Every private eye must have an intimate knowledge of the law, particularly for legal issues governing their profession. Private investigators are not lawyers and they are not police officers. However, they work in the paralegal professions and must be fully aware of their powers and limitations under the law.
Furthermore, being that many P.I.s work in several different areas, they must be up-to-date on how geographical boundaries can influence their day to day operations and may limit the types of case work they accept in certain areas of the world. Remember, laws change from region to region and may cause some investigators real problems when working in more than one legal marketplace.
This narrative details the importance of having a good fundamental understanding of the law for every type of professional detective.
Acquiring Knowledge of the Law
Private detectives with a background of former police experience already have a good idea about the legal constraints of their career paths. Additionally, detectives with a college degree in criminal justice will also have the basic legal understanding needed to get started in this challenging profession, without jeopardizing their future by operating without adequate legal knowledge.
For all other investigators, there is no universal way to ensure that they learn all they need to know before hiring themselves out as a professional detective. However, there are many possible methods of learning more about the law and we advise all prospective detectives to utilize as many of these approaches as possible, in order to round out their skill sets.
Legal Knowledge Resources
In order to learn more about the legal obligations and restrictions of the private eye profession, here are some resources which can be useful for investigators of any level of skill:
Mentorship, also called on-the-job training, will help set forth the guidelines for lawful operation in the investigative arts.
Consulting with an attorney, or other legal expert who understands the detective profession, will help novice investigators to learn their place in the legal system.
Participation in private investigator training courses online, or in person, will provide a good basic legal education, as well as more practical niche private investigator skills.
Private Investigators and the Law
The law can be a great ally or an insurmountable foe, depending on how an investigator runs their business. Of course, it is always best to operate within the constraints of the law and adhere to any private investigator licensing requirements, as well as bonding standards which exist in the area.
Never accept case assignments which go against what you can do legally as a detective and never put your career in jeopardy for the sake of money. In the long run, doing everything legally and by the book is the only way to last in this competitive profession.