Criminal defense investigators play an important role in a successful criminal defense case. The evidence collected by an experienced investigator can help a criminal defense lawyer builds a strong case against a defendant, prove reasonable doubt, and obtain an acquittal at trial. When an experienced defense attorney is able to outsource the heavy footwork to an experienced investigator, and is able to focus on building and organizing a strong case, the chances of obtaining the facts and doing the right by the defendant are significantly higher.
In many jurisdictions, the state offers a “innocence project” where criminal defense investigators visit prisons and police departments to gather information that will be helpful in a criminal trial. This program allows criminal lawyers to obtain information that is not available to the public. For example, prison inmates who have committed additional crimes and police officers who are about to be transferred to another jurisdiction will not tell police detectives that they have prior criminal convictions. Prison and police officials know that any information provided to these third parties will be used in court. Often, the information gained from these visits will lead to the identification and prosecution of the correct person as the guilty party in a trial.
Other times, criminal defense investigators visit crime scenes to gather information that will be helpful in a court case but will not be disclosed to the general public. This information can often reveal a lot of details that are not revealed in police blotters or in court transcripts. If a witness testifies in court and is asked questions by a prosecutor, he or she may refuse to answer if they believe that the witness has been coerced. An experienced private investigator with experience in the investigation and surveillance field can sometimes go beyond what the prosecutor thinks is necessary to obtain the evidence needed to successfully convict the suspect.
Unfortunately, some witnesses are not willing to talk to criminal defense investigators. However, most criminals do not want to stand trial. Even though they understand the importance of being found innocent, they are usually too scared to sign a plea bargain. For this reason, it is very rare for a criminal to confess to or admit guilt before a grand jury.
The downside of using criminal defense investigators is that sometimes they are unable to find the key evidence that a criminal defense attorney is seeking. Sometimes, they cannot pinpoint the location of a certain piece of evidence. This means that a search of the victim’s computer hard drive or cell phone records may not provide the necessary information. For this reason, it is imperative that an experienced professional investigator is hired to conduct an investigation. Hiring an investigator, means that a criminal defense attorney will have better results than trying to fight a case based upon limited information.
There is a good reason why there are numerous government agencies and several private investigators in the nation. These investigative agencies are needed in any case where a suspect is involved in criminal activity. Government agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, and other state and local law enforcement personnel perform a variety of tasks. They investigate crimes, seize drugs, and make arrests for federal and state law violations.
Private investigators specialize in criminal law enforcement. This type of criminal investigation focuses on uncovering crimes that are committed either within the United States or perpetrated overseas. This type of criminal law case involves a high level of professionalism. A skilled criminal defense attorney, who has handled many different criminal cases, can evaluate these cases and recommend that investigators to hire based upon the nature of each case.
Although most state law enforcement agencies contract with private investigators to conduct criminal investigations, there are also agencies that operate independently. Many private detectives work as part of a reputable private investigation agency. These investigators are not federal employees but are retained by a private law enforcement agency for a specific purpose. While these investigators may not have a prestigious job title, they do have extensive knowledge and experience in criminal law enforcement.