Private investigators can be defined as detectives that obtain evidence for civil or legal proceedings. They obtain information from people about matters regarding their legal rights, personal issues, business transactions and much more. There are many different types of private investigators. Some specialize in corporate and investment frauds, child pornography investigations, insurance claims processing, financial crimes and missing persons cases; while others serve the general public through everyday investigations.
The most common type of private investigator is a copier/detective. They can perform undercover investigations, computer forensics, white collar crime, intellectual property discovery, tax crimes and criminal investigation services. Private detectives may be employed by the government to serve warrants for the government or to serve on private companies behalf. There are also private investigators who work as employees for large law firms such as the white collar crime firm Dent, Conklin, Koob, and Schacht, where they may also specialize in complex corporate crimes, witness protection, corporate identity theft and intellectual property theft; or may work as private detectives for individual clients who seek private investigation services.
There are many other areas of specialized investigation that include forensic science, toxicology, dentistry, genetics, cellular biology, DNA analysis, astrology, alternative medicine, spiritual healing, mediaeval law, psychiatry, pathology, military intelligence, psychology, aerospace technology, photography and surveillance. Many private investigators offer specialized investigative support for criminal defense lawyers. These include investigating serious crime such as murder, manslaughter, arson, assault, DUI, sex crimes, kidnapping, child pornography, sex trafficking and fraud. They also provide investigative support for civil and criminal litigation, including personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents and employment discrimination.
To be considered a reputable private investigator, one must be a graduate degree holder with a four year undergraduate program or an equivalent certification program. They should have a life experience in related disciplines such as criminal justice, police investigation, forensics, communications, computer science, psychology, communication, investigation and strategic planning. They need to possess a clear understanding of legal ethics, professional standards and applicable laws in their particular area of expertise. Most private investigators are United States citizens and cannot legally conduct surveillance without written permission from a parent or guardian. The most important skill a private investigator needs is self discipline, a desire to better their craft and the willingness to follow up on leads generated.
The Internet has made it easy for people to find legitimate investigators online. Many law firms have online directories where clients can browse through listings of current and former investigators. Some law firms provide online investigative services free of charge.
Clients can benefit from utilizing the services of qualified, experienced private investigators who can provide in-depth reports that include specific details about a case, a timeline of events, possible outcomes, and interviews with witnesses. The investigator’s insight into the workings of a case allows them to build a comprehensive picture that makes sense from all perspectives. Their meticulous research and attention to detail provide undeniable evidence of the relevance of their observations. They provide detailed information regarding witness accounts, physical evidence, expert testimony and analysis, search methodologies, and follow up investigations.
A professional private investigator will also possess extensive knowledge of relevant state and federal laws. This type of investigator will have vast experience in uncovering and exposing missing children and exploited women. The best investigators possess a thorough understanding of the investigation process and adept at extracting significant evidence from potential witnesses. Their insight into the workings of the judicial system, the police force, and the private sector will enable them to present clients with a comprehensive overview of the facts in their case.
To hire the right private investigators, be sure to conduct an extensive investigation to vet prospective candidates. Ask friends and colleagues what professionals they trust and recommend to help them with investigations. Gather information on the investigator’s background and education. Discuss how they might be able to use their skills to help you.