In Maryland, a private investigator is a registered, licensed individual who can be hired by a private citizen or law firm to undertake investigatory law services. Private investigators are often associated with family law cases and can help to ascertain certain facts for a divorce, alimony or child custody proceeding. Here, the family law attorneys at Rodier Family Law describe some of the capabilities of a private investigator and explain the considerations that an individual should make before hiring one.
Private Investigators Can Gather Evidence Regarding Infidelity, Misconduct, Hidden Assets or More
Private investigators are hired to investigate a wide variety of family law issues—in the process of the investigation, a private investigator collects evidence which will ideally be used to strengthen your case in court. One of the most common reasons for a private investigator is to prove infidelity—a private investigator may determine whether or not a spouse is having an extramarital affair and/or with whom. Private investigators can also help prove that a spouse is engaging in misconduct that would make them an unsuitable caretaker or guardian for a child, which may be valuable for a child custody case. Using online resources, private investigators can often determine whether a spouse is hiding assets or has additional bank accounts or properties that they have not disclosed. If you have a concern that you believe a private investigator could investigate, speak to your family law attorney—they may have additional solutions for you to consider, or may assist you in hiring a private investigator thus preventing undue frustration and expense to you as a client.
Private Investigators Must Abide by the Law When Conducting Their Investigation
Private investigators, like any private citizen, must abide by the law in the course of their work. This means that private investigators are not allowed to hack into someone else’s computer, tap phones, steal personal information, record individuals without their consent or trespass on private property. A private investigator who does any of these things may be arrested and prosecuted, and any evidence that a private investigator collects illegally will generally not be admissible in court.
A private investigator can, however, follow an individual, stake out a home or business, convince someone to speak to them, eavesdrop or take photos in a public area and even carry a firearm, provided they follow the state’s gun laws. Private investigators also have access to a wider array of online records and databases than a private citizen might, so many perform their investigations digitally. An experienced private investigator should be aware of their capabilities and limitations and follow them accordingly in order to effectively perform their duties within the confines of the law.
Private Investigators Must Meet Certain Requirements in Maryland
In order to practice in Maryland, a private investigator must meet several requirements. These include age requirements, a background check, an approved Maryland Private Detective Registration and a position with a licensed private detective agency. Before you hire a private investigator ensure that they have met all Maryland state-mandated requirements.
Consult a Family Law Attorney Before Hiring a Private Investigator
A licensed, registered and experienced private investigator may be able to help an individual prove that their spouse is engaging in an adulterous relationship, inappropriate behavior, criminal activity or simply that they are not being truthful regarding personal assets or property. It is important to note, however, that a private investigator is not always necessary in every case. An experienced family law attorney will be able to review your case and determine whether hiring a private investigator is appropriate. It may also be advantageous to allow your family law attorney to assist you in hiring a private investigator who will legally and effectively obtain the information required. For more information regarding the use of a private investigator in your case, please contact Rodier Family Law today to schedule a free consultation.