In the common mentality, the criminal investigation is reserved to the Public Prosecutor’s Office through the Judicial Police, such as the Police, the Carabinieri, and the Guardia di Finanza. However criminal proceedings may involve other actors. One of these is the private investigator, a fundamental figure in the search for evidence both for and against the accused.

The Importance of the Lawyer in Criminal Defense

First, the defense of the accused is entrusted to the lawyer, who undertakes to seek all the evidence to exonerate his client. The lawyer, as a jurist, carries out investigative activities such as the acquisition of summary witness information from persons deemed useful to the case. However, not being an investigator by profession, the lawyer may not be able to carry out all the investigative activities necessary in criminal proceedings.

The Role of the Private Investigator in Criminal Investigations

This is where the private investigator authorized to carry out criminal investigations comes in. Not all private investigators can conduct criminal investigations, but only those who have obtained the appropriate authorization issued by the Prefecture and/or Police Headquarters. These authorities shall grant authorization only after verifying the requirements necessary to carry out that activity, such as the professional experience of the applicant. It is important to note that authorization can only be requested by persons already in possession of the license to carry out private investigation activities in the civil sphere.

The Activities of the Private Investigator

The private investigator authorized to criminal investigations carries out various activities in the context of defense investigations. These activities include:

Taking of Witness Statements: The private investigator can confer with people who can provide useful information to the case. However, it is important to obtain these statements according to a precise protocol, otherwise they may be unusable in criminal proceedings.

Access to Places and Things: The private investigator can access private places or places not open to the public to view the state of the places, describe them or perform technical, graphic, planimetric, photographic and audiovisual surveys. However, to do so, the delegation of the defender or the authorization of the judge is required, even without the approval of those who have the availability of such places.

Surveillance and Fact Detection: The private investigator can carry out surveillance activities through stalking, stalking and video / photographic recordings. These activities are essential for the establishment of the facts subject to criminal proceedings.

The Role of the Private Investigator in the Adversarial Hearing

The private investigator may be called to testify in the adversarial proceedings between the parties regarding the activities carried out during the defense investigations. According to art. 391 bis paragraph I c.p.p., the defender is incompatible as a witness, but this incompatibility does not apply to the private investigator unless the latter has recorded the statements made by the person informed about the facts, as required by art. 197 paragraph I letter d) c.p.p.

The Professional Secret of the Private Investigator

The authorized private investigator has been included among the categories of subjects authorized to oppose professional secrecy, according to Art. 4 of Law no. 397 of 2000. This means that the private investigator is obliged to keep secret what he has learned by reason of his ministry, office, or profession.

The Documentation of Defensive Investigations

The documentation relating to the investigations carried out by the defender can be collected in the file of the defender or created as an insert deposited with the G.I.P. This documentation can also be consulted by the Public Prosecutor during the investigations and, at the end of these, will be included in the file of the public prosecutor.


S.A.S. plays a fundamental role in criminal investigations, providing specialized private investigation services and advanced techniques. The experience and expertise of our investigators in obtaining evidence can be crucial to exonerate a defendant or to provide evidence against him. By working with the lawyer, our investigators help ensure a fair trial and defend the rights of the accused.

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