Common Questions About Private Investigation
At Sunset Blvd. Investigations, Inc., we understand that your situation calls for the most efficient, confidential and experienced Los Angeles private investigation team. We are confident in our team’s ability to handle your particular circumstance. Although we have answered many frequently asked questions about private investigations and how our team handles certain situations, if you have further questions, feel free to complete a case evaluation form to have your specific question(s) answered; many common questions include:
What Private Investigators Do?
Range of Services
At Sunset Blvd. Investigations, Inc. we believe in the importance of hands-on investigative work. By having direct access to the key personnel working on a case, our clients are guided through their situations and provided with current, real time information. Private investigators assist individuals, businesses and attorneys through the process of finding and evaluating information. Depending on the needs of each client, the private investigator is flexible in his or her work by providing a range of services.
For Lawyers / Law Firms
Private investigators assist lawyers and law firms with criminal defense preparation and investigation, with civil litigation case preparation, locating and interviewing witnesses, providing service of process and gathering and reviewing evidence. Investigators may also collect information involving the parties of a litigation matter, testify in court and assemble evidence and reports for trial, as well as searching for assets to recover damages awarded to individuals and/or companies in fraud or theft cases.
Private investigators are also efficient when it comes to assisting businesses with internal and external investigations. When conducting internal investigations, they may investigate sexual harassment claims and workplace drug use, as well as determine whether employees are stealing company assets, merchandise or information. Investigators may pose as an employee of the company to discover wrongdoing. When it comes to performing an external investigation, Private Investigators attempt to prevent criminal conspiracies from outside of the corporation. They also develop financial profiles of companies or individuals that are prospective parties to large financial transactions. Additionally, private investigators perform surveillance and searches; for example, when working on cases involving potentially fraudulent workers’ compensation claims, a Private Investigator may carry out covert observations of the suspected individual.
Private Investigators can be used to perform due diligence for an investor who might be considering investing money with an investment group, fund manager or other high-risk business venture. The prospective investor can avoid being the victim of fraud with the help of a licensed and experienced private investigator. Private Investigators can unearth information indicating the investment is risky or there are suspicions surrounding the investor’s history.
What Private Investigators Can Not Get for You
As you can see, there are countless benefits to hiring a private investigator, whether you are an individual or a company. However, it is important to realize from the beginning that there are also a number of things that private investigators are not legally able to do for you. Offices like this are well respected in the community, and upholding the law is of highest importance; though within the confines of the law we will do whatever we can to help you. If the information you are seeking is at a state of federal level, there is a chance that they may not be able to obtain it for you, though we will hopefully be able to point you in the right direction. Often times the location of the information is all you will need in order to negotiate terms with the party you are concerned with. Depending on the circumstance, there is also information that can only be obtained with the written authorization of the subject, and though it is limiting, we will use whatever resources we can to assist your needs. There are a various tasks that we are not able to do, here are four common ones that may arise:
- Bank accounts and other financial records are difficult to find and a PI may be able to help you search through the public records, conduct interviews, etc. in order to learn where the information may be located. Unfortunately, if you are looking for specific accounts information, this requires a court order for access.
- Telephone records are often concealed from the access of the public due to various laws at both the state and federal levels. A PI will again be able to help point you in the right direction in order to gain access that will lead you to the information you are looking for.
- Credit card information has become more difficult to trace in the more recent years due to tighter regulations by the government. Third parties are now restricted on many different levels from obtaining this information under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This act prevents PI’s in two ways: requires that certain people be notified when this information is sought after, and the methods for how it may be obtained are much more restricted.
- National criminal record access is only granted to specific law enforcement agencies and other organizations that are authorized from criminal justice; PI’s as well as information brokers are prevented from having access to this database.
Private Investigation in Los Angeles
Depending on the matter at hand, private investigators from Sunset Blvd. Investigations, Inc. treat each situation as unique. They begin by listening to the client’s needs and providing customized service to bring about the best results. With direct access to key personnel at the office, the private investigators at Sunset Blvd. Investigations ensure that no matter what the circumstance, a responsive and effective solution will be provided. An investigator uses a variety of approaches, from making phone calls to visiting a subject’s workplace; our team will do whatever it takes to solve your case. If the situation requires travel out of state or out of the country, our investigators will. Our team is committed to helping you obtain he answers that you desire in an efficient and timely manner. If you are in need of a private investigator and are wondering how one could assist your unique case, please do not hesitate in contacting Sunset Blvd. Investigations today.
Do I Need a Los Angeles Private Investigator?
It is easy to determine if you need a private investigator — if you have a situation that requires an in-depth and human-based solution, you are probably in need of a private investigator. In the modern age, virtual investigative companies offer electronic background checks and other limited online services. Hiring a private investigator, however, increases your chances of obtaining a successful result. We are not a database company; we perform the work required to solve your particular circumstance.
It is important to enlist a professional private investigator who is qualified, educated and intelligent in all areas of law. Another vital characteristic to seek in your investigation team is experience. At Sunset Blvd. Investigations, Inc. we have over 80 years of combined experience in private investigation and law enforcement. We accurately gather information and effectively preserve evidence that is necessary for the needs of our clients.
And because you want the most efficient investigator available, asking the right questions prior to hiring a private investigator will help you avoid a potential disaster down the road. Here are some questions you should ask before hiring a private investigator:
What type of education should you have?
While licenses and credentials (as seen below) are vital when looking for a private investigator, you will also want to make sure that they are formally educated as well. Ask any prospective private investigator whatever questions that come to mind regarding their type of training including their education background. Additional training is essential for this job, though more education is going to make them an even more valuable asset to you and your case.
Are you licensed and insured?
