Can a Private Investigator trick a bad guy into doing something to catch it on video?

Is it okay to manipulate a bad guy into doing something so you can catch it on video and have evidence?

Generally speaking, that is not ethical but, I’m going to give you an exception here today.

What I’m talking about here is causing the subject of your investigation to do something they might not normally do and, generally speaking, this is considered unethical.

Anytime you’re interacting with your subject, you have to think, “What am I doing here? Is this ethical? How will this look to the outside world? Am I tricking this person? Or is this something that is legitimate?”

Maybe a pretext to gaining information is legitimate but let me give you an example of something completely unethical. For example, if you’re working on a worker’s compensation case, you cannot set a big rock behind the person’s car and sit back and film when they come out and move the rock so they can drive away. You cannot do that. That is completely unethical.

However… Continue reading

Can you go to jail if you accidentally commit a crime?

Note: Larry is not and attorney and nothing here is legal advice. If you have any questions about legal matters, please seek out a licensed lawyer in your area.

Can you go to jail if you accidentally commit a crime?

What if no one is injured? And what if there is no property damage? What if there are absolutely no consequences whatsoever to what you have done? If you accidentally commit a crime, can you still go to jail?

If you’re working on a case and you have to establish that the crime was committed, generally speaking, you have to establish two things.

First you have to establish that the crime was committed. This means you must establish the elements of the crime.

For example, on a Trespassing case, if the elements of the crime described in the law are that 1. The property has to be clearly posted and 2. That the person was on the property, that means you have to establish that those two things occurred. To do this you might go out and take pictures showing that the sign is clearly posted and not overgrown by vegitation or otherwise blocked from view. To establish that the person was actually on the property you may have to collect video form the surveilllnce cameras.

The second thing you (generally) have to establish when you are trying to put together proof of a crime is you have to prove intent – that the person intended to commit a crime. And that is very, very important. There are times when a person can do something that establishes the elements of the crime but there is no intent to commit the crime!

A classic real-world example is a woman in a store shopping for a purse. She’s looking at some purses. She puts one over her shoulder. Checks it in the mirror, likes it, and decides she wants to buy it. Then she continues shopping. She picks up some other items. As she checks out, she buys the other items and completely forgets that the purse is over her shoulder. After all, it feels normal because this is how she normally carries a purse. She is not trying to hide it from the cashier and, after paying for the other items, she walks out of the store without paying for the purse.

Was a crime committed? No, a crime was not committed because she had no intent to commit theft. She was not trying to steal. She just accidentally walked out with this thing. So, you can see that it’s not a theft and if you were to try to prosecute that woman for theft, you would have to prove that she intended to steal it and I just don’t think you are going to in this scenario.

However… Continue reading

When to break the rules as a P.I., Process Server, Loss Prevention Officer or Bounty Hunter.

The key is to KNOW the rules. And I mean to know them cold! Then…

Once you know the rules you can make an informed decision on when to break the rules.

In this week’s video I walk you through a case study where I apprehended (arrested?) a drunk driver after he plowed into a lady, totaling her car and then ran! Yeah. Nice try guy. This turned into a true drunk driving fail! GOTCHA!

This is good advice if it’s part of your job to “hunt humans”.

If you’re one of the good guys, you understand I’m talking about totally ethical behavior here.

I teach all of this in detail on The Investigator’s Ultimate Guide series.

When to approach a person as a Process Server or make an apprehension as a Bounty Hunter.

This is good advice if part of your job is to “hunt humans”.

If you’re one of the good guys, you understand I’m talking about totally ethical behavior here.

We, as the good guys, sometimes need to approach (and sometimes lay hands on) a “bad guy”.

As a Private Investigator or Process Server that rarely means touching the person, but if your doing fugitive recovery, then, yeah, you may have to physically take someone into custody or “make an arrest”.

Either way, this weeks tip will help you find the “sweet spot” between when the suspect can easily get back into his house and when he can reach his car.

Obviously, you want to time your approach so you get to him (or her!) when he’s kinda’ “stuck” – unable to make it to a place that’s out of your reach… like in his car or his house.

Of course you can still serve him if he’s in his car and I teach all of this in detail on The Investigator’s Ultimate Guide to Process Serving.