Surveillance is a private investigation technique used to observe an individual, or group of individuals as they go about their day. From work to home and out again, a private investigator will track activity and come up with a detailed report. This report might include photographic, video or even written evidence. When the private investigator provides this information to their client, that client can provide their lawyer with the evidence. That evidence can then be used in court to help win a case. What you might not know, is that surveillance evidence can also be used to settle out of court, which reduces or eliminates court fees.
What are Court Fees?
When a case appears in court, certain fees apply. Most of these fees relate to administrative work a clerk will perform. These fees are separate from attorney or lawyer fees.
In Ontario for example, court fees can include items such as:
- Filing a defense: $40.00 CAD
- Issuing a Summons to a Witness: $19.00 CAD
- Issuing a Certificate of Judgment: $19.00 CAD
- Single Day of Recording: $22.00 CAD
- Filing an Application: $100.00 CAD
- Fixing a Date for Trial or Assessment Hearing: $100.00 CAD
In general, to take a lawsuit through a compete trial, can cost Canadians anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000. For most people, this amount just isn’t reasonable. When it comes to small claims court however, the total amount is much smaller. However, those pesky court fees can still end up costing a pretty penny.
Settle Out of Court
While its not possible to settle all cases out of court, sometimes the evidence speaks for itself. If a private investigator collects evidence that helps to prove a person’s guilt or innocence, some people opt to settle out of court. For example, let’s say that a private investigator catches your spouse cheating and now you want a divorce. The evidence the private investigator found is clear and undisputable. Your spouse or their lawyer decides that settling in court would not go in their favor. The evidence is just too good! So, the lawyer will likely advise your spouse to settle, or your spouse might just decide to settle to save on costly court fees.
When you settle outside of court, you then do not need to pay any court fees. You still however, need to pay your lawyer or anyone else who assists you during the mediation process.
Private Investigators and Surveillance
Hiring a private investigator to help you with surveillance will ultimately save you lots of time and money. In order to get you the results you need, a private investigator will complete the following steps:
Step 1: Preparation
The first thing a private investigator will do to get ready for a surveillance case is preparation. A private investigator will need to know more about the situation. They will need to know who they need to run surveillance on, and any other information that might help them to know what to look for and what to record.
This kind of preparation helps a private investigator to know what kind of equipment or resources they need. In some surveillance cases, a private investigator can run surveillance on foot. For other cases, they will require a vehicle and a team of private eyes to help keep an eye on a specific group of individuals. In other words, before a private investigator can execute a plan, they must gather the necessary information to develop the right plan.
Step 2: Execute
After a private investigator prepares and develops a plan, it’s time to execute that plan. The plan completely depends on the situation, but a few common scenarios include,
- Parking near the individual’s home or business in a non-descript vehicle
- Sitting in a hotel lobby to wait for the individual to appear
- Coordinating different private investigator teammates to follow the individual
The one thing a private investigator must never do is draw attention. The moment that someone realizes or thinks they’re being followed, they will change their behavior. If this happens, the private investigator’s report will include incorrect information. In these situation the client will not receive evidence they can use in court.
Step 3: Report
Once a private investigator collects evidence and other information from their surveillance, they must present it to the client. A private investigator’s primary job is to present the facts, and that is what they must do for any surveillance case. What this means for the client is that they cannot doctor or change any of what they’ve found to make it look like evidence. For example, if the individual meets up for coffee with a woman or man, the private investigator cannot take a series of photos that make it look like the individual is having an affair.
In some situations, a private investigator will not find any evidence. If this is the case, they will inform the client. Again, a private investigator cannot (and should not) change evidence in their clients favor.
Accurate and Admissible
It’s so important to make sure you hire a good, qualified private investigator or private investigation company. The reason for this is because a bad private investigator might not gather the right information to help you reduce your court fees. He or she might also gather information that you think you can use to win your case, but in reality, it’s not admissible in court.
A good private investigator will know what kind of evidence you can use in court. They will also know what information will help your lawyer, and even the kind of information that will save you from paying those court fees.
Reduce Those Court Fees!
At the end of the day, you really want more money going into your pocket than out. Hiring a private investigator will certainly help reduce those court fees! A private investigator can conduct surveillance that will provide the right evidence you need to support your case. Why not give it a try? Settling out of court is always the more affordable and less stressful option.
Do you need help with surveillance? Reach out to The Smith Investigation Agency for more information.
Info@SmithInvestigationAgency.com or 647-479-8474