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Hiring a private investigator in the US is legal, but this doesn’t mean they have unlimited authority to carry out any investigations they choose. In fact, there are an awful lot of activities that are completely illegal for a private investigator (or PI) to carry out. Despite being a regulated and licensed trade in most US states, a PI has no more legal rights than that of every US citizen.

The following discusses what a private investigator is legally allowed to do in the course of his or her duties, some of the reasons you might hire a PI, and your responsibilities if you choose to do so.

What Can You Hire a Private Investigator to Do?

  •     Civil and criminal investigations
  •     Legal activities for a private investigator
  •     What responsibilities do you have when you hire a PI?

Civil and criminal investigations

Private investigators work in many niche areas of the trade, which we’ll discuss in more detail in a moment. However, no matter what area they might be carrying out investigations, these will either fall under the umbrella of being a civil or criminal matter. 

Depending on which jurisdiction the investigation falls under will determine the individual rules and procedures they’re governed by. A regulated and scrupulous PI will be well aware of what he or she can legally undertake and will advise if you request anything that would require them to step outside of these parameters.

Legal activities for a private investigator

No matter what they’ve been tasked with, the main job that PIs carry out is that of gathering information. This can then be used in situations where a fact needs to be proven or perhaps used in a court of law as evidence.

Private Investigators use a multitude of means to root out the required information,  including some of the following:

      Searching public records

      Online and social media searches

      Observation and surveillance

      Background checks

      Deep research into archived records 

What responsibilities do you have if you hire a private investigator?

It’s important to remember that a private investigator has no more legal powers than that of any other private US citizen. If you hire a PI to carry out investigations on your behalf you’re responsible for providing them with legitimate information to ensure they’re not being duped into unwittingly carrying out illegal activities.

What Activities are Illegal for a Private Investigator? 

As already stated, PIs have no more rights than you do. This means that certain investigations are against the law, no matter what state they live and/or work in. Some examples of illegal acts include:

      Trespassing on private property

      Placing GPS trackers on vehicles

      Placing bugs or wiretaps to listen in on private conversations

      Computer hacking

      Causing intimidation or physical harm

What Should You Look for When Hiring a Private Investigator?

Many states provide licenses for private investigators. These differ slightly from region to region and can include whether or not a PI is legally allowed to carry a firearm. Good PIs know their trade and the laws within which they can operate in intricate detail, and a detailed conversation as to what it is you require should highlight their depth of knowledge in their trade.

Many good PIs specialize in a particular niche, such as missing persons, fraud investigations, or proof of infidelity. As with any trade, specialists increase the likelihood of a satisfactory result. However, by far the most important aspect is to satisfy yourself that any PI you hire operates within his or her required remit and doesn’t engage in any illegal activities.

Contact Fast Guard Service for the Best Licensed Private Investigator Services 

Fast Guard Service is a global security firm that supplies only the highest caliber of private investigators. Fast Guard PIs are renowned for providing the ultimate in discreet services and, thanks to their national and global reach, are able to offer the highest level of service in every niche of private investigation.

Visit Fast Guard Security Service to find out more and rest assured that your private investigator hire will not only bring about fast results but also ensure that you remain firmly on the right side of the law.