Criminal Defense Photo by Sebastian Pichler on Unsplash
Photo by Sebastian Pichler on Unsplash

Criminal defense cases carry life-changing consequences, and it’s important to add as much as possible to your defense. Obviously, hiring a good lawyer should be your first step, but many defendants neglect to take the next, critical step: hiring a PI. Private investigators offer unique and invaluable benefits to essentially any type of criminal defense case. They offer talents, skills, and services neither the police nor your lawyer can provide, and yet a PI works well with both of these parties.

Reliable Investigative Power for the Defense

Although a good defense lawyer will do the most they can to investigate the evidence and leads gathered by police, their primary role is to address the law. They look at these materials for errors in the chain of evidence, mishandling, plausible deniability, and other technical problems. Sometimes, depending on the lawyer and the case, your representative may find a logical flaw that proves you could not have committed a crime. However, they are trained first and foremost in law, and it’s unreasonable to expect them to behave like television defense lawyers in fictional dramas.

Police are under constant pressure to close cases, and once a prosecutor takes up a case, it’s reasonable to assume law enforcement will err on the side of fellow civil servants. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are corrupt. It simply means they are doing their best to perform their jobs. In order to bring sufficient evidence for the defendant, most lawyers need the help of a PI. Hiring a private investigator gives your defense far more investigative power. While the lawyer focuses on the law, the PI can continue examining and looking for new evidence that may exonerate you. This two-pronged approach offers any case a better chance of a favorable resolution for the defendant.

Ability to Follow Additional Leads

One of the most important roles a PI plays in a criminal defense case is following up on leads the police abandoned. The police are almost always overworked and not given the budgets they need. That means when they find a reasonable suspect with a few pieces of supporting evidence, they’re likely to go ahead with the prosecution rather than continuing to develop new, contradictory leads. Often, this happens accidentally, or because politics or budget restrictions put an end to lead-hunting. A private investigator is free to follow whatever leads are available.

These can easily show reasonable doubt in a criminal defense case. If there are other suspects who are just as likely to have committed the crime, or there is a flaw in the original timeline, juries are far less likely to find defendants guilty. This outside support can help police find the truth behind a crime and prevent further crimes from happening. It’s a win all around. Remember, even if you are prosecuted, law enforcement still wants to make sure they get the right person. There are consequences for everyone if they do not. Hiring a private investigator helps the defendant the most, but it also benefits the police and the community in general.

Potential for New Evidence

Ultimately, the best thing a PI can offer a criminal defense case is new evidence. During their investigations, a private investigator may find a reason to suspect other involved parties or reveal ulterior motives. These play strongly into reasonable doubt and may lead to a better understanding of the case for all involved. New evidence takes many forms and isn’t limited to concrete materials. Evidence may include additional witness testimony, proof of travel, video recordings, etc.

Collaborative Opportunities

Although the level of interaction between a defense lawyer and a PI depends greatly on the situation and individuals involved, it’s possible for collaboration to improve a defendant’s case. A private investigator and a lawyer look at the same evidence very differently. They are trained to analyze videos, recorded testimony, and physical evidence to achieve different ends, which of course influences how they interact with such materials. By combining their points of view, a PI and a lawyer can come to better conclusions and create more reliable timelines.

Close collaboration also makes it easier for both parties to do their jobs. If the lawyer suspects tampering, they can have the PI investigate in greater detail. If the private investigator notices a trend in a series of witness statements, they can point out their observations to the lawyer, which may lead to more involved examinations. A lawyer cannot replace a PI, and a PI cannot replace a lawyer, but they can work very well together if paired wisely.

A PI can change the outcome of your case. One piece of overlooked evidence or a forgotten paper trail can prevent a conviction. No matter how talented your lawyer is, they will need help, and the police cannot be everywhere at once. A private investigator has your best interests in mind, and that matters when your financial stability, freedom, and life are at stake.