What Can Private Investigators do Legally? [A Complete List]

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Megan Novak
The Owner

What Can Private Investigators do Legally? [A Complete List]

What Can Private Investigators Do Legally?

Private investigators are often misconstrued to be sneaky, law-breaking sleuths. While we may be found sneaking around, we certainly do not break the law. If you’re in need of workers’ compensation, disability, infidelity, non-compete, cohabitation, criminal defense, or motor vehicle accident case evidence, here’s what a private investigator can do legally:

Collect information on an individual.

Researching records and public documents is the backbone of a private investigation. This may include:

  • Address (current and previous)
  • Assets
  • Birth date and location
  • Businesses owned
  • Education and employment history
  • Family history and members
  • Phone number (home, cell, and work)
  • Professional licenses
  • Property holdings
  • Social Security Number
  • Social media profiles

Collect information on a business.

Similar to the above, a private investigator will be able to access certain information through research, surveillance, and interviews.

  • Employees (current and former)
  • Executives (current and former)
  • Number of employees
  • Owners
  • Locate registered agents

Access sensitive documents.

A private investigator knows where and how to access sensitive documents that may be vital evidence for a case. Through databases and record holders, they will also be able to determine the accuracy of the document.

  • Arrest records
  • Bankruptcy records
  • Business licenses
  • Corporate records
  • Court records
  • Criminal records
  • Deeds
  • Judgment filings
  • Lien filings
  • Professional licenses
  • Property records
  • Sex offender records

Conduct surveillance.

Most commonly known and done, a private investigator can legally conduct surveillance, or stakeout as they say in the movies, in any public space. If the subject is in view they are being documented, including the environment, behavior, day to day activities, and who they interact with.

Conduct interviews.

Private investigators are skilled in locating witnesses, such as friends, family, and coworkers. Recorded, written, or summarized statements can be obtained from witnesses with their consent.

What Can a Private Investigator Do and Not Do?

We covered what a private investigator can do, what about what’s not allowed? Generally, it all comes down to the law. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Operate without a license (all New Jersey PI’s must have one)
  • Impersonate law enforcement
  • Break the law (including trespassing) or participate in unethical practices
  • Steal or open mail
  • Hack into social media, email, or other accounts
  • Run a credit check (with the individual’s approval)

Hire a Private Investigator in New Jersey

If you’re looking for case assistance and could use the above as evidence, hire a private investigator. Arkeo Investigations offers surveillance, case assistance, and other investigative services. Contact us online or call 1-855-50-ARKEO for more information.

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