How Does a Private Investigator Become Licensed?

When looking to hire a private investigator, it is important that you choose carefully. There are legal requirements for licensure to become a private investigator in California. Not just anyone can be a licensed and legal private investigator in California. According to the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services for California, a private investigator is an individual who:

  • Investigates crimes
  • Investigates the identity, business, occupation, character, etc., of a person
  • Investigates the location of lost or stolen property
  • Investigates the cause of fires, losses, accidents, damage or injury
  • Secures evidence for use in court

According to the Bureau, private investigators may license their services to an individual, partnership, or corporation. However, to be eligible to apply for licensure as a private investigator a PI must meet the following state requirements:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Undergo a criminal history background check provided by the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Have at least three years (equivalent of 2,000 hours each year for a total of 6,000 hours) of compensated experience in investigative work; or

    have a law degree/completed a four year course in police science plus two years (equivalent to 4,000 hours) of experience; or

    have an associate’s degree in police science, criminal law, or justice and 2 ½ years (equivalent to 5,000 hours) of experience

  • Pass a two-hour multiple-choice examination that covers laws and regulations, evidence handling, civil and criminal liability, terminology, undercover investigations and surveillance.
  • Upon passing the examination, a PI must pay a licensing fee to the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services

All experience must be certified by an employer and must be received while the PI was employed as:

  • A sworn law enforcement officer
  • Military police officer
  • Insurance adjuster
  • Employee of a licensed PI or licensed repossessor, arson investigator for a public fire suppression agency or an investigator for the public defender’s office

As you can see, it is not easy to become a licensed private investigator. However, the team members at Specialized Resource Group (SRG) have the experience and licensing to get the job done quickly, professionally and legally.

What Can a Private Investigator Legally Do When Investigating My Case?

You may ask yourself “what does a private investigator do?” Along with this, it is important to know what a private investigator cannot do. When you hire a licensed private investigator, like those at SRG, you can rest assured that all laws and legal restrictions are being obeyed. Unlike law enforcement, there are some things that a private investigator cannot do.

  • Impersonation of Law Enforcement – If a PI is not affiliated with law enforcement, they cannot claim to be
  • Making Arrests – A private investigator, just like an individual citizen, can make a “citizen’s arrest.” This means that if a criminal act is committed by the suspect, then he or she can be detained by the PI/citizen until government authorities arrive
  • Wiretapping – Tapping a phone line and/or recording a conversation without the knowledge of the person is illegal and a federal crime
  • Trespassing – Private investigators cannot enter another’s property without their consent. If they do so, it is considered trespassing
  • Tampering with mail – Private investigators cannot intercept and open, destroy or alter another’s mail

So what can a private investigator do? Luckily, there are a range of services a private investigator can provide, including:

  • Investigation of marital infidelity – If you suspect your spouse of infidelity, a PI can help you learn the truth with marital investigation services such as discreetly investigating online and offline behavior, surveillance and compiling financial evidence like hidden assets
  • Investigations of criminal conduct – If someone is stalking you or you have suffered vandalism or other crime, a PI can coordinate with law enforcement to investigate
  • Location of missing persons – If a loved one goes missing or you want to track a long lost relative down, a PI can aid in the search by conducting record searches and other investigative means to locate the individual
  • Background checks – If you are a business and hiring someone new it is important to know that they are who they say they are. PIs can provide background checks on potential new employees who consent to having one done
  • Investigations of child abuse – If you fear that your former spouse or someone else is abusing your child, take immediate action and hire a PI to investigate. Through discreet investigative means, a PI can locate the evidence you need to take criminal action or support your petition for sole custody
  • Insurance investigations – If you suspect insurance fraud, a PI firm can perform independent insurance investigations

When you choose to hire a private investigator like those at SRG, you will receive first-rate and personalized service. If you need private investigative services in Los Angeles or Orange County, turn to the professional and highly experienced team at SRG.