As licensed private investigators, we encounter a myriad of questions from clients and the public about the scope of our profession and what falls under our purview. In this blog post, we’ll address the top 10 questions that we frequently receive, offering insights into the world of licensed private investigation.

1. Can You Carry a Gun as a Private Investigator?

While a private investigator’s license grants additional authority, carrying a firearm requires a separate license or credential. In most states, a special firearms carry permit, distinct from a civilian concealed carry permit, is necessary. This additional step is taken to ensure proper training and qualification, recognizing that private investigators may find themselves in more potentially dangerous situations.

2. Can a Licensed Private Investigator Arrest People?

In most states, the power to arrest is similar for private investigators and civilians. While some states may grant additional arrest allowances in the line of duty, it usually involves immediate contact with law enforcement. Private investigators primarily focus on investigations and gathering information rather than making arrests.

3. What Can a Private Investigator Do for Asset Searches and Recovery?

Asset searches and recovery constitute a significant part of a private investigator’s workload. Investigating hidden assets and aiding in fund recovery, especially in cases involving judgments, requires meticulous examination of financial records. The process may culminate in obtaining a writ of garnishment from the court for the legal seizure of identified assets.

4. Can I Get a Job as a Private Investigator?

While opportunities exist, becoming a private investigator involves obtaining a license, usually after serving as an observed or managed intern. Finding a job in the field requires commitment and a long-term plan, as well as compliance with state licensing requirements.

5. Can Private Investigators Secretly Record Phone Conversations?

In most states, laws prohibit covert recording or monitoring of private conversations without the consent of all parties involved. Understanding and adhering to these laws is crucial to maintaining ethical standards in the profession.

6. How Is Surveillance Conducted by Private Investigators?

While surveillance is a stereotypical image associated with private investigators, it is not the sole method employed. Document research, analytics, and digital forensics play increasingly significant roles, making surveillance a tool used selectively and judiciously.

7. Can Private Investigators Track Someone’s Location Using GPS?

In general, using GPS to track someone without their knowledge is prohibited by state laws. Exceptions may exist for safety and security purposes, but tracking for the sole purpose of monitoring someone’s activities is likely to be deemed illegal.

8. What Is Involved in Digital Forensics for Private Investigators?

Private investigators often engage in digital forensics, extracting information from electronic devices like phones, tablets, and computers. Deleted records can also be recovered, providing valuable insights for investigations.

9. Can Private Investigators Work on Contingency?

Most states prohibit private investigators from working on contingency due to ethical concerns. Contingency arrangements may compromise the objectivity and integrity of the investigation, and professionals are expected to be impartial in their findings.

10. Do Private Investigators Have to Notify Law Enforcement?

Private investigators are generally not obligated to notify law enforcement about their cases. However, in certain situations, such as surveillance, it may be advisable to inform local law enforcement to prevent misunderstandings.

Bonus: Investigating the Other Side in Litigation Cases

Private investigators can play a crucial role in litigation cases by examining the activities of the counterparty. This includes scrutinizing their investigative methods for any legal violations, potentially uncovering valuable information for the client’s case.

The world of licensed private investigation is nuanced, governed by state laws, ethical standards, and the commitment to uncovering truth and facts. If you have more questions or topics you’d like us to cover, feel free to leave them in the comments or reach out to us at activeintel. We’re here to shed light on the mysteries of our profession.