Is Evidence Gathered by a Private Investigator Admissible in Court?

Whether for divorce and family law investigations, personal injury lawsuits, or insurance fraud investigations, Personal investigators are called on daily for their expert advice and ability to ferret out evidence that might otherwise be left in uncovered.

Since the information is obtained without the knowledge and consent of the investigated party, many consumers are concerned with the legality of such evidence and its admissibility in court. After all, if a police officer obtained evidence without permission, their findings would be deemed inadmissible.

Let’s take a look at a few instances in which information a private investigator uncovers can and should be used in trial.

When is Private Investigator Evidence Legal in Court?

Since private investigators are private citizens, they are not bound by the Fourth Amendment. Therefore, information uncovered is admissible in court, without the consent of the investigated party. There are, however, limitations.

When individuals are observed or heard in a public place, anything they say or do can be entered as evidence. Conversations overheard and pictures captured are generally legal and admissible. For instance, if someone is seen or heard incriminating themselves at a crowded restaurant, they do not have a “legitimate expectation of privacy in the communication.” If they are, however, in the comfort of their own home, any evidence collected would be considered a violation of privacy and would be inadmissible in a court of law.

If you’re considering hiring a private investigator, but are concerned about the legal parameters, it’s always best to consult with an attorney first. 

When you're ready to take the next steps and hire a private investigator, look no further than the certified experts at Same Day Process. Headquartered in the heart of Washington D.C., Same Day Process is the leading provider of fast and reliable process serving and legal support services in Maryland, Virginia, and across the United States.

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