Criminal Defense Investigators and Public Defender Services
If you are concerned about protecting yourself or loved ones, you may be considering becoming a Criminal Defense Investigator. You can work in many different areas of the criminal justice system if that is what you want to do. In this brief article, you will learn about the responsibilities, duties, and training you must follow in order to become an investigator for a criminal defense law firm. Hopefully by the time you finish reading this, you will have a better idea about the career options available to you. If not, this overview should help you understand the differences between private investigators and criminal defense lawyers, and how they fit into the criminal justice system.
CRIMINAL investigators are people who serve as private eye on criminal activity that occurs within their area of responsibility. They collect information that is used in the prosecution of a person for a crime. Their goal is to provide information that will assist the prosecutor in presenting the best case possible to a judge and jury. CRIMINAL investigators are often referred to as crime scene investigators or forensic investigators. Their job is often to collect samples of body fluids, hair, clothing, bite marks, blood, and fingerprints from people who are arrested for a crime. They also interview witnesses, collect evidence, and collect testimony from suspects and witnesses.
Private investigators are employed by a private law firm, state or federal government, and a public defender. Private investigators are responsible for gathering evidence and performing evaluations in support of a client’s position in a criminal case. While most private investigators work independently, some are connected to a firm or agency of which they are a part of. Often times, criminal defense investigators receive instruction and information from their attorneys regarding how to collect evidence that will be helpful in their client’s position.
Obtaining a criminal defense investigator’s certification is not difficult to do. However, there are many things that should be considered prior to pursuing this particular career. These include the level of education and training that is necessary for this occupation. It is also important to consider the specific areas that will be handled by the individual. Each state will have different laws governing the employment of this professional.
Training is required for criminal defense investigators. In order to become an investigator, one must complete an accredited four-year bachelor’s degree. Some states require law school graduates to complete a two-year associate’s degree as well. There are currently several accredited programs at online institutions that provide detailed training in the area of private investigation. Students can complete the training in as little as eight weeks.
Additionally, prospective criminal defense investigators must meet state licensing requirements. This includes undergoing background and fingerprinting checks, obtaining a working license, and passing state and local assessments. Depending on the particular state where the interview and licensing take place, these requirements can vary quite a bit.
It is also important to consider the ability of each individual member of the investigative team. Each member should be capable of handling various tasks that involve surveillance, gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and transporting the evidence to the courtroom. Having legal support that can help with these tasks is essential to effectively managing a criminal case.
Another area that requires the attention of criminal defense investigators is providing public defender services to poor individuals who cannot afford a private attorney representation. Public defenders are often overburdened with work and cannot adequately defend indigent defendants who cannot afford to pay for private counsel. Criminal defense investigators can work directly with public defenders in an effort to reduce the amount of jail time that these individuals experience. This would allow for more effective public defense services for indigent defendants.