While popular culture often depicts private detectives as mysterious figures who walk a fine line between right and wrong, today’s private investigation services offer a variety of legitimate services to equally diverse clients. For example, many private investigation companies are hired by banks to prevent insurance fraud and other financially-motivated crimes. However, many people may question the validity of private detective services: how can you be sure that the private investigator fees you are expected to pay are going to a true professional, and how can you be certain of results?
Due to these concerns, many states and countries have implemented laws that regulate private detective firms and their employees. The latest to join this number is the state of Alabama, which was previously known among private investigators for its unchecked industry. Now, thanks to a 2013 bill that has recently taken effect, private detectives are required to obtain additional licenses and training before they can set up a business and start charging private investigator fees.
Previously, the state of Alabama only required that private investigators buy a business license; they were not required to have any sort of background check or training to purchase this license. According to many private detectives and former customers, this allowed a number of disreputable people to act as private investigators, including convicted felons, inexperienced individuals, and con artists. While some organizations, including the Alabama Private Investigators Association, required members to have additional experience and qualifications, there was very little in place to protect customers from the more disingenuous figures in the industry.
The new law has established a licensing board, which will approve or deny authorization to private investigators and give dissatisfied customers a way to report problems; in previous years, these people had to turn to the court system or their Better Business Bureau. Thanks to the law, it is now a Class A misdemeanor to provide private investigation services without a license, which requires professionals to provide fingerprints, five-year work histories and pass a written exam. Because of this, the board will also be able to subpoena people suspected of violating the requirements.
Despite these changes, many private investigators in Alabama say that they are pleased with the new requirements, which will help them demonstrate their credibility and push out those who give their industry a bad name. Does your state have similar protections in place? Can you trust the person who is charging you private investigator fees? Check your area’s requirements and a specific investigator’s reputation to find out. Read this for more.