A private investigator is essentially an information gatherer. Legal professionals such as attorneys and paralegals often hire private investigators to help with criminal defense, child custody and divorce, and all manner of civil cases. Legal professionals often hire private investigators to conduct interviews, locate hard-to-find documents, and perform surveillance for all types of civil litigation. Here are four ways private investigators help legal professionals.
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Legal professionals often hire private investigators to locate missing persons – including heirs, witnesses, and people who have skipped out on a debt or hide from service of process. Private investigators locate people by using proprietary databases, public records, and good old fashioned hitting the street. Private investigators who specialize in skip tracing can usually find someone quicker and for less money than a solo attorney or paralegal.
Legal professionals often hire private investigators to take statements. A licensed investigator will have years of experience, much of which involves recording witness statements. A PI can help a criminal defense attorney by being an impartial third party, which can eliminate the appearance of bias in collecting witness information.
A PI can collect a statement by various means such as handwritten, digital audio recorded, over the telephone, or video recording. Statements can be collected through a short informal conversation or by way of a formal conference with all the necessary recording tools. Taking statements can become difficult if the interviewee becomes confrontational or if they speak only a foreign language. Qualified criminal defense investigators are trained and experienced with communicating effectively to get statements even in the most difficult situations.
The two types of background investigations private investigators conduct on a person or on a business. Personal background investigations can be for anything from vetting a potential marriage partner to pre-employment screenings. The person may or may not be aware of the investigation. Areas of search include criminal history, driving records, credit checks, reference checks, education verification, and property records. More recently, a background check might include a check of relevant social media posts, status updates, photos, and online conversations.
Background investigations for businesses can be a little more complicated and can involve pre-employment or post-employment screenings, background checks of corporate officers, or an investigation of the business itself. An investigation of the business might include due diligence, mergers and acquisitions, trademark or intellectual property infringement, and employee theft.
Locating Hidden Assets
Family law cases such as prenuptial agreements, divorce, and child support often involve hidden assets. In the business world, business partners may hide assets from one another, or a person may attempt to shield assets that would otherwise be involved in a bankruptcy filing. Legal professionals often hire private investigators to help locate hidden assets.
A PI would first need to determine if any assets are owned by the subject of the investigation. A good private investigator can locate property such motorcycles, trucks and automobiles, recreational vehicles, boats, aircraft. They can also locate and find out the value of real property such as homes, commercial buildings or land. PI’s locate financial records such as bank accounts, investments, or hidden income.
H7 Investigative Services conducts private investigations in Santa Clarita, Antelope Valley, and throughout the greater Los Angeles area.
If you want to find out how our agency can help with your case, click through to our consultation request page or call us at (661)454-7513.