Everywhere they are mentioned in popular media, private investigators are portrayed as roguish and cunning, as though they are some kind of unofficial arm of the law. This couldn’t be further from the truth as there are actually many regulations and guidelines that private investigators have to follow due to a number of controversies involving private investigators overstepping their mark in order to get the job done. So let’s have a look at some of the things that your PI is not to level your expectations with what they are legally permitted to do. For more information on the types of things that PI’s are able to assist with, please check out this private investigator.
They can’t tap people’s phones without their prior consent.
Regardless of whether they possess the means or technical knowhow to perform phone taps they are completely prohibited from monitoring a communication line without the express written permission from the courts, or the consent of the party under investigation. In some states the laws vary but as a general rule of thumb, they are required to obtain the correct paperwork to perform phone taps.
They are subject to trespassing and breaking and entering laws
Private investigators, just like any other citizen, are subject to the exact same trespass laws and breaking and entry laws as you or I, and are subsequently not allowed to enter somebody else’s property without either written permission from the courts or the permission of the property owner. This covers all property regardless of function. Offices, apartments, warehouses and factories are all protected by these laws and your private investigator could face serious consequences for breaking these regulations, and your PI will not jeopardize their reputation, licensing or indeed freedom to do so.
They are not permitted to arrest people
Your private investigator is not a vigilante superhero who will deposit those who did you wrong on the doorstep of the relevant authorities. They are not permitted to arrest people in the same way that a policeman is authorized to, although in some jurisdictions they may be permitted to perform a citizen’s arrest under specific circumstances such as for self-defense, the defense of others or to prevent a crime from occurring. These laws however change from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and as a rule opf thumb your PI will not be permitted to actively arrest anyone without prior written permission from the relevant authorities.
They are not privy to bank account information
Contrary to popular belief, private investigators are in no way permitted to Access private and confidential bank information and must obtain a subpoena from a court in order to be given access to such information. While it is possible, as mentioned, for your PI to access somebody else’s bank records there are a set of criteria, that your PI must prove beyond reasonable doubt, the bank account must meet for the subpoena to be issued. These include any financial crimes being committed by the account holder and usually cannot be a criminal offence as it would have to be handled by police in that case.