Private Investigation

With the increasing inaccurate representations of private investigators in television and film, it is important to know things a private investigator should not do before you hire one. Hiring a private investigator is an important investment that will help you in getting an issue or matter resolved. However, there are things that a private investigator is not allowed to do legally. Nevertheless, these things can vary depending on the country or state where they operate.

Things a Private Investigator Cannot Do

Operate without a valid licensePrivate Investigation

In most states, there are extensive laws that govern licensing of private investigators. To be licensed, an investigator has to meet certain requirements. For instance, in some states, a private investigator is required to acquire a relevant degree with a background in law enforcement. The investigator may also be required to submit their licensing application and pass an examination as well as get fingerprinted before they are licensed.

Wiretap conversations without consent

Although a private investigator can wiretap a phone conversion, they should do this with consent from both or one individual that is involved in the conversation. Again, rules that govern wiretapping of phone conversations vary slightly among states. However, in most states a private investigator is required to get consent from the involved parties or one of the parties. When a private investigator wire-taps a phone conversation without consent, they commit a crime that can lead to arrest and prosecution. Additionally, evidence that is acquired through illegal wiretapping of phone conversations is inadmissible in the court. The same applies to filming and tracking individuals using GPS trackers on vehicles as well as hacking into their email and social media accounts.

Impersonate a law enforcer

A private investigator should not wear a uniform; carry a badge or use phrasing or logo that can imply that they are acting in the capacity of a law enforcer or a police officer. Doing so can mislead individuals into thinking that the investigator is associated with a government agency. However, there are cases where private investigators wear uniforms and badges that indicate their true identity and they can also work with law enforcement agencies or officers.


A professional private investigatorA professional private investigator should not enter a house, building or property via illegal means. Although there is a slight variation in trespassing laws among states, most jurisdictions require them to get permission from property owners before they enter them.

Most of the things a he or she should not do are covered by the laws of different states. Like any other professional, a private investigator should not break the law while obtaining information by using investigation techniques like harassing subjects, bribery, pre-texting and using deceitful means as well as trespass on private properties.