There are several ways a private investigator can help you in court. The first major thing to note is that private investigators are considered expert witnesses. If you hire the right investigative firm, you will have a very powerful tool when it comes to reports and testifying on your behalf.
In civil case, such as child custody or infidelity, we start by discussing your concerns and gather as much information as possible. We then write up a contract that both SIG and you (the client) would sign which covers both parties legally if something should go wrong. I can't stress enough no matter what investigative firm you choose make sure you get a contract. Once that is completed, we design an operational plan which will help us decide the best locations begin conducting the investigation. Many times we scout the location first so that we have a good idea of the surroundings. Some of the things we look for are: is it in a residential neighborhood or in a rural area, are there a lot of neighbors at home during the planned surveillance times, and what are the entry and egress points? After all of that and more we conduct surveillance on the subject and if any inappropriate behavior, or abuse/neglect is going on we document it using video and photographic evidence, along with our written first-hand account in report form. If we witness a crime being committed we report it immediately to the authorities. This includes reporting to Child Protective Services (CPS) as well as police.
In child custody cases, we can help recognize set routines, testify on whether the children appear to be safe and healthy, that the children are attending the schools and doctors appointments as ordered, and verify that people that should not be around the children are not around. We can also testify to appropriate supervision of children. We are able to also establish the habits of the parents, including verifying that they are following specific court orders, such as no alcohol within 12 hours of custody of the child. Although these things may take time, the time needed will be well-established before and during the investigation to verify that your investment is worthwhile and that the investigation will help in your case.
In a criminal case, we start the same way as in the civil investigation, by signing a contract and establishing an operational plan. In addition, we request discovery from the client's attorney and work with them closely to try and prove guilt or innocence through factual evidence and interviews, as well as surveillance as needed. At SIG, we are very well-versed in Texas and federal law which is necessary and helpful while conducting your investigation. Once we have received discovery from the attorney, we begin researching from the very beginning, before the charge was even made and work it all the way through as if it were a whole new investigation. We examine the evidence, review policy and procedure to verify that nothing was broken, establish if any violations of our client's civil rights may have occurred, review to be sure that the chain of evidence was followed appropriately, and to determine if there are any discrepancies. We also review to verify if there is more evidence, or witnesses that the police didn't find or talk to. We question whether the evidence shows another possible story besides the one that the police built their case on. Sometimes, the evidence is overwhelming that the client did in fact commit the crime, but we may find something that can help get a lesser plea deal, in many cases we have investigated for our clients they end up being cleared of all charges and go free. As a client you know whether or not you committed the crimes you're being accused of, but if you're truthful with us from the start we will do our due diligence to help you get the best outcome possible.