The information on this page is an excerpt from the FabJob Guide to Become a Private Investigator. It is only a small sample of the valuable information contained in the 117 page complete guide.
The Top 7 Trends for Private Investigators
The criminal defense investigator is the right arm of the successful criminal defense lawyer. Your main goal is to help the lawyer get an acquittal for your client. To do this, you must find evidence to establish reasonable doubt about whether your client committed the crime.
You therefore need to research the law relating to the crime that your client is charged with so you understand the specific elements of the crime. You need to inspect and examine all materials handed over by the prosecution. You should also examine every police and prosecution document, report and form, no matter how routine or insignificant it may seem to look for any inconsistencies.
Your job may also include examining the crime scene, interviewing witnesses, and anything else that the lawyer thinks might help win the case.
To be a criminal defense investigator, you must have a working knowledge of federal and state laws, and you need a thorough understanding of the proper police criminal investigation techniques, since your investigation will closely follow theirs. You must also be painstaking and persistent. The payback? Criminal defense investigation is one of the most interesting, challenging and personally satisfying specialties.
An education in criminology and political science might give you an edge in this field, and paralegal training can also be quite an asset. There are also many training courses and seminars that deal with criminal defense investigation. I’ve listed a couple but you can do a search to find countless others.
The Criminal Defense Investigation Training Council – Seminars & Training Programs
Lion Investigation Academy – Basic Criminal Defense Investigation
There are also Investigative Internship programs available. You can do a search to see if there are any available near you. Some of them are only open to students enrolled in a four-year university program or graduates of those programs, which you may already be if you have been working towards becoming a PI too. For example:
Georgetown University Criminal Justice Clinic Investigative Internship Program
A great opportunity to break into this field is to volunteer at your local public defenders office. Web sites for some of the county, state, and federal public defenders office can be found at:
Here are some additional resources to help you get started:
Crime & Clues: The Art and Science of Criminal Investigation
Crime Scene Investigation
National Association of Legal Investigators
Seventeen Point Check List For Working A Capitol Criminal Defense Case by Suzanne Serdahley
NCIT Tricks of the Trade
The above is only a small sample of the information contained in the FabJob Guide to Become a Private Investigator. The complete guide contains more information about career opportunities plus detailed information on how to get hired as a private investigator.
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