Doubting your spouse’s fidelity is a painful and difficult experience. Nagging thoughts enter your head and the only way for these to cease is finding out the truth. Whether it turns out that your spouse is cheating or not, you will finally have the answers needed to make your next steps and move forward with your life.

Hiring a private investigator (PI) will provide you with the information you need fast. PIs can gather video, photos, and other evidence that can determine if your spouse is cheating and they can testify about what they observed during their infidelity investigations. There are rules, however, in what types of evidence are considered admissible in the court of law.

What a Private Investigator Can’t Do

It is important to keep in mind that, although a private investigator can help you find out the truth in many ways, they are not magicians. They also must act within the law.

The following are what private investigators can’t do:

Operate Without a License (Depending on State)

Some states have extensive licensing laws for private investigators. In some states, investigators have to complete a certain number of hours and pass a Private Investigator Examination before they can be employed as a licensed investigator.

Impersonate Law Enforcement

Private investigators cannot carry a badge, wear a uniform, or use any logo or phrasing that implies that the investigator is associated with law enforcement.

Break the Law

Private investigators are not above the law. Similarly, any information obtained illegally will not be admissible in the court of law. They cannot break the law on behalf of their client or for investigative purposes.


Private investigators cannot enter a property through illegal means. Though trespassing laws vary, in most jurisdictions the investigator must have permission from the owner before entering. That means that the investigator cannot trespass to obtain any information during surveillance.

Tamper with Mail

Tampering with another person’s mail is a federal offense, and private investigators are not above the law. Although intercepting mail would be an easy way to collect evidence, that is illegal.

Wiretap a Phone Without Consent

According to federal law, private investigators are prohibited from wiretapping or monitoring a phone without consent. Some states require consent from at least one party while others require consent from all parties being recorded.

You can find details about audio surveillance laws by State if you want to obtain evidence on your spouse in this way.

Hack Into Social Media or Email Accounts

Hacking of any kind is considered illegal. Some investigators may have specific software that allows them to scan and access information on the internet quickly and efficiently.

Obtain Protected Information

Although a private investigator can locate information, they cannot obtain federally or state protected information without the consent of the individual or without a subpoena.

These restrictions include:

  • Bank Accounts
  • Financial Records
  • Phone Records
  • Credit Scores

Advantages of Hiring a Licensed and Experienced Private Investigator:

So you may be wondering why you should even bother with hiring a private investigator at all if that person is essentially just a regular citizen.

Read on for some of the many advantages to hiring a private investigator when it comes to infidelity investigations:


One of the most important things that makes a private investigator valuable is anonymity. This is especially helpful when they are gathering evidence because they do not come across as suspicious.


Private investigators are good at what they do. They have experience in particular skill sets that allow them to watch and listen without being obtrusive or noticeable.


Surveillance and gathering information is a private investigator’s full-time job. They have the luxury of taking their time.


Those involved in the legal system or in law enforcement are bound by more rules and requirements than normal people. However, since a private investigator generally has all of the freedoms of any other regular citizen, it allows them to do things and obtain information that may not be possible for those in the legal system.

When Is Evidence in Infidelity Investigations Legal?

Most evidence gathered by a private investigator is legal and usually admissible in court as long as no laws were broken when the evidence was obtained. This means that any photos, video, or conversations can be used against your spouse if you find out that they have been unfaithful.

However, as mentioned above, there are rules and stipulations to what is considered legal. For example, any conversations that the investigator overhears must take place in a public place and in a normal tone of voice. Any pictures that the investigator takes of individuals must be in a public place and cannot be on private property where he may have trespassed.

Infidelity investigations can be complicated and emotional. Hiring a professional that has experience in the field will ensure that the investigation goes your way.

Should You Hire a Private Investigator?

Divorce, the division of marital property, custody, and even payment of attorney fees often depend on proving who is more at fault in the breakup of the marriage. In order to prove that your spouse has been cheating, you will need solid proof that is admissible in court.

The evidence a private investigator gathers on your behalf can be used in court to verify your claims and help to ensure that you receive the best benefits and results in court.

Hiring an experienced and savvy investigator usually reflects back in the results. Experienced private investigators know how to gather sensitive information legally that will be effective and hold up in court when it comes to infidelity investigations.

Being cheated on is a terrible thing. The least you can do is make sure you are protected in the best way possible when it comes to compensation.

Check us out for more information on how we can help with your investigation.

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Private Investigator Columbia SC

Stillinger Investigations, Inc.
1416 Park Street
Columbia, SC 29201
(803) 400-1974

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331 East Main Street Suite 200
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1203 48th Ave N Ste 201
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(843) 492-2999

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170 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 212-1338

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