11 Things That Private Investigator in Virginia Can and Cannot Do

In the last few years, the demand for private investigator has increased tremendously as the professionals do not work in a specific area. They move in and around different places to get the information required by the clients. Be it a missing person case or a case of forgery, the investigators can give adequate time and importance to each case and guarantee the client receives the required information. There are numerous benefits one can gain with a private investigation service.

Both business owners and individuals hire a private investigator thinking they can access the details, which isn’t legal. But it is far from reality.

Top 11 Do’s and Don’ts of Private Investigation Services in Virginia

There are numerous do and don’ts of the industry which private investigators need to follow. The guidelines help ensure the professionals follow the law while offering the services they can. Let’s Check out the guide to clear out the confusion.

  1. Trespassing on Other People’s Property

    Generally, the investigators are permitted to enter other persons’ property. However, they must be cautious about it. A single wrong step can make trespassing into breaking in. Thus, it must be done only by licensed private investigators who have adequate expertise. In most cases, the investigators need permission from the property owner before entering the premises.

  2. Wiretapping

    In most countries, the law states that the private investigator in Virginia must take at least one party’s consent to wiretap the phone call. Without the consent of an individual party, the investigator can be breaking the law. Thus, they can be charged with a crime.

  3. Accessing The Bank Records

    The licensed private investigators cannot obtain the bank records. It, however, is possible when they are working along with a lawyer. The private investigators can leverage their research expertise to manipulate and access the public database for gaining essential information.

  4. Opening Credit Information

    Private investigators are not allowed to access the credit information of a person. If this happens, then they are breaking the law and can be subjected to prosecution. But they can obtain the credit information for legal reasons. Further, they can access the court and criminal documents once the same details are made public.

  5. Retrieving Phone Records

    Like financial information and credit, the investigators cannot legally gain another person’s phone record. Remember, telecommunication companies protect records along with federal and provincial laws. This means by using investigative techniques, a private investigator may be able to uncover the phone number of the subject and the phone carrier within the legal rights.

  6. Tracking A Person With GPS

    Licensed private investigators are allowed to track the vehicle of the subject using a GPS. However, it depends entirely on the circumstances. If the private investigator has permission from the vehicle owner that the subject is driving the car, then in such cases, the GPS tracking can be used legally to locate and follow the car. This is extremely beneficial in the case of infidelity when the vehicle owner suspects the partner of cheating. However, when multiple parties own the automobile, the law is unclear. This means the private investigators must take necessary precautions. When the owner’s consent isn’t obtained, the detectives have no legal right to track the vehicle with electronic devices.

  7. Hacking Electronic Devices

    In contrast to popular belief, private investigators cannot hack any electronic device like computers, phones, social media accounts, and email. The misconception has been generated from the movies and TV dramas that depict false things about private investigation services. Even though the investigator knows how to hack the electronic devices, they must avoid it. The only time the investigator is allowed to hack into someone’s device is when they have the permit to do so.

  8. Working with the police

    In some cases, private investigators are hired to offer a second opinion in police cases. For example, when the police investigate a suspected break-in, there is no report of forced entry. The individual can hire a licensed private investigator to gain an alternative opinion. In such cases, the detectives will work with law enforcement to find the result, which is the truth.

  9. Searching License Plate Numbers

    Private investigators are allowed to search for license plate numbers for specific investigating purposes. However, there are certain limits to when and how far the power can be utilized. For instance, the investigator cannot search for a plate number because he is curious about the individual. It must have some legal justification.

  10. Search information online

    The private investigators are experts. They have adequate expertise in researching and crawling for information through official records, the internet, and the public database. They know how to use social media and search engine platforms to obtain information for a case. The social platforms only provide a glimpse of the information. But an experienced investigator knows where to look and how to find information that is essential and within their rights.

  11. Acquire Medical Records

    Private investigators aren’t allowed to gather medical reports. However, they are allowed to interview the associate’s family or friends to obtain information about the medical history. In simple words, the licensed private investigator can only access the medical information when the people close to the subject are willing to share it.


The TV dramas and movies based on private investigation services in Virginia have filled the minds of people with misconceptions. In reality, private investigation services are entirely different. One cannot expect a private investigator to hack into someone’s account to access the details as it is not legal. The investigator must abide by the law and follow all the guidelines during the services. It is a safe way of finding the information essential for a case while staying away from any legal issue. When you hire an experienced and licensed private investigation firm in Virginia, you need not have to worry about anything. They know how to do their job while following all the legal obligations.

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