What is a Private Investigator?

What is a PI?

A PI is a private investigator, meaning a civilian (not law enforcement) investigator in private practice. In states that require that PIs be licensed, non-licensed persons offering Private Investigator services are operating illegally and should not be trusted. Please check credentials, including licensing, and report to the authorities any fraudulent operators you encounter. There are some persons, not licensed as PIs who conduct investigations legally. In the State of Washington, the  law defines eleven types of investigators who are exempt from Private Investigator licensing. Check your own state laws to see if Private Investigators are required to be licensed and if there are similar exemptions to licensing requirements. Some investigators who don’t come under the Private Investigator licensing laws are required to have licenses under other provisions of the law.

What does a PI do?

A Private Investigator is a data researcher who collects a variety of types of data from a variety of sources in a variety of forms. A PI evaluates and cross checks data collected to validate its reliability. A PI develops leads to more data from that already collected and collects, validates and analyzes that new data. A PI documents all data found. A Private Investigator provides court testimony where litigation is involved, both criminal and civil.

In what areas of practice do PIs operate?

I am a Washington State licensed Private Investigator and Private Investigation Agency Owner, based in Seattle and functioning in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties.

The member directory of the Washington Association of Legal Investigators lists 67 specialties or areas of practice. My specialties include:

Criminal Defense Investigations
Civil rights investigations
Personal injury investigations
Labor/management/employment investigations
Land use/environmental/natural resource issues

Private Investigator clients include attorneys, other PIs, corporate entities. government and private citizens.