PIs Can Do a Lot, But Some Things Are Off Limits
While private investigators provide a wide range of valuable services to their clients, there are some things private investigators cannot do in Colorado. Simply put, private investigators cannot break the law when pursuing their clients’ goals.
These highly trained and seasoned professionals use their insights, instincts, and resources to find answers, locate people, and obtain evidence that would elude most people. But they cannot and should not operate outside of the bounds of the law, nor should they act in ways that are unethical or that put others in danger.
Specific Things Private Investigators Cannot Do
Specifically, here are nine things that are out of bounds for Colorado private investigators:
1. Operating Without a State License
Just because someone calls themselves a private investigator does not mean they are one. No matter how impressive their website, polished their presentation, or impeccable their credentials, if they don’t have a license issued by the state of Colorado, they cannot legally offer their services to you.
Colorado’s Private Investigators Practice Act established a mandatory licensing program for private investigators to, in the statute’s words, “protect consumers by ensuring private investigators have the appropriate knowledge and ability to perform investigations in an ethical and professional manner.” To that end, private investigators must meet specific education and experience requirements to obtain a license, including passing a rigorous test called the Colorado Jurisprudence Exam.
If you’re looking to hire a private investigator, look here first to ensure that they have a license. If they don’t, look elsewhere.
2. Impersonating Police or Law Enforcement
Many, if not most, private investigators have police or law enforcement backgrounds. But what makes a Colorado private investigator “private” is that they no longer work for the government. Private means they cannot hold themselves out as being a part of or representing a law enforcement agency.
3. Wiretapping or Recording a Phone Call Without Consent
In Colorado, an individual, including a private investigator, cannot record a phone call between two parties without the consent of at least one of the people on the call.
Similarly, it’s almost always illegal to wiretap or “bug” someone’s phone by
placing a device on the phone that allows a person not a call to eavesdrop on a telephonic conversation or other transmissions. That said, in-person eavesdropping, such as sitting at an adjacent restaurant booth to overhear a conversation, is perfectly legal.
Private investigators cannot enter someone’s home, business, or property without the owner’s consent. If they do so, they are trespassing, just as you would be if you did the same thing. This includes breaking into someone’s property or even going through an unlocked door without the owner’s knowledge or permission.
5. Filming or Taking Pictures Inside a Person’s Home
If someone is in a public space, they do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. As such, a personal investigator can take all the photos or videos they want of someone if they are out and about, no matter how intimate they may be.
However, the law doesn’t allow you to take pictures of a person through the window of their home, office, or hotel room, or even in their backyard. In such spaces, people do reasonably expect privacy and investigators cannot aim their cameras into those areas.
6. Putting a GPS Tracker On Someone’s Car
Following a subject’s movements becomes a heck of a lot easier if a GPS monitor tells you where they are, where they’ve been, and where they are going. But private investigators cannot install a GPS tracking device on a person’s vehicle without their consent. That said, if a vehicle’s owner does allow the installation of such equipment, it’s allowable even if someone other than the owner regularly drives the car and has no knowledge of the device.
7. Hacking Into Email or Social Media Accounts
Social media posts and pictures can give private investigators a treasure trove of information. Those posts are fair game if they are public. But Colorado private investigators cannot hack into someone’s account, nor can they hack into their email or other private online accounts, such as for their bank, credit card, phone, or other utilities.
8. Obtaining Protected Information
Similarly, private investigators cannot obtain state or federally protected personal information without the subject’s consent or a court-issued subpoena. This includes things like financial, banking, phone, and medical records.
9. Tampering With Mail
Tampering with mail is a federal offense. Personal investigators, therefore, can’t open someone else’s mail or even sift through their mailbox without running afoul of the law.
Call Us Today to Learn More About What BrightStar Investigations CAN Do For You
While there are some things private investigators can’t do in Colorado, there are plenty more things they can do to help people get the information, answers, and resolutions they need. No matter what your situation or objectives, we encourage you to call the private investigators of BrightStar Investigations to learn more about how we can serve you.
Contact us to get started today!
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