Can I hire a private detective legally?
Sure, why not? Anyone can.
What is the difference between a police investigator and a private investigator?
A police investigation is conducted by sworn law enforcement officers and is done within the constraints of Constitutional laws. The investigation is conducted to determine if a crime has been committed, to determine who committed the crime, and to gather enough evidence to present to a prosecutor for a trial.
Private investigators are not restricted to criminal investigations. PIs work for clients who may request any manner of work, including infidelity investigations, background investigations, asset location investigations, or fraudulent insurance claims. PIs may uncover criminal violations, but are not bound by law to report them to law enforcement. PIs work at the behest of their clients.
In many cases, private investigators are able to do much more for a client because they are not subject to governmental or department budget restraints or internal agency politics. Further, a private investigator or detective is able to work more quietly on sensitive issues without releasing embarrassing details to the public thereby protecting the privacy of the client.
Is my case with a private investigator confidential?
Yes, a private detective or investigator will always handle your case with as much confidentiality as possible. A good PI treats your case exactly the same as a doctor or attorney would. All information you share is private, confidential, and privileged.
Can anyone be a private investigator?
No. In California, in order to become a private investigator, you must have a minimum of 6,000 hours of investigative experience just to take the PI test. The State of California requires all private detectives, private investigators, private security persons, and detective agencies to be licensed and insured.
Some private detectives may carry a firearm or other dangerous weapons if authorized and qualified to use such weapons. Armando Zatarain is licensed by the State of California as a private investigator (PI#22864) and is also licensed to carry a concealed weapon.