Defense investigators, also known as criminal investigators, are private individuals that work for law firms or government agencies as an external eye to ensure the proper functioning of their client’s system. In many ways, it is like an internal audit of a company. They are responsible for gathering evidence to present in court for cases involving offenses against the state, federal government, corporate crime, fraud, theft, etc. Their duties include performing background investigations on people that have access to public funds, such as government employees, law enforcement officers and the like.
Cases involving child abuse, human trafficking, domestic violence and other criminal acts came under the special category of “special government agents”. This means that, unlike regular agents, they are authorized by law to investigate and bring cases in any branch of the penal system. In some countries, they are also permitted to perform secret investigations. In some instances, the obligation of this type of investigator is limited to a specific crime. In others, he is not even allowed to take cases involving certain specified crimes.
Some private investigators are employed by the police and the armed forces, while other investigators are employed by the government. Private investigators are also called upon by prosecutors to assist them in their official investigation function. They are sometimes dispatched to serve on a contingency basis, meaning they are only needed when the prosecutor needs help with a specific case.
Many private investigators are retained by the defense bar association. They perform a variety of tasks, including keeping track of attorney evaluations and proceedings, interviewing witnesses and suspects, conducting surveillance activities, etc. They advise defense lawyers and paralegals on all legal issues associated with a case and prepare all reports. They have an in-depth understanding of the workings of the court system and are therefore thoroughly conversant with the entire process. The attorney has complete confidence that his investigator will thoroughly investigate and report all facts surrounding the case.
While private detectives are highly competent professionals, it is often necessary for defense attorneys to hire additional detectives or investigators to supplement their investigations. For example, when a suspect whose guilt is irrefutable is charged with first-degree murder, the prosecution will often request the services of an investigator with experience in the particular area of the case. Once again, the investigator needs to be skilled in the area of law enforcement. Once the case has been presented to the grand jury, a private detective will again need to be on hand, especially if he is a witness.
Another common scenario is one in which the police are investigating a crime that occurred off of the street. Often times, the case will be investigated by a retired officer or a former police officer. Such specialists are very familiar with the workings of local law enforcement and can offer invaluable assistance to the prosecutor in the cases.
Private detectives are often referred to as “private cops” or “detective agency” due to the specialized nature of their job. Often times, they are highly specialized units that are employed by defense law enforcement agencies to obtain vital evidence against criminals. This evidence can range from a series of phone calls between suspected criminals to a codename that identifies them.
Clearly, there are many ways in which a professional defense investigator can help a client. However, hiring one is not something that should be done without careful consideration. I recommend that you seek assistance from an experienced defense investigator to ensure your rights are protected. You may even find that you will save money by utilizing an investigator instead of a private detective. Ultimately, the choice is yours.