlement, or else he is retained by a legitimate law enforcement agency to help gather evidence in a case that’s gone cold.

Things a Private Investigator Can Do

Bear in mind that these lists are by no means exhaustive. They do, however, provide some good general information as to the guidelines regulating the activities of private investigators.

Listen in on a conversation:

A private investigator cannot legally record a conversation without the knowledge of any of the parties involved. This includes wiretapping. However, should they be in a position to overhear a conversation, they may listen in, and use the information to further their investigation. In an official capacity, a police officer often cannot do this, as they cannot “officially” be present on private property without permission.

Utilize records unavailable to the public:

Part of a private investigator’s licensing covers the fact that they are allowed to utilize certain records – including databases of property ownership, cellphone records, banking information, and other background checks – if they are pertinent to a case they are investigating.

Things a Private Investigator Cannot Do

There are private investigators in countries all over the world. In some cases, the law differs markedly as to what a private investigator is allowed to do, but the following requirements – from the United States – are generally applicable.

Impersonate:

Specifically, a private investigator cannot impersonate a member of an official law enforcement agency. In most states, and around the world, he is also barred from impersonating a clergy-person. There may be additional guidelines as well; you will need to check the laws in your state of residence to be certain.

Improper background checking:

A private investigator has access to a wide variety of sensitive personal information. Often, a private investigator can obtain banking and phone records with regards to the subject of an ongoing investigation. However, they cannot do so spuriously; they must be able to demonstrate that the records they are obtaining are pertinent to an active ongoing investigation.

Trespassing:

A law enforcement officer cannot go on private property in any official capacity without a warrant. However, a private investigator can. What they cannot do is literally trespass – meaning that they are subject to the same laws as every private citizen: once they have been warned off of private property, whether by a sign or verbally, they must leave it immediately or risk facing criminal charges.


Picking a lock to gain entry is trespassing, and will land a PI in some serious hot water.

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