Lawyers, Investigators and the Law in NH

Lawyers are trained to litigate and negotiate. Investigators are trained to investigate.

An article by Lisa Stansky noted: “… Investigators often are more successful than lawyers at gathering information from people…”

The New Hampshire Supreme Court also recognized the value of a professional investigation in a child custody matter.

“The evidence offered regarding the plaintiff’s failure to properly supervise and attend to the children was overwhelming…a private investigator testified that when he observed the plaintiff on ten different evenings, the plaintiff left the children alone overnight on six occasions while she visited a male friend…Furthermore, the investigator’s report indicated that following the first day of the hearing, the plaintiff continued her pattern of leaving the children alone overnight.”

There are a few laws that directly apply to investigators. Most, but not all, investigators are aware of these laws, the attorney should be too.

RSA 106-f: 4

Any investigation, for a fee, requires a license in New Hampshire. The statute governing these activities is RSA 106-f: 4. It is the activity that is regulated, not the title of the provider. There are various entities performing various investigations in New Hampshire, without 私家偵探 license. The license means, among other qualifications, that a $50,000.00 bond is on file with the State. No license = no bond= no public protection. A license is required to perform the below services:

“business of collecting for a fee, hire or reward information on the identity, conduct, movements, whereabouts, affiliations, transactions, reputation or character of any person, or otherwise doing investigative work for a private rather than a public interest.” 106-F: 4 II

INVESTIGATOR’S DUTY

The New Hampshire Supreme Court stated that investigators can be held liable for the actions of their clients, even if the action is a crime.

“Thus, if a private investigator or information broker’s (hereinafter “investigator” collectively) disclosure of information to a client creates a foreseeable risk of criminal misconduct against the third person whose information was disclosed, the investigator owes a duty to exercise reasonable care not to subject the third person to an unreasonable risk of harm. In determining whether the risk of criminal misconduct is foreseeable to an investigator, we examine two risks of information disclosure implicated by this case: stalking and identity theft.”

TELEPHONE TOLL RECORDS

Recently an out-of-State investigator was ordered to forfeit over $110, 00.00 in profit she made after obtaining telephone toll records by pretext. For a longtime this was a gray area. Recent Federal Legislation makes this illegal, but there are still services offering to do it, they just leave out the pretext part in their advertising.

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