What exactly is a criminal defense investigator? A private detective, an investigative agent, or private investigator, is someone who may be employed by people, organizations or NGOs to undertake investigative investigation on matters of criminal importance. Private detectives may also work for lawyers in criminal and civil cases. They are also referred to as private security investigators. The word “private investigator” derives from the common practice of employing private investigators to carry out investigations on behalf of lawyers.
A private detective may work in conjunction with a defense lawyer, which is a lawyer who specializes in defending clients whose rights have been challenged in criminal proceedings. A defense lawyer will obtain the services of a private investigator from established firms that employ qualified investigators to provide legal services. A criminal defense attorney will utilize the services of an investigator when his client’s constitutional rights have been abused. When investigating a crime, the investigator gathers evidence that supports the client’s defense and presents that evidence in court.
The scope of these types of investigations varies widely. Businesses and corporations hire investigators to investigate problems with employees, suppliers, and vendors. Lawyers also commonly employ investigators to review whether they have a case against a defendant. Private detectives and investigators are considered necessary by many industries and law enforcement agencies because they serve a crucial role in assisting clients in providing evidence in support of their arguments and counter-offenses. Proving guilt or providing evidence of innocence is much easier when evidence comes from reliable sources. When a client’s case goes to trial, an experienced investigator’s testimony is often needed in court.
Private investigators are employed by most major law enforcement agencies, as well as smaller government agencies. Their duties range from gathering evidence to advising juries about the strengths and weaknesses of the defendant. While attorneys typically seek the help of investigators during criminal trials, this is not always the case. Sometimes an investigator will act as an independent investigator and report findings without the knowledge or agreement of the lawyer. A judge may appoint an investigator to mediate between the attorney and the defendant if a dispute between them needs to be arbitrated in a court of law.
Investigators may work independently or as part of a team. While working alone, they perform tasks that require computer technology, investigative techniques, or sophisticated training. In a team, the investigator’s duties include gathering evidence, tracking down witnesses, interviewing people, and tracking down potentially helpful information such as search warrants or immunity agreements. Sometimes, the investigator will collaborate with other professionals, such as forensic accountants, for the case.
The role of a defense investigator has increased as time has gone on. In the past, it was necessary for a defense attorney to do all of the investigation and discovery on his or her own. This was often very time consuming and very expensive. Most criminal defense cases are tried before the judge and jury. Time restraints were an issue, as it often took many weeks or even months to find enough evidence for a trial.
Today, most state constitutions allow a trial to be completed in a reasonable amount of time. The new federal government laws are even more demanding. Some states, such as California, have actually made it a prerequisite to have an investigator on the stand at all times during the trial. Even attorneys may choose to skip an investigator if they believe the case will not go to trial. This can be a costly strategy.
As technology advances, criminal defense investigators are becoming highly specialized. For example, some specialize in technology crimes, such as computer crimes or identity theft. Others may specialize in financial crimes, such as money laundering. Many states now have specific investigative agencies which are fully equipped to conduct thorough investigations of all types of criminal conduct.