Have you ever considered hiring a private investigator? If you have, you may have found yourself wondering: how do private investigators work?

A private investigator can be a valuable asset; however it is important to understand the process and what you can expect to achieve by hiring one.

What Can Private Investigators Work On?

Private investigators can work on pretty much any matter you would like to gather information on. For most private investigators, a lot of time is spent on background checks for potential employees and business associates. Additionally, some clients hire a private investigator to look into a spouse or to find a missing person. Sometimes law firms hire investigators to collect evidence for a case.

In some cases, private investigators work on criminal matters, especially when hired by a law firm or the government. However, they are not police officers. If you have a private investigator looking into a criminal matter, he or she will not have the ability to collect evidence at crime scenes or take witness statements unless allowed to do so by the police.

How Does the Process Work?

You have something you want to hire a private investigator for and are ready to engage one. How do private investigators work on a case?

  • Client Consultation: The investigator will start by consulting with you to understand your needs and objectives. This will help him or her to determine the appropriate approach to the case. Unlike a police officer, the P.I. works for you; he or she is going to investigate to help you with whatever your goals may be.
  • Planning: After consulting with you, the investigator will start formulating a plan of action. He or she will identify the key concerns that need to be addressed and how best to go about doing so. This will result in an itinerary of what is to come in the case. The more information you provide the P.I., the easier it will be for him or her to provide a clear and accurate plan of action.
  • Working the Case: The next step is to start gathering information. The specifics of this will vary significantly based on the needs of the case. The investigator may connect with law enforcement contacts to learn more. He or she may also talk to private citizens to gather information. Additionally, the investigator may check public records or perform surveillance. The goal is to gather as much relevant information as possible within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Evidence Analysis: The final step before presenting information to you is to analyze the evidence. In practice, this often happens simultaneously with gathering evidence. The private investigator will try to sort out what the facts are, what they mean and whether he or she has enough to help you.
  • Presenting the Case: When ready, the private investigator will share what he or she knows with you. This may happen multiple times throughout the case or only at the end, depending on your needs and preferences.

How Do Private Investigators Analyze Information?

Many people are surprised to learn the private investigators have no special legal powers. They have the same access to information and witnesses as any other private citizen. Many private investigators have valuable contacts that can help them access information that you may not be able to. However, the main benefit of hiring a private investigator is his or her ability to understand and build a case.

Investigators have an experience-honed skillset that helps them analyze evidence and sort fact from fiction. They see how the pieces fit together to form a complete picture.

What Can You Expect at the End?

The private investigator will deliver the evidence he or she has collected to you. In most cases, the P.I. will explain it to you to help you understand the relevant facts. Depending on the investigator and your relationship, he or she may make recommendations. For example, if you use the same investigator for background checks consistently, he or she will likely have a good sense of what you are looking for.

Ultimately, however, the main goal of an investigator is to deliver you information that will help you achieve your stated goals. If you need to hire an investigator, contact Beau Dietl & Associates today.