Can Evidence Gathered by a Private Investigator be Used in Court?

The job of a private investigator is to gather information for their client. People seek them out day in and day out to uncover new evidence, or for their expert advice. Any information, if collected properly, can be used as evidence in court. A good private investigator would of course have the experience and knowledge to adhere to legality when acquiring said evidence.

Whether the documents are for a personal injury lawsuit, family law investigation or insurance fraud claims is irrelevant. It is important for private investigators to gather all evidence legally, otherwise it holds no value for their client.

A Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

There are misconceptions out there about this subject due to the nature of how PIs at times gather their information. Often times, private investigators gather evidence without the prior knowledge or consent of their subject. However, if a PI does this under the correct circumstances this is completely legal. Although private investigators may stand as part of the law, they are not part of law enforcement. Therefore, they still hold the same rights and freedoms as a private citizen. Meaning of course that they do not require a warrant to collect evidence.

This, however, does not mean they can go around with reckless abandon. When attempting to acquire evidence in a way such as this, a private investigator must make sure they are not invading the privacy of their subject. If they are to, for example, take pictures of the investigated party, or listen in on one of their conversations, this must be done in a public place. Where a person does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

So any statements that a private investigator may overhear in a public place and normal tone of voice are admissible. As are pictures taken of an individual in a public place. In this context, a private investigator is acting with the same freedom of a regular eye witness.

Why Hire a Private Investigator?

There are, of course, numerous other advantages to hiring a PI over a regular citizen:

  • Experience: Private investigators have trained to do what they do, and have had experience doing it on the field. They are good at their jobs. PIs are resourceful and have the skills to observe others without being noticed.
  • Time: This is their job, which means they are dedicating themselves full-time to their work. Something a normal citizen cannot do, life would get in the way eventually. Being able to dedicate themselves like this, means they will come upon opportune moments for the gathering of evidence.
  • Freedom: As mentioned earlier in the article, private investigators are not bound the same way others involved in the legal system are. For instance, a police officers require warrants, a PI does not.
  • Anonimity: This is probably one of the most important factors that set private investigators apart from others. Their anonimity allows themselves not to come across as suspicious. Meaning those they are investigating would be anaware that they are being observed. They are much more likely to let their guard down, potentially revealing important evidence. If instead someone involved in the opposition of a case was nearby, this would of course prove detrimental to the case and would result in no evidence being uncovered.

If you find yourself in need of a licensed private investigator and their particular set of skills, please feel free to call us. Or simply click on this link to get in contact with one of our team members.

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