Private Investigator Los Angeles
Private investigators in Los Angeles use their unique set of talents to help people across the state (and in states with reciprocity agreements). Not sure what a private investigator is? A private investigator is a person who holds licensing and is hired by individual or business clients who are dealing with a civil or criminal matter. The private investigator then helps these clients by performing surveillance, documentation, research on legal, criminal, business matters, or interviews with witnesses.
Los Angeles’ premier private investigators may help clients by doing the following:
- Handling different types of surveillance activities
- Performing undercover investigations
- Interviewing potential witnesses
- Researching cases
- Documenting and reporting outcomes to clients
The finest LA private investigators have a keen eye, pay attention to details with their observation skills, and an analytical mindset.
Being Licensed In the US as a Private Investigator
Every state is different when it comes to becoming a licensed private investigator. Not all states require licensing (Alaska, Mississippi, Idaho, Wyoming, and South Dakota) at the state level. Of these states, Alaska and Wyoming require licensing at the local level. For all the other states, there are different requirements, but they all have a few things in common:
- Must meet the minimum age requirement (ranges from 18-25)
- A high school diploma or GED
- United States citizen or legal resident
- Industry experience and/or college education
- Clean criminal record free of felonies or convictions involving crimes of moral turpitude
Some firms may have their own requirements for their private investigators that are on staff. These education requirements may require that the investigator carry at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or an equivalent study program.
California Private Investigator Licensing
To become a licensed and practicing PI in the state of California, applicants must be 18 years old and are required to:
- Complete a full criminal background check through California’s Department of Justice and the FBI. All of the fees associated with these background checks are the applicant’s responsibility. Per directions on the DOJ website, the FBI background check must be submitted first.
- Training requirements are as follows:
- Must have completed at least three years (2,000 hours a year for a total of 6,000 hours) of compensated experience in private investigation, or
- Have obtained a law degree or completed another four-year degree course in police sciences plus two years (4,000 hours) of training experience, or
- Have an associate’s degree in police science, criminal justice, criminal law, and 2 ½ years (5,000 hours) of experience. The experience must be certified by a previous employer and obtained while working as a sworn law enforcement officer, insurance adjuster, military officer, etc.
- Take a multiple-choice exam that is two hours in length. The exam covers the laws and regulations, terminology, criminal liability, civil liability, undercover investigations, evidence handling, and surveillance.
Once the exam has been passed, the applicant must mail the application with two photos that are passport-quality and the application fee.
Importance of Licensing and LA Child Custody
Cases within the legal system that deals with child custody are exceptionally sensitive. In most circumstances, it is one party against another, with outcomes that can wreck entire homes. Many child custody cases may be due to divorce or because unmarried parents can’t come to an agreement. It may fall upon a private investigator for the state agency or one of the parties to provide irrefutable evidence for the child’s placement. The Los Angeles private investigator must be licensed in these cases, or the evidence may be inadmissible, and the hiring party ends up in trouble.
Private Detective Reciprocity
Part of being a private investigator is traveling to render services where they are needed. Some states include reciprocity when it comes to the licensing of private investigation specialists. Sometimes the intelligence they need is across state lines, and when this happens, without reciprocity, they cannot practice.
Reciprocity is when a private investigator can use their state-issued PI licensing and practice in another state. The states with reciprocity agreements are California, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. To practice in a state where there is no reciprocity, a private investigator would have to be licensed there.
Services and Investigations Provided By a Los Angeles PI
Los Angeles is the home of Hollywood, but that doesn’t mean that the private investigators that live and work here are as cinematic as the big screen. You will have to make sure you choose the right private investigator for the job. Not all private investigators will have more than one specialty that they practice – you wouldn’t call on a private investigator who only handles background checks to run surveillance on a cheating spouse.
The United States Association of Professional Investigators recognizes the following specialties:
- Criminal investigations
- Criminology and Behavioral Sciences
- Civil Investigations
- Investigative Business Administration
- Insurance Investigation
- Investigative Law and Ethics
- Terrorism and Intelligence
- Special Victims
- Computer and Internet Forensics
Even though private investigators are not government agents, they still have a background in law and procedures. Due to the evidence they gather for the courts, they must be licensed and adhere to federal laws, state and local laws.
Responsibility During Private Investigation
Part of picking and adhering to a specialty are the responsibilities that come with being a private investigator. It isn’t all a game of “who killed Colonial Mustard in the library with the candlestick,” it’s about the daily operations and the lives they affect.
- Perform surveillance and undercover tasks
- Prepare the reports with the information and evidence collected for clients
- Interview people who could be key witnesses or supply other important evidence
- Conduct background checks for personal and employment screening clients
- Provide security
- Give testimony under oath in court
- Assist in locating missing persons
The work that private investigators do can make the difference between catching a cheating spouse, securing child custody, and even hiring the best candidate for a job. You might be surprised what a private investigator in Los Angeles can do with their investigative skills.
Kay & Associates – Premier Los Angeles Private Investigation
Whether you are in the city of Los Angeles or Los Angeles County, the investigators at Kay & Associates have a wide service area to help clients with all their investigative needs. With experience and licensing in the industry since 1992, it doesn’t matter where you need us to go – from the blvd to the beach, Kay & Associates are experts in surveillance and other specialties.
If you are ready to get started with your free 15-minute case consultation, give us a call or reach out with your information via email or our online submission form. Our services offer something for anyone looking to hire an investigator in the greater Los Angeles and surrounding areas on the map!