The State of California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services has stringent regulations regarding who can be licensed. Investigators should be able to provide proof of liability insurance. They also have an ethical responsibility to be aware of the laws of the state where the investigation is performed.
What type of experience do you have with law and investigations?
When hiring a private investigator, you don’t want just anyone working with your case. Be certain that they are not only educated and licensed, but also ask why type of experience they have that makes them the right fit for you. Our team, for example, has many years of law enforcement under our belts as well as criminal degrees that give us the extra insight and hands on experience you want on your side.
Can you provide references?
A professional private investigator will provide references. If they don’t, then you should consider not utilizing their services.
Who will handle my case?
In most instances, the experienced professional private investigator will manage the entire case.
Do you belong to any professional organizations?
When examining a private investigator, make sure that he/she belongs to a membership organization, such as the California Association of Licensed Investigators (CALI), the World Association of Detectives (WAD) and the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). These organizations offer rigorous training and certification for investigators and abide by a code of ethics as well as specific education and experience standards for membership.
Will our communications be privileged? Do I need to tell you everything?
- Privilege laws for investigator-client communications vary by state, but investigators are familiar with the particular laws in their state.
- When it is an attorney who retains the investigator, additional legal work product and communications privileges do apply.
- Providing the investigator with adequate information before hiring and throughout (as new developments occur), will increase the likelihood of an efficient, thorough and successful case.
What are the licensing requirements for a private investigator?
There are several requirements that must be fulfilled in order to become a private investigator; they are:
- Undergo a criminal history background check through the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
- Complete 3 years of compensated experience in investigative work (2,000 hours per year to total 6,000 hours); or a law or police science degree with 2 years of experience (4,000 hours); or an AA degree in police science, criminal law, or justice with 2½ years of experience (5,000 hours). Experience must be certified by the individual’s employer that it was performed while employed as a sworn law enforcement officer, military police officer, employee of a licensed Private Investigator, or as an arson investigator for a public fire suppression agency.
- Pass a 2-hour multiple-choice examination covering the following topics: laws and regulations, terminology, civil and criminal liability, evidence handling, undercover investigations and surveillance.
- Have fingerprints submitted to the DOJ.
Does Sunset Blvd. Investigations, Inc. carry professional liability insurance?
Yes. We carry $2,000,000 in liability covering errors and omissions. We have never been sued nor encountered a situation in which we had to defend ourselves as licensed private investigators.
If a private investigator is hired to conduct an investigation, who can or cannot know information about the case?
A Private Investigator may not release information acquired during an investigation to anyone other than his/her client, unless otherwise instructed by the client. However, if there are any criminal offenses, information may be released to local law enforcement or the Offices of the District Attorney and/or United States Attorney.
Does a private investigator have to submit his / her findings to the client in writing?
Not necessarily. Investigative reports must be submitted in a manner agreed upon by the Investigator and the client. If there is no agreement, oral reports are as acceptable as written reports. Investigative reports must be submitted to the client upon demand, if payment has been rendered. Private Investigators must make every effort to ascertain that the information acquired is factual and correct.
Will Sunset Blvd. Investigations, Inc. maintain my confidentiality?
We protect your confidentiality with a vengeance and are bound by law to maintain it, unless you give us permission to do otherwise, or the law requires otherwise (as in subpoenaed information that may be protected through attorney-investigator direction).
Does Sunset Blvd. Investigations, Inc. guarantee results of my case?
Given the unknown variables that are inherent to investigation, no private investigator is able to guarantee results. Our goal is to use our expertise to dig out the facts. We do guarantee the most advanced methods and best results possible based on the information you supplied. We make every effort to ascertain that the information acquired for your case is factual and correct.
What rates should be expected from Sunset Blvd. Investigations, Inc. and how much of a retainer is required?
Our private investigator rates vary depending on a number of factors, such as the type of investigation requested/required, the length and scope of the investigation, as well as time constraints. In most cases, a retainer for services is required in advance.
Are "rush" requests acceptable? Would there be an extra charge if I needed an investigation tomorrow?
The answer to this question would depend on our case schedule. If we are able to fit you in, we will do everything possible to fulfill your request. We will let you know if your request is acceptable as soon as possible, and we never charge a “rush” fee.
Will the person I am attempting to locate be notified?
No, your information and the reason for the investigation remain private. Generally, searches are amassed from a public record that holds no expected right to privacy. For example, real property, including homes and structures recorded with local government, are considered public information. Private investigators have a duty to maintain client confidentiality similar to doctors and attorneys.
Do private investigators have access to records that are not available to the general public?
Yes. Licensed private investigators qualify for access to databases that are not available to the general public. This includes data aggregators, such as LexisNexis and Accurint. They are able to provide in-depth and detailed information that cannot be found on the internet or through retail information brokers.
Is Sunset Blvd. Investigations, Inc. willing to travel out of state or out of the country?
Yes, we will travel anywhere to pursue the truth. The client makes the final determination whether or not they would like us to travel to obtain the facts of the case. If the possibility of travel is needed to work a case, this will be discussed with the client (along with related travel expenses).
How does Sunset Blvd. Investigations, Inc. communicate with me throughout the investigation?
Sunset Blvd. Investigations, Inc. employs cutting edge technology to ensure timely communication with our clients. Our client retainer agreement, investigation reports and invoices are all transmitted electronically via e-mail.
How can I pay for services conducted by Sunset Blvd. Investigations?
In most cases, services are provided against an advance payment for the work to be done. Before any work is performed, your case retainer is determined in collaboration with you based on the specific investigation requested/required. If the cost for investigative services exceeds the retainer provided, a final invoice will be forwarded to you for payment due upon receipt. If the cost for investigative services is less than the retainer, all remaining funds will be returned to you within 30 days of the conclusion of the investigation. For your convenience, we accept major credit cards.