Criminal Defense Investigators – What They Do and Why Do They Work
What is a criminal defense investigator and what is their job description? The State of Florida always uses private detectives to work on each possible angle to strengthen their suspect’s case when someone has been charged with a criminal offense. They usually use the services of local law enforcement agencies, state forensic examiners, lab professionals, and yes of course the State Attorneys General. In fact, it is rare for someone to be charged criminally with a crime in which he or she was not initially charged. It is always the State Attorneys General and local law enforcement agencies that investigate crimes.
Once an arrest has been made, the defendant’s attorney will immediately contact criminal defense investigators. These investigators do a thorough investigation to gather information and find witnesses who can corroborate the suspect’s statements. They interview witnesses, gather evidence, conduct interviews, and collect documents. The goal is to build a strong case for the client.
Each criminal defense investigator has his or her own way of working. Most begin their careers by working as a private detective. Many work as private body guards, security contractors, surveillance operators, and/or military personnel. The vast majority of criminal defense investigators start out in this occupation.
Private detectives begin their careers by becoming apprentices with an established law enforcement agency. Typically, they are assigned to one of two positions: Crime Scene Technicians or Laboratory Examiner. The Crime Scene Technicians assess crime scenes, collect evidence, collect witness testimony, and perform other duties as requested by the law enforcement agency. On the other hand, Laboratory Examiner test physical evidence and collect expert witness testimony to construct the criminal defense investigator’s case. As a result, these investigators become the backbone of the law enforcement and legal system as a whole.
As criminal defense investigators work their way up in their respective agencies, they develop relationships with other members of the law enforcement community. Often they begin working as Informers. This means that they obtain information (such as date of birth, social security number, address history, etc) from people who may be involved in a criminal offense. Informers also obtain information about other crimes, the client may have been a part of, and sometimes they investigate subjects on which they will provide testimony.
Criminal defense investigators may also perform investigative work for attorneys. Some of their work may involve conducting interviews and gathering information from criminal defendants. They interview witnesses, obtain court records, perform background investigations (which help determine if a person is guilty or not guilty by determining their financial status and potentials for accomplishing a criminal act), look for police records and try to locate other victims of the same crime. A number of states allow criminal defense investigators to present their findings and recommendations to defense lawyers before a grand jury is selected. Sometimes they are also asked to opine on behalf of the defendants before these juries.
All criminal defense investigators must undergo extensive training. This includes learning about the workings of the law, identifying the target of the investigation (the defendant), the potential outcome that may occur if the case goes to trial and what should be done if the defendant does not cooperate. Although the component method of interviewing suspects is widely used across the country, many investigators still prefer the oral component method. Oral component interviews usually take place at the defendant’s home or place of employment.
Once an investigator has obtained all the information that they need from a suspect, they must compile it into a report. The report that results from the criminal defense investigator’s research usually consists of numerous pieces of paper, a written report and an oral record. These three components are then used by the attorney to assess the case and make an informed decision on whether or not to proceed with the defendant. If the attorney is not satisfied with the investigative report, they will ask for a re-investigation.