A private investigator’s main job is to gather information for her or his clients. Depending on the case, this could involve a wide variety of different investigative activities. These activities will generally include interviewing people, performing some background checks, conducting surveillance, and tracking down personal, legal, and financial information. However, it is crucial to note that specific jurisdictions within states have local requirements for private investigators to follow. Read on to learn about different jobs that private investigators can and can not do!
Can a Private Investigator Arrest People?
Private investigators aren’t police officers and don’t have the authority to place people under arrest. This is true even in certain cases where a private investigator is a witness to a crime. However, information that is collected by that investigator could be used by police to lead to someone’s arrest. Some jurisdictions don’t allow for citizen arrests, but this is a common practice and unrelated to one’s role as a private investigator. In jurisdictions that allow for any citizen’s arrests, private investigators should ensure that they entirely understand the law and ensure that they’re staying compliant with it.
Can a Private Investigator Spy?
Privacy laws are a hot topic today, and private investigators have to be very aware of them to ensure their compliance with all relevant state, federal, and local privacy laws. The movies will usually show private investigators lurking around at night, taking pictures of people inside their homes, and stalking people in private. This isn’t allowed by the law. Each person has a right to privacy inside their houses and on their own property. Private investigators who violate these privacy laws will find themselves in legal trouble. However, if a person is in public, then a private investigator can take pictures of that person and surveil them as a part of their investigation. However, private investigators should be cautious and stay current on all local regulations regarding photographing or recording people out in public.
Are Private Investigators Allowed to Trespass?
Private investigators, much like anyone else, can go anywhere they please in public. However, they are not allowed to trespass on private property, break into, or gain access to, any building, storage area, device, filing cabinet, or private property without the correct permission. Hollywood usually depicts private investigators trespassing as an aspect of their job but breaking into buildings, climbing over fences into personal property, and going through file cabinets that do not belong to them. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
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