Whether you’re a brand-new Private Investigator or you’ve had years of experience in the field, it always helps to know which common surveillance mistakes to avoid when on the job. There are certain legal limits even the most-seasons Private Investigator cannot cross, and to keep your license and business viable, you should try to steer clear of these tactics. A successful Private Investigator sticks to the rules and avoids getting caught acting outside their jurisdiction.
Breaking and Entering
There are federal and state laws that prevent Private Investigators from entering someone’s home to gather evidence. No matter what the case is, it’s best to let the police handle searches, since they can legally obtain a warrant when it is necessary. As a Private Investigator, your rights are limited. Getting caught picking a lock and going inside someone’s house results in a criminal charge.
Private Investigators must follow the rules, which include respecting the privacy of a subject. There are certain actions Private Investigators cannot take, like watching someone when they are within their house A person is allowed to stay in their home without being surveilled, and no one may search their property without the proper paperwork. Taking pictures or videos of someone inside their house is illegal and may cost you your job.
While TV shows often show Private Investigators “tailing” a suspect, in reality, apparent stalking is illegal. It might even be considered harassment and intimidation in a court of law, which may harm your reputation and career.
Gathering Information and Recording without Permission
Only a judge can grant permission to wiretap an individual, so any third-party apps or tactics are illegal, and it’s best not to risk using them. The court won’t accept any information obtained that way, anyway. It’s also against the law to record people without their permission. Even when a conversation is loud enough for any passerby to hear, you still don’t have the right to record it.
Always make sure you are well within your rights before you make your next move. It’s important to note that all states have different laws. Depending on where you are, you may be able to do more, but most of the factors mentioned above ring true across the country. If you’re not sure what is legal in your state, you can take a course that will help you understand where you should draw the limit.
Getting Licensed as a Private Investigator
Anyone interested in improving their skills as a Private Investigator should call the National Investigative Training Academy, Inc. (NITA) at (800) 730-6482 or fill out our contact form. Our online program is geared towards adults looking to continue their education or start a new career with State-and Board-Approved pre-licensing classes. Call us today to get on your way to an exciting new career.