What Is a Criminal Defense Investigator?
What exactly is a criminal defense investigator? A private investigator, investigation agent, or private detective, is someone who can be employed by people, companies or NGOs to undertake investigative surveillance or law research functions. Private investigators also work as agents for lawyers in criminal and civil matters. They assist the police or military in various functions such as locating missing people, fingerprints identification and database search, secret service recruitment, corporate security etc. Private investigators (PI) may also serve as mere foot soldiers or double agents, diverting or otherwise participating in any secret meeting or action ordered by their bosses.
Private investigators have distinct and highly specialized skills and are best suited to serve as operatives of certain agencies, such as CIA, FBI, IRS etc. They conduct covert surveillance to gather intelligence information on targets for these agencies. For example, an investigator may work for a corporate security department to gather information on employees working at a specific location. Private detectives engaged in surveillance work may use any method or technique to collect information that is not likely to be disclosed by the subject to the public. In some countries, these investigators are asked to serve as representatives of their employers and they, in turn, try to find and report any irregularities.
Private detectives, including investigators may serve as personal bodyguards for celebrities, politicians, famous personalities, etc. They perform secretarial work, transcribe interviews, conduct background checks and prepare background reports etc. Private investigators may not reveal their sources. They are well trained to evade detection and to lie about their sources.
Investigators are specially trained to follow, evaluate and document any kind of activity and are skilled in finding, monitoring, and recording activities without the aid of physical surveillance. These investigators help attorneys in preparing the required legal documents in a timely manner. A detective may also work for defense lawyers and present their findings to the judge or the jury. They may also assist criminal lawyers in preparing their closing arguments.
How can one determine what is a criminal defense investigator? One way is to check out the Bureau of Investigations (BI) of the Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice. The website of BIS provides a complete list of all commissioned investigators and their qualifications. The National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI) has a list of investigators-for-service, which includes a list of current practitioners. The National Association of Criminal Investigators and Security Compliance Services Inc is other reliable sources of information on the services provided by criminal defense and security firms.
A private investigator can perform secretarial and clerical duties, transcribing conversations and conducting background checks. In other words, they are adepts in computer and written correspondence and can gather a lot of information, particularly on clients and other people associated with the cases. These investigators also act as undercover agents and collect information on a person suspected of committing a crime. Private detectives who specialize in criminal defense often maintain high-level careers in law enforcement, law courts, and corporate security.
How do you find a qualified and experienced criminal defense investigator? You can choose to go to a traditional career path in law enforcement, which may require several years of schooling and specialized training. You can also choose to become an investigator who works independently, completing the required education and undergoing the same rigorous training as sworn police officers. Most private investigators start their own firms and conduct research and work from home.
Today, many private investigators offer Internet consulting services, conducting Internet investigations and managing case assignments, interviewing witnesses, tracking down documents and evidence, and performing a host of secretarial and clerical duties. Because they usually have a thorough knowledge of local customs and court procedures, investigators who work independently are usually able to better defend their clients against prosecution. If you want to know what is a criminal defense investigator? you will most likely be looking for someone with a legal background, extensive education, and vast experience in the field. You may also want to consider an investigator who has a specific area of expertise such as computer forensics or financial crimes.