What exactly are criminal defense investigators? These are the people that serve a great importance for any defense lawyer. The Council for Quality Criminal Justice Education (CQCJE) is actively seeking the goals of academic excellence and professional competency through the Board Certified Criminal Defense Investigators (BCDI). These investigators have a responsibility to ensure that justice is served and this is done by ensuring quality evidence that is used in court.
Criminal justice is complex. The need for effective investigations is ever-increasing in every area of the law. Because criminal defense attorneys represent clients who have committed atrocious acts, there is a special requirement to ensure that these individuals are appropriately represented. There are many complicated issues involving criminal conduct and public safety that must be resolved through investigation.
Private investigators are extremely valuable to criminal defense attorneys. They are able to conduct thorough investigations that often reveal a complete story that has been avoided by lawyers. Private investigators have a wide range of specialties including computer forensics, corporate fraud, financial crimes, kidnapping, child pornography and drug crimes. This investigative service can also be provided to other attorneys and to prosecutors who would benefit from such a method as it is often used as an indicator of guilt rather than just an unaltered facts in a court case.
The services that criminal defense investigators provide are essential to the success of every case that they are employed to investigate. Each investigator will use a different set of techniques and tools to build their case. When deciding whether or not to employ an investigator, one should carefully evaluate the cost of such a service. Many private investigators may bill hourly but there are those who work for a specific budget.
As with any service profession, criminal defense investigators are expected to adhere to a set of ethical rules and regulations. These professionals are expected to follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which governs how investigators obtain and use consumer credit data. In addition, these professionals are expected to work within the confines of the law. The FCRA establishes a procedure for responding to a complaint, investigating the complaint, and correcting inaccuracies if any.
The majority of civil and criminal cases that involve a witness or suspect have a strong possibility of resulting in a trial and a case going to trial. Therefore, criminal defense investigators are instrumental in assisting their clients in avoiding a lengthy and expensive trial and possible sentence. The majority of investigators are former police detectives, although there are those who are not. Most investigators have been in law enforcement for several years and attend police and prosecution school to obtain the necessary skills and knowledge to conduct thorough investigations.
Training for criminal justice professionals consists of both classroom instruction and on-the-job experience. Many private investigators attend college part time as well. A bachelor’s degree is usually required to start a career as a private investigator. Obtaining law enforcement certification is also required before beginning a career in this field. A state-approved law enforcement training program can help aspiring criminal defense investigators obtain certification and credentials.
Private investigator interview questions typically ask about previous work experience and training, as well as work with law enforcement or prosecutors in their area of expertise. These questions also require an explanation of the types of cases they are most often called upon to defend. Private investigators are adept at interviewing clients concerning a wide range of legal issues, including: burglary, murder, petit larceny, embezzlement, arson, domestic violence, kidnapping, assault, sex crimes, fraud, and many other criminal charges. Private investigators are trained in interviewing witnesses who are either hostile or cooperative and in obtaining transcripts of closed circuit television broadcasts. Private investigators are also trained in interviewing prosecutors to obtain information relevant to their client’s cases.