Private Investigators – Gathering Evidence For Court
A private investigator, an investigative agent or a private detective, is someone who may be employed by people, institutions or NGOs to undertake investigative services. Private investigators also work as agents for attorneys in criminal and civil matters. They are experts at gathering evidence and information that can be used in court. Most private investigators have at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. The majority also receive additional training to become an investigator and some obtain certifications in criminal justice to be able to pursue their chosen career.
One of the most common types of private investigators work for law firms, investigating and gathering information for lawsuits and other legal matters. They often find out details about matters such as the client’s real estate investments, business dealings and family matters. In some instances, they may even pose as clients and visit the office or home of an individual they are investigating. The main advantage of secretly working as an operative is that agents can get valuable information about a target that their employers would never want revealed to the general public. While this kind of spying is often done for business reasons, undercover investigations are frequently done as part of a court case. For instance, it may be necessary to gather evidence against a person accused of committing a felony in a court of law.
In this kind of situation, undercover investigations provide invaluable assistance to attorneys handling a criminal case. These professionals are able to gather and document various forms of evidence that could be crucial in the case. Some investigators specialize in one specific field of criminal justice, while others work for several different law firms, specializing in different areas of criminal investigation services.
When hiring an investigator to conduct discreet criminal investigations, it is important to ensure that he has the skills, qualifications and experience required to deliver quality services. Often, private investigators are required to undergo specialized training courses. These courses are often held by legitimate law enforcement agencies and are designed to help officers learn how to spot potential clues that will lead to the discovery of criminal activities or evidence. Such training helps prepare officers to conduct discreet surveillance and interviews in a way that is indistinguishable from that of their police colleagues.
Private investigators must also be licensed by a state agency to work as covert agents. Such agents are required to have a high school diploma or its equivalent and a certification from the National Association of Legal Investigators or NALI. The certification proves that the private detectives has pursued a course of study that meets the standards set forth by the state agency and that he or she has passed the state’s examination.
As with all types of surveillance work, candidates applying for employment with a private investigator must pass a comprehensive background check. Candidates who have been previously employed as an undercover police officer or as an intelligence analyst are more likely to pass this preliminary screening. A thorough background check will reveal any convictions, a candidate may have had for criminal behavior, including but not limited to assault, arson, theft or other offenses. It will also reveal if the applicant has ever lied under oath or otherwise provided false information regarding his or her criminal history.
Investigators who wish to work on surveillance cases will need to attend an interview alongside at least three other candidates. The interview will determine if the candidate is eligible for hire and will often take place in a nearby motel room or restaurant. The goal of the interview is to discover whether the candidate possesses the skills needed to gather evidence and to follow leads discreetly and effectively. Potential employers can use the interview to assess if the candidate is trustworthy, cooperative, honest, and detail-oriented. Private investigators are usually very detail-oriented and if they do not gather information that is usable, they will be ineffective as an investigative professional.
Some states require prospective private investigators to pass examinations in criminal investigation before they can legally practice. The exams vary, but most include questions about background research, computer crimes, intellectual property violations, deception and other spying tactics. Once all the necessary tests are passed, the state Board of License will issue an investigator’s license. Private investigators who work independently may also work as part of an investigation team in order to gather additional evidence that cannot be found using conventional methods. There are a number of agencies throughout the country that hire private investigators for surveillance projects including corporations, the government, and the private sector.