What is a Maryland Private Detective NOT Allowed to Do?
Updated: Apr 15
1. Operate or Advertise Private Investigative Services, in Maryland, without a State Issued Agency License. 2. Impersonate Law Enforcement. This should go without saying but impersonating a cop, even for a P.I. is against the law and could cost the investigator and the agency its license. 3. Break the Law. In addition to the limitations on how information can be obtained and other investigation techniques, a private investigator cannot break into a building or structure, steal, harass, intimidate, detain, or otherwise "break the law" without consequence, just like the rest of us. Commit a felony, and the investigator will lose his or her license. 4. Behave in a manner that would be considered unethical. An example could include, obtaining information for non-investigative purposes, or using unscrupulous methods in gathering evidence. 5. Trespass. A private investigator cannot enter a property, house, or building through illegal means. Though trespassing laws vary from state to state, in Maryland the investigator is allowed an exemption to trespassing laws if they are working as a process server to serve legal documents. 6. Tamper with Mail. Tampering with, opening, or destroying another person’s mail is a federal offense no matter who you are or where you reside in the United States. 7. Record Conversations. Audio Surveillance is not permitted in Maryland without consent. Federal Law prevents private investigators from wiretapping, or monitoring phone conversations, without consent from at least one of the individuals, depending on the state. Most states in the US, as well as the District of Columbia, all have statutes that only require one party consent to the recording of a conversation. Maryland is not one of those states. A warrant is required. This is not to say, private investigators do not work with local law enforcement when necessary. 8. Film a Subject Through a Closed Window Shade into a Private Home. Investigators are generally not interested in what goes on behind your bedroom shade but know that they can NOT film the interior of your private property through an open window as long as the shade is down, or curtain is closed. If you have an expectation of privacy, invasion of that privacy, would negate any of that potential evidence from being admitted to a court proceeding. 9. Place a GPS Tracker on a Vehicle Without Consent. GPS trackers can only be placed on vehicles with the consent of an owner. For example, if a husband wants to put a tracker on the car his wife drives, he can only do so if the car is a marital asset. An employer cannot place a GPS tracker on an employee's private car. 10. Hack into a social media or Email Account. Hacking of any sorts just isn't what a private investigator does or should be doing. It is illegal and unethical. While most investigators, worth their weight in gold, have software and access to data that allows them to gain information a normal citizen cannot, like DMV and tag records, this is not Hacking. 11. Make an Arrest. Maryland Private Investigators have no authority to detain or arrest. Citizen's arrests are rare in the investigative field. Some states will allow a private investigator to serve an arrest warrant under special circumstances. Maryland is not one of those states. 12. Obtain Cell Phone Records Without a Warrant. An investigator cannot access cell phone records without a warrant or consent of the individual who holds the records. In most instances, a private investigator can get comparable evidence through other methods. If you believe your investigator is not licensed or violating the law. Contact your state police and licensing board to report them immediately. You can find a licensed, qualified, active, Maryland private investigator here: Find A Maryland State Licensed Private Investigator Now. Legal Eye Investigations LLC is a Maryland State Licensed Private Investigations and Detective Agency.
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*This List of Things a Maryland Private Investigator can NOT do Lawfully is for entertainment purposes only. If you are unsure about the laws that govern private investigators in your state, please reference your state license board.