What Does a Private Investigator Do?

A private investigator finds information about legal, business, or personal matters. Though they may work to gather evidence for legal cases, they are not law enforcement officers. Instead, they work on behalf of the client who hires them.

Individuals or businesses can hire PIs for a variety of purposes. For example, PIs can perform in-depth background checks for new employees, collect evidence for divorce proceedings, find information to help with civil court cases, or discover facts that help with child custody issues.

Here is a closer look at what PIs can do for their clients.

What Can a Private Investigator Find Out?

A private investigator’s job is to find information. They may have a variety of reasons for collecting info and different methods for doing so, but they must always act within the confines of the law during their work.

PIs can work with public information, such as criminal, police, or court records. They can also perform surveillance, as long as it does not involve entering private property without permission or breaking any other laws.

Private investigators can also interview witnesses or look at video footage or images to gain insights that can help with their case.

What Does a PI Do with the Information?

A private investigator will record and report the information and evidence they discover during their investigations. If the case is more of a personal nature, they will report directly to the client with any video or image evidence that they collect. For cases involving insurance claims or civil litigation, they present the evidence in a way that is admissible in court or that lawyers can use to make their case.

What Cases Does a PI Work On?

A PI can work on a wide variety of cases. Some investigators may specialize in specific areas, such as background checks or divorce or infidelity cases. They may also work on insurance or business fraud cases or collect evidence for civil court cases.

Individuals can hire private investigators, but they can also serve as part of a legal team and collect evidence for lawyers to use. In these instances, they need to follow the correct procedures for obtaining evidence so that it is admissible in court.

What Can a Private Investigator Do Legally?

Private investigators do not have the same powers as law enforcement officers. They cannot arrest people, obtain search warrants, or look at someone’s private messages without permission. However, they can use investigative skills to look at public data, interview witnesses, and collect information to find missing people, locate hidden assets, or find out if someone’s significant other is cheating.

Private investigators can use methods such as obtaining information from someone’s contacts, following them in public places, or looking at public social media feeds to collect evidence.

Do Private Investigators Need a License?

The powers of private investigators vary by state. In most states, they need a license. The accreditation process includes a background check, character witness statements, and documented investigative training or experience.

You should always work with PIs who are fully licensed in your state and who have positive reviews from past clients and documented experience.

What Skills Do Private Investigators Have?

Private investigators have the knowledge to obtain information in a variety of ways. They have the skills to not only perform surveillance but do so without being detected by the subject of their investigation.

Today, private investigators need to know how to collect data via electronic court records, financial statements, or social media accounts. This type of technical knowledge is important for obtaining data in different types of cases, from child custody to divorce to criminal background checks.

PIs also need to have communication skills to convey their findings to the client. This could be done through writing, images, or verbal reports. Investigators must have the legal knowledge to correctly collect and record evidence so that lawyers can use it in court if needed.

How to Find a Good Private Investigator

Private investigators can assist you in personal matters or collect evidence and information for legal or business purposes. Their findings can affect your court case, business, or personal life, so you want to be sure that you work with trustworthy and experienced professionals. 

Barefoot PI has 35 years of experience collecting evidence, conducting surveillance, and running background checks. We can deliver the information that you need for a successful court case or make important personal or business decisions.

Contact us today to learn more about how our investigators can assist you.

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