“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Private investigators handle two main types of cases: legal system cases and non-legal system cases. This distinction can be important because cases for the legal system are cases where evidence the investigator collects will likely be used or presented in a court case or other legal case. Each state has laws regarding the proper way to gather and process evidence for court proceedings. Private investigators are experts in gathering this evidence in accordance with state laws to avoid any key piece of evidence from being dismissed or ruled inadmissible.

Common Clients for Legal System Cases
Legal system cases typically come from particular companies, agencies or types of businesses. These may include the following:


Non-Legal System Cases
Cases that are initiated by private citizens are typically not viewed as legal system cases, though they can eventually become legal cases. A good example of a type of case that might start off private and eventually switch to a legal system case is an infidelity case. If conclusive evidence is collected that proves infidelity and the client opts to file for divorce, the case then becomes a legal system case. PIs are careful to collect evidence in such situations to anticipate the eventual possibility of the case shifting to a legal proceeding.

Another example of a case that is often not initiated as a legal system case is a missing persons case. Missing persons cases can be as simple as finding an old friend or more complex, such as tracking down a runaway teen or even a runaway spouse. Private investigators always use legal and best practice techniques for gathering information in any case, however, they have a keen sense of the potential for cases that might possibly end up in the courtroom.

Understanding and anticipating the possibility for a case of any kind to eventually find its way into a courtroom is a key skill a private investigator needs to have in the investigative process. Some cases are clearly for the legal system based on the client who initiates the case. Other cases are less clear whether they will eventually end up in the legal system. Private investigators are trained to be aware of situations or evidence that could shift a case from outside the legal system to one that ends up in court.