Are private investigator findings admissible in court ? 

Are private investigator findings admissible in court?


Note: the following article is not legal advice. You should consult a competent attorney before taking any of the advice below.


Private investigators spend the majority of their time digging up evidence to support their client’s cases. These cases often go to court and the evidence dug up by the private investigator is often presented as a support to that case. So the answer to the question, “Are private investigator findings admissible in court?”is YES.

Yes, private investigator findings are admissible in court.

This only applies if the findings were obtained legally. Illegally obtained evidence is not usually admitted into court proceedings. Some examples of illegally obtained evidence include:


  • Evidence obtained by an unlicensed private investigator
  • Evidence obtained by tapping a phone line
  • Evidence obtained by cracking a computer password
  • Evidence obtained by breaking and entering
  • Evidence obtained by threatening someone


Essentially, if a law had to be broken to obtain the evidence it’s most likely illegally obtained evidence and that is not admissible in court (usually).


There is a Federal Law governing evidence admissibility and it’s known as the Federal Rules of Evidence. From their website: “The Federal Rules of Evidence were adopted by order of the Supreme Court on Nov. 20, 1972, transmitted to Congress by the Chief Justice on Feb. 5, 1973, and to have become effective on July 1, 1973.”


We once saw a judge in Georgia allow audio recordings to be played that were obtained illegally. This is a very rare situation. The husband had installed an extension on the house phone and had connected a recorded to that extension line. He then was able to capture recordings of his wife talking to her lover. Although this evidence was illegally obtained the judge allowed the recordings to be played in open court.


An attorney is the best person to ask if you want to know whether a private investigator’s findings are admissible in a court of law. Attorneys are trained in the law and if you’re looking for a competent attorney you can view a list of them here.


The most common reason evidence might be excluded from a private investigators findings is that the private investigator was actually not licensed. States issue licenses to private investigators usually through the Secretary of State or though the State Police department for that state. You should always make sure you are dealing with a properly licensed private investigator if you want to have their findings be admissible in court. You can see what an actual valid license looks like here.


We know that when you’re going to court you want everything to go smoothly, so it’s not unusual to ask are private investigator findings admissible in court. You don’t want any evidence that can support your case to be thrown out because it was either illegally obtained or if it was obtained by an unlicensed private investigator.


If you are looking for an affordable licensed private investigator, with 20 years of experience assisting individuals, attorneys and corporations feel free to contact us here. You can also view a portion of our extensive client list here, and see what actual clients say about us here.


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