The job of a criminal defense investigator is to find out the truth that your attorney needs in order for a successful full defense. A criminal defense investigator will review the prosecution’s evidence, interview potential witnesses, and even uncover hidden information and witness accounts that could show a criminal defendant to be entirely innocent of his or her criminal charges. Although most criminal defense attorneys rely heavily on this same type of investigation to help build their defense, many fail to realize the importance of utilizing an investigator when defense work is being handled. Even the most experienced criminal defense attorney may not be aware of all of the methods that an investigator can use to build a solid case against his or client. Therefore, it is very important that any attorney who is handling criminal cases understand how to properly retain an investigator.
Private investigators are often referred to as “CSI’s” – detectives or undercover agents. Because many crimes are committed by repeat offenders, it is often in the best interest of law enforcement officials to utilize the services of private investigators. These highly trained experts are able to follow suspects through various means and use their knowledge to build strong cases against criminals.
Many times criminal defense investigators gather intelligence information from police officers and other law enforcement personnel involved in an investigation. If there is a victim or witness to a crime, these police officers and other law enforcement personnel are required to sign documents acknowledging that they have been interviewed by private investigators. These signed interviews provide the investigators with vital information about the suspect and the victim. By using the information gathered from police officers and other law enforcement personnel, criminal defense investigators develop many ways to build stronger cases against their clients.
There are several ways in which private criminal defense investigators gather intelligence information from police reports. One way is to physically visit police stations or court houses where crimes have been committed. These visits are not without cost to these law enforcement officials. However, they must use the information they gather to construct strong cases against their clients. By having personally seen and collected the evidence from these crimes, criminal defense investigators can present this evidence in court as effective witnesses.
Another way that criminal defense investigators may interview witnesses is by telephone. Sometimes they will interview a witness by phone for free as part of their investigation. In this way the investigator has the opportunity to build a strong case against their client by interviewing the witness multiple times. Such repeated phone interviews will often result in a more accurate witness identification.
Some criminal defense investigators work directly for a law enforcement agency. In this situation, the investigator will act on the behalf of their law enforcement client. Often times the criminal defense attorney will not be informed of every step during the investigation. The private investigator will follow-up each lead they are provided with and consult with the law enforcement agency to determine whether or not to proceed with the case. If the case is not pursued, the private investigator does not lose any money. In most instances, the agency is able to recover at least a portion of their legal costs.
Private investigators are sometimes used by both the prosecution and the defense in a criminal case. When a defendant or co-defendant is charged with a crime, it is common for the prosecution to interview witnesses. This is the standard procedure for all criminal cases. Often, the prosecution will also interview private investigators who have been hired by the defense to conduct a parallel investigation. The goal is to build a strong case against the defendant.
Criminal defense investigators are essential to ensuring justice is served in our society. With their investigative expertise, they allow the justice system to function efficiently. Although many people assume that a private investigator is something similar to a private detective, there are several key differences. While both require extensive education and extensive experience in the field, a certified criminal defense investigators is able to perform many tasks that a detective cannot.