Unwritten Rules of Private Investigations
What do professional private investigators think about? Here is a checklist for scrutinizing the investigative process:
The Private Investigator is an Extension of the Client. Advanced Professional Investigations represents you, the client. Whether it’s in the courtroom or in the field, we always remain aware of the fact that we are your representatives. We dress professionally, behave accordingly, and never forget that our credibility stems from the way we present ourselves as your representatives in the aspect of investigations, from the beginning of the case to the end.
The Private Investigator must withstand legal scrutiny. Legal scrutiny may come from at least three different areas: the investigator themselves, the investigation process, and the evidence produced.
Investigator: How well do you know your private investigator? How well do you know their background? Do they have anything in their past that may come up on the stand? Restraining orders, stalking and harassment charges and convictions are just a start of what you should know about your investigator’s past history. Do they have a professional demeanor? Believability and credibility in the eyes of the judge and jury are dramatically affected by the impression that an investigator creates on the stand. Could your investigator pass this scrutiny?
Investigations: The methods of investigating a case may come under intense scrutiny when brought to court. Legal ramifications must always be at the forefront of a private investigator’s thought processes. Does your investigator know the differences between surveillance and stalking? Do they know Colorado’s statute regarding harassment? Do they understand what ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ entails with regard to a surveillance or other private investigation? Do they understand the pitfalls of GPS tracking devices and certain types of searches in social media?
Evidence: In this case, evidence describes any documentation produced for a court case. Examples might be a word document, pdf, video or electronic communication. Will the evidence stand up in court? For instance, is there a date and time stamp on the video or photo? Has any documentation been altered or edited? Was the evidence obtained in a legal manner?
There are many other considerations that we as professional private investigators must take into account. Where does your investigator fit into the process?