Is Evidence Gathered from a Private Investigator Admissible in Court?
Can Evidence Collected by a Private Investigator Apply in Court?
From business fraud to background checks, a private investigator can help unearth facts that might expedite justice in any legal proceeding. Typically, the public always perceives PIs as courageous individuals who act with integrity in the confines of the state regulations.
While many people are likely to approach a private detective for assistance with different types of cases, one question often lingers in their minds: Will the private investigator evidence be accepted in court?
Most of the evidence gathered by PIs helps in courtroom proceedings. That said, private investigators need to abide by specific parameters of the law when obtaining information for their evidence to be admissible in a court.
What Makes Private Investigator Evidence Legal and Admissible in Court?
If a hired private investigator doesn’t break the law while obtaining information for your case, the evidence gathered is legal and admissible in court. For instance, conversations or photographs taken in a public setting are deemed legal and acceptable provided the method of evidence collection does not breach the expected privacy of the people involved to a certain degree.
So, here’s the thing, without the PI following the set precautionary measures, legality issues arise, and you can easily lose a case. To avoid such concerns, it’s vital to hire a licensed private detective who’s soundly trained and experienced in handling both physical and documentary evidence.
Make no mistake, a PI is also subject to the law. This means their process of obtaining evidence must be legal and they should act with integrity. These professionals must observe the legal code of conduct, even when they’re providing testimonial evidence in which they stand as eyewitnesses.
When Is Private Investigator Evidence Illegal?
Let’s say the PI obtains information by breeching another person’s privacy. Here, the evidence can’t hold up in court. For example, evidence gathered by tapping a phone conversation or planting an audio device in a private place is generally inadmissible.
Every individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy, which does not allow third-party intrusion beyond closed doors unless permitted by the law.
In other instances, the qualification of the secret detective may also be in question. Confirming the credibility of a PI before considering them for hire is therefore crucial.
Now you understand that a PI isn’t above the law, and if they fail to act professionally and with integrity, the evidence will be illegal.
What Types of Evidence Can PI Collect?
Private eyes can handle various cases, ranging from insurance fraud to corporate investigation and missing persons. The types of evidence they can collect also varies widely.
Attorneys can use PI information to argue their cases more effectively. In some cases, legal evidence gathered by the detectives makes the difference between winning or losing in a legal contest.
Here are the main types of private investigator evidence you should expect your detective to collect in backing up your case:
- Real or physical evidence-physical objects such as hair or gun cartridge recovered from the crime scene. The investigator presents the evidence as actual objects or images and videos.
- Testimonial evidence – a witness, usually gives evidence in either oral or written form. The PI can obtain information either during a live court session or through an affidavit.
- Documentary evidence – the detective presents either original or hearsay documents for inspection in the courtroom.
- Hearsay evidence – hearsay evidence is neither legal nor admissible in court. However, PIs can use statements from witnesses do not present to make significant case arguments in other places such as the workplace.
Should You Hire a Private Investigator?
Some would argue that PIs are no different from any private citizen who can present evidence in court. However, utilizing private detective services has numerous advantages you shouldn’t overlook.
First, it guarantees anonymity. The detectives rarely raise any form of suspicion from people whom they’re collecting evidence against as they always appear as uninterested regular citizens. Next, the offender is unlikely to hide their plans or conversations from the PIs, which makes obtaining evidence more straightforward.
PIs have experience. The collection of evidence for use in the court of law requires a high level of professionalism and integrity to be admissible. Experienced investigators benefit from having skills in the art of watching or listening without being obtrusive while picking the details pertinent to the success of a case.
If you’re unsure when to involve a private investigator, you can always turn to Sig14 Investigations for a free consultation.
Reach Out to a Professional Private Investigator
As a leading private detective in Tampa, Sig14 Investigations draws upon years of experience to pinpoint red flags and small details often overlooked by others. Get in touch with our team for PIs services in insurance fraud, employee criminal background checks, infidelity reports, corporate fraud cases, and missing person.
Contact the experts at Sig14 Investigations to learn more about the upsides of hiring a PI or to request a free quote for our surveillance services. Call us at 813-261-1192 today!