The person you are attempting to serve moved out of their old apartment, you can’t find their car at their work place and their cell phone number has been disconnected. If the person you’re trying to track down seems to be able to disappear into thin air, it can be frustrating. but is hiring a private investigator the right choice?
If the person you are attempting to serve is evading you at every turn or if they have threatened you or become violent when you have tried to serve them papers, you need to turn over the job to a professional. Some professional process serving companies (like our company, TAG»Process Service) have private investigators on staff to take on the trickiest of escape artists.
If You Hire a PI on Your Own…
Make sure to ask to see their PI ID card and record the license number and expiration date in case you need to verify it. The Arizona Department of Public Safety also recommends that you have a contract drawn up that outlines exactly what the PI is supposed to do for you, what the fees will be and what time limits are in place.
Private investigators in Arizona must be licensed by the Arizona Department of Safety. Failure to obtain a license is a class one misdemeanor. However, just because a private investigator is licensed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she will be skilled. Although it’s recommended that individuals pursuing a private investigator license have a degree or some training in criminal justice, it isn’t required. And private investigators don’t necessarily need to have any prior experience to obtain the license.
In order to open an agency, a PI needs at least three years of private investigation work experience, so if you are worried about hiring someone who isn’t reputable, going through an agency provide you with assurance that he or she will have at least some experience. If you do go to an agency, in addition to asking to see a PI ID card, also ask to see the wall license that all PI agencies in Arizona are required to display at their place of business to make sure they are legitimate. Report anyone who cannot show you a license to the Arizona Department of Public Safety Licensing Unit at 602-223-2361.
How much does a private investigator cost?
Depending on the complexity of the situation, private investigators usually charge between $40 and $100 per hour. Usually the private investigator will ask for a retainer upfront before they do any work. Once that runs out, they may also bill you for additional office visits, phone calls that they make for your case and for copies they have made. They will also charge you for stand-by time, which is when they are waiting for the person you are serving to do something or go somewhere.
How does a PI track down the person I’m looking for?
Private investigators know how to use surveillance skills to keep track of people’s day-to-day routines to figure out how to best approach them. Depending on the complexity of the case, some private investigators also use special databases to find information about the people they are keeping track of.
Some people are easier to track down than others, so every investigation looks a little different. And they usually aren’t as dramatic as the ones on Magnum P.I.
It’s important to remember that private investigators can’t obtain access to phone, hospital or criminal records. They also aren’t allowed access to credit information or other court documents.
PIs also can’t trespass on someone else’s property without legal consent and they could be charged with breaking and entering if they chose to enter someone’s home without permission.
If you want to bypass the process of finding a legitimate private investigator on your own, but still want a skilled PI to help you track down the person you are trying to serve, give TAG Messenger a call at 602-254-3900 or send us a message. We have full-time private investigators on staff to help with all of you skip tracing and investigation needs and can serve papers to anywhere in Arizona.