This article summarizes what Private Investigators do in the State of Virginia

     In the State of Virginia all Private Investigators must be Registered to conduct Investigations and Licesned to take on Clients. The difference between these two categories is, when one is Registered, they can conduct Private Investigations but MUST be employed by a company that is Licensed for Private Investigations. A Licensed company is one that has met stringent requirements of the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS)in order to advertise and contractually take on Clients.

     One important point that you need to keep in mind is, while an Investigator is Registered and/or Licensed to conduct Private Investigations and has the latest technology and solid experience, they do not have a magic wand or crystal ball. While conducting your Investigation the operative in the field has many issues they need to contend with to affect as successful an Investigation as possible. The Investigator also cannot control what the person under surveillance does (or doesnt do) and it is an ever evolving situation.

     Some other very important facts for you to understand is, while the Investigator is Registered, has a License, equipment and experience, they are not above the law. Unfortunately TV, the movies and "pop culture" have created and perpetuated the "Magnum PI" image of the profession.While some Investigators have a fancy car or airplane, most do not and more importantly, all do not have special privledges and powers to break the law or have the same capabilities as the CIA or FBI.

     When conducting Investigations in the field, your Investigator will in most cases flip flop between stationary and mobile surveillance. When conducting stationary surveillance the Investigator must do all they can to be in position to see what is going on AND not be discovered, called hiding in plain sight. Eventually the Investigator will need to transition to mobile surveillance. When the activity transitions to mobile surveilance the Investigator faces the most challenging phase of your Investigation. Once mobile the Investigator must continually be aware of all the traffic around them AND the person they are following as well as traffic laws (speed, traffic control devices/signs, school zones etc). The additional challenge the Investigator faces is dealing with (or trying to deal with) what the person they are following does. Sometimes the person being followed is a speed demon, traveling at a high rate of speed, changing lanes unsafely, making abrupt turns or u-turns etc. The Investigator needs to deal with all that the best they can while always being aware of all traffic (and traffic laws) around them. The Investigator is always walking the line between staying close enough so they do not lose the person being followed yet staying back enough so they arent "busted" which means being discovered. The job of following someone mobily becomes even more challenging if the person being followed has reason to think they are under surveillance and knows what to look for.

** DISCLAIMER: We are not Attorneys. All information presented in this and all other articles on our website are based solely on experience and opinion. The intent of our articles is to provide some basic information and is not intended to provide any legal advise. If you are in need of legal advise you must contact an Attorney who can best advise you on your circumstances.