Private Investigator Near Me

Are Private Investigator Legal

What You Should Know!

Are private investigators legal? You should know a few things if you are considering hiring a private investigator. For starters, private investigators must be licensed in most states, and state and local laws regulate them. Make sure you hire a licensed investigator who is in good standing with the regulatory authorities.

Additionally, private investigators are not law enforcement officers and do not have the same powers or authority. They are not allowed to carry a badge or gun or make arrests. They must operate within the bounds of the law and are not allowed to break the law or violate your legal rights during an investigation.

Keep reading to learn more.


Are Private Investigator Legal

What are private investigators allowed to do in California?

Private investigators in California are licensed by the California Department of Consumer Affairs and are regulated by the California Business and Professions Code. They are generally allowed to do the following:

  • Conduct investigations into any person or group of persons.
  • Conduct investigations into the location and recovery of stolen or lost private property.
  • Conduct surveillance investigations to obtain information on any person or group.
  • Conduct investigations to obtain evidence for use in court or other legal proceedings.
  • Conduct investigations to determine the conduct, occupation, credibility, loyalty, movement, affiliations, transactions, character, or reputation of any person or group of persons.
  • Conduct electronic bug sweeps in businesses, homes, and vehicles

It’s important to note that private investigators in California, like all individuals, are also subject to state and federal laws and must abide by them. If you have specific questions about what private investigators in California can do, it’s best to consult with a licensed private investigator or an attorney. Martin Investigative Services have been operating for 50 years. Call 1-800-577-1080.

Are private investigators legal in the US?

Yes, private investigators are legal in the United States. Private investigators, also known as private detectives, are hired to conduct investigations and gather information. State laws regulate private investigators, and the specific duties and responsibilities of private investigators may vary from state to state.

Individuals, businesses, and organizations hire private investigators to conduct various investigations, such as background checks, surveillance, missing person investigations, and intellectual property theft investigations. You may also hire private investigators to provide security services.

It’s important to note that private investigators are not law enforcement officers and do not have the same powers and authority as police officers. Private investigators are not allowed to carry a firearm unless they have a valid firearm permit and are not authorized to make arrests or detain individuals.

Are private investigators a real thing?

Private investigators are real professionals who conduct investigations on behalf of individuals, businesses, or organizations. They use various techniques, such as interviews, gathering and analyzing information, conducting surveillance, gathering information, and solving problems.

You may hire private investigators to investigate various issues, including infidelity, fraud, missing persons, insurance claims, and intellectual property theft. They may also provide security or risk assessment services or gather evidence for legal proceedings.

Risks of hiring a private investigator

There are a few potential risks to consider when hiring a private investigator. Some of the risks include the following:

Legal risks

One of the potential legal risks of hiring a private investigator is that the investigator may violate state or federal laws while conducting an investigation. Private investigators are not law enforcement officers and do not have the same powers and authority as police officers. They are subject to state and federal laws, and if they violate any laws while conducting an investigation, they could be sued or charged with a crime.

For example, private investigators can only wiretap or intercept any wire, oral, or electronic communication with the proper authorization. If a private investigator engages in wiretapping or electronic surveillance without the appropriate legal authority, they could be sued or charged with a crime.

Private investigators cannot access password-protected or secure computer systems without the owner’s consent. If a private investigator accesses a computer system without the owner’s permission, they could be sued or charged with a crime.

It’s vital to ensure that the private investigator you hire is licensed and operates within the law. It’s also a good idea to discuss the scope of the investigation and any potential legal risks with the private investigator before hiring them to ensure that they are aware of the legal boundaries of their work. If you have any specific concerns about the legal risks of hiring a private investigator, please contact us at 1-800-577-1080. We offer a free complimentary review of your case.

Privacy risks

A private investigator may gather sensitive information about an individual as part of their investigation. This information could include details about an individual’s personal life, financial affairs, or professional activities.

There is a risk that this sensitive information could be misused or shared with unauthorized parties. For example, the private investigator may share the information with their clients, who the same privacy laws as the private investigator may not bind.

It’s essential to ensure that the private investigator you hire has robust privacy policies and is committed to protecting the privacy of the individuals they investigate. It’s a good idea to ask the private investigator about their privacy policies and discuss your concerns about protecting your personal information before hiring them.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to be mindful of what information you share with the private investigator and consider whether there may be any sensitive or personal information you do not want them to access. Consider whether you are comfortable with the private investigator potentially sharing any information they gather with third parties.

Data and privacy breaches

Data privacy breaches can occur when sensitive personal or financial information is mishandled or misused. This can happen in any context where such information is collected, including when hiring a private investigator.

Private investigators may collect sensitive information as part of their investigation, and there is a risk that this information could be mishandled or misused. To minimize the risk of data privacy breaches, it is essential to:

  • Choose a reputable and professional private investigator committed to operating within the law and protecting your privacy.
  • Communicate your expectations and concerns about data privacy to the investigator
  • Understand what information the investigator will be collecting and how you will use it
  • Consider whether the potential benefits of the investigation outweigh the potential risks to your data privacy.

If a data privacy breach does occur, you may be liable for any resulting financial losses or other damages. It is essential to take steps to protect your data privacy and to be prepared for the possibility of a breach.


Are PIs legal? Knowing private investigator legal is vital if you plan on hiring one. We are a trusty private investigation firm with a professional network of former DEA, FBI, IRS, and Secret Service agents. We are licensed private investigators. Call us at 1-800-577-1080 or fill out our web form for assistance. We are happy to help.

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Client Testimonials

I’ve represented individuals and businesses (international and local) for close to fifty years, and I’ve called on Martin Investigative Services more times than I can count, often on a rush basis, for help throughout the world, on a number of different types of assignments.  I’ve never been disappointed.  I’ve always received swift, cost-effective and USEFUL information, which has wound up “saving the bacon” of our clients and making us shine in their eyes.  I recommend them without any reservation.

Peter M. Callahan

Attorney at Law Callahan Thompson Sherman & Caudill, LLP

Martin Investigative Services is truly one of the best run organizations we have worked with. Fair, efficient and professional. Tom Martin in particular exudes confidence and experience and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. That’s something we can rely on.

Marcia Bankoff

Organizational Resources Specialist, Kreative Webworks, Inc.

Successful people know that to be the best, you model the best. I cannot recommend Martin PI any higher! In a five-minute conversation with experienced people you can save thousands by bypassing sales types. They do this by cutting directly to the heart based on years and years of passionate pursuit of best practices and adding massive value to their clients. They are an invaluable part of my team and Tom is my most valued mentor!

Jason Sisneros

Author of Destiny's Doorstep

Martin Investigative Services has performed background checks, private investigation, surveillance and bug sweeps for our clients.  They have also served difficult process in lawsuits.  They have performed unquestionably and unfailingly to perfection.  We will always call Martin first – and hope he hasn’t been called yet by the other side!

Lisa & Bruce Hughes

Hughes and Hughes, LLP

We have used Martin Investigative Services for three decades. Their work is exemplary; reports are perfect and their testimony is very professional, with great judge and jury appeal. We will not use anyone else for our investigations.

Steven Silverstein

Former Orange County Trial Lawyer, Association Trial Lawyer of the Year

It has been my pleasure to work with Martin Investigative Services over the past 30 plus years on many investigations as well as other security related matters.  When I need answers and I need them fast I know that a simple call will get me answers that are succinct, current and coming from a supremely knowledgeable source.

Bill Bancroft

President & CEO Patrol One

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See and hear Thomas Martin speak on various solved cases.  After 50+ years, we are ready to help you with your investigative matter.

Start by contacting us and a meeting will be set up. Call (800) 577-1080