Qualifications to Be a Licensed Private Investigator in DC

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A private investigator assists companies, organizations, attorneys and individuals in securing information or evidence related to solving crimes, revealing identities or any other legal purpose in which the procurement of information is needed. While most states require you to be licensed in order to work as a private investigator, the requirements for each jurisdiction vary. To become a private investigator in Washington, D.C., you must meet certain qualifications and be licensed by the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.

Licensing Authority

Under Washington, D.C, regulations, the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia is the sole authority charged with licensing of private investigators in its jurisdiction. All applications to be a private investigator must be approved by the department before an private investigator license is valid. Anyone wanting to work in D.C. as a private investigator must hold a valid private investigator license. Any questions as to licensing qualifications should be directed to the Metropolitan Police.

Metropolitan Police Department Security Officers Management Branch 2000 14th Street, NW Washington, DC 20009 (202) 671-0500

Preliminary Requirements

In order to qualify for private investigator license, you must satisfy the following requirements: Be at least 18 years of age, be a resident of the District of Columbia (unless you specifically appoint a resident attorney or agent to maintain your office,) pay a licensing fee, and agree to provide both a fingerprint and a recent photograph specimen. In addition, you will need to file and keep in force throughout the duration of your license a bond of no less than $5,000.

Additional Requirements

Before you can become a private investigator in the District of Columbia, you must not have any felony conviction and pass a criminal history review. Furthermore, you must pass an FBI background check. Under gun laws in the district, having a private investigator license does not permit you to carry a concealed weapon. In order to carry a concealed weapon you must satisfy separate and more stringent gum carrying requirements.


About the Author

Marcello Viridis has been "working in writing" for the past six years. Since publishing his first article in 2004, he has written on a range topics from working and living overseas for the Wall Street Journal's Black Collegian website to legal essays for the Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties. Viridis has a B.A. from Pomona College and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School.

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