A private investigator, a paralegal, a detective or investigation agent, is someone who may be employed by people, companies or NGOs to undertake investigative functions. Private investigators also often work for lawyers in criminal and civil matters. The term “private investigator” refers to any of these people. One can hire a private investigator as a consultant, a spy or a secret agent.
The investigations undertaken by investigators tend to be complex and time-consuming. They may start with simple suspicion that leads to more detailed investigation. Investigators carry out all necessary actions under the law. Private detectives may follow their targets to the fullest extent possible, using all means available to trace the target.
There are different kinds of investigators. Some concentrate on intellectual property crimes like intellectual property theft. Other investigators specialize in white collar crimes like fraud, tax evasion and money laundering. Private investigators are also called upon to investigate crimes against children and the elderly. The latter cases are less explored and often remain under a cloak of secrecy.
Investigators’ credentials vary according to agencies from which they are recruited. Usually, investigators are required to have no criminal record. The only major prerequisite is for investigators to possess a high school degree or GED (General Education Diploma). It is also important that the individual be honest and above board in their dealings with both clients and law enforcement officials.
Besides getting to know people by collecting information, investigators get to know about a case by performing a thorough investigation. These investigations help to strengthen a suspect’s defense. Private detectives also document findings and present them as a strong case for the client. They compile reports, interview witnesses and do extensive research on the crime, the victim and the defendant. Together with their clients, they prepare and submit expert testimony in court.
One major responsibility of investigators is to assess and defend any criminal charges brought against a defendant. Their work will be presented in court by the prosecution and help to build a defendant’s defense. Most private detectives receive additional education after obtaining their first job. They may continue to educate themselves throughout their career as long as they choose to.
Private detectives play an integral role in keeping track of all evidence related to a criminal case. They compile dossiers detailing each witness interviewed, the investigator’s observations, photos and any other information pertinent to the case. The dossiers are then presented to the defense attorney for use in court. Along with their other findings, these dossiers provide crucial information to attorneys handling criminal cases of all types.
The investigations that private detectives perform are far-reaching and vast. Because of this, many times the statements or details that a defense attorney needs to successfully mount a successful defense are not included in the reports prepared. The dossiers that private detectives compile are also often used outside of the court system as reports and exhibits for depositions, trials and other legal proceedings.
What is a criminal defense investigator? As stated previously, this title is a misnomer. A forensic investigator is a different kind of investigator altogether. This type of private detective has received additional training and in-depth study on how to collect and evaluate evidence, especially in a criminal case.
This particular investigator is most often called upon to serve as an independent witness who provides critical testimony in a court of law. As is the case in all law enforcement officers, they must be thoroughly familiar with all laws pertaining to their particular area of expertise. Their goal is to present an unbiased view of any given situation. Because of their oaths, private detectives are expected to provide accurate, professional and objective opinions when asked to help a client.
This line of work is a demanding one, which is why many choose to hire outside professionals to assist them in their cases. What is a criminal defense investigator? An ex-prosecutor or former police officer can be an excellent choice. Many former government officials have established a successful private investigation firms that utilize their experience and knowledge in order to help clients. These individuals will have a wealth of knowledge about judges, juries, lawyers and other courtroom personnel and will understand how to dig up dirt on a person that might otherwise escape detection.
Another option for those looking to hire an investigator to dig up dirt on a person might be to contact law enforcement agencies themselves. Often, these agencies own a unit that is charged with conducting sting operations. In these sting operations, a sting team is formed by a detective and several other employees. The goal is to entice a target into making contact with the investigative team, which is where a criminal defense investigator would be helpful.