One of the most critical things private investigators do is collect and compile pertinent information to help bolster a legal case. Whether it’s to provide evidence of insurance fraud in a corporate investigation case or gather the proof needed to tip the scales in a child custody situation, the records filed in court can mean the difference between a nail-biter and a slam-dunk case. That said, there are certain things one should understand about court records before proceeding, including how to leverage them to help bolster your investigation. Let’s take a look.
They’re accessible to anyone. Unlike many other means that private investigators use to check the background of a subject, court records do not require any special permission to access them. They are public record and available to anyone who requests access.
They contain factual and reliable information. In most cases, court records contain information that is obtained under oath, including depositions, sworn statements, allegations, affidavits and proceedings. Because these documents are taken under oath, the info contained within is considered to be reliable and accurate, which makes them incredibly valuable to private investigators.
There are two different types of court records – state and federal. Each typically handles its own categories of offenses. For example, state court hears civil cases, such as divorce, child custody and small claims. Federal court handles higher-level scenarios, such as immigration, social security and any federal law that’s been violated.
Having all possible names is important. If you’re looking for information about a particular person in court records, the more identifying data you have, the better your chances. For instance, many people have nicknames and some have used aliases throughout their lives. Experienced private investigators know how to dig up these details when performing research.
Different types of cases will include different information. Court records for civil cases will typically only contain the name of the parties involved. Other identifying data, such as date of birth and social security number will usually not be included. This can pose a challenge for situations in which the party in question has a common name. Federal cases contain more details.
Searching multiple databases can provide better results. The problem with many court records is that they were completed and filed by humans, which means mistakes could have been made in the process. This is why private investigators cross-check multiple sources to help identify errors, omissions and other incorrect information and hone in on what’s accurate.
Going directly to the court house is the most effective option. While the internet has made searching court documents and other legal databases much easier, the only way to access actual court records is to visit the court in person.
When it comes to finding information and making a case stronger, court records can provide the ammunition needed. Understanding what these filings mean as well as how to best search and access them can make pulling the information you’re after much easier and more efficient. Of course, nothing replaces the services of skilled, seasoned private investigators. If you need assistance with anything from a basic background check to a detailed personal or corporate investigation, Lauth Investigations International, Inc. can help. Give us a call today at 800-889-3463 to discuss your specific needs.