This collection of investigation definitions is intended to help private investigators, police officers and everyday citizens to understand the meaning of various legal terms used by lawyers, attorneys, government officials, law enforcement departments, and other legal professionals.
During the course of their work, detectives will have many interactions with attorneys and individuals involved in the legal system, especially in the court system. Having an understanding of the legal terms and the definitions will help private investigators “speak the language” of their craft. The more well-versed you become in the language of law, the more valuable you will become to your clients, as you’ll be able to help guide them through the complexities of the legal system. It’s not your job to take the place of a qualified attorney, but you should be able to “talk the talk”.
Following is a list of terms and definitions related to private investigations, law enforcement, and the legal process. Click on a term in the list below to view the definition and recommendations for additional resources related to the term.
- Alimony and Child Support
- Arrest Warrants
- Citizen’s Arrest
- Class Action Lawsuit
- False imprisonment
- Juvenile Delinquency
- Legal Guardian
- Misdemeanor – Lesser crimes
- Mug Shots – Photos taken of arrested individuals
- No Contest
- Nolo Contendere – Pleading no contest
- Perjury – Lying in court
- Plaintiff – In a court of law
- Probable Cause
- Search and Seizure
- Search Warrant – Permission to search
- Sexual Assault
- Statute of Limitation
- Summons (also known as subpoenas)
- Torts – Business Crimes
- Wire Tapping
Our list of private investigation and legal terms is constantly growing, so please check back often. If you have a suggestion for a new definition, or have a question, please send us an email and we’ll do what we can to help.
- Also, see our list of Acronyms related to the legal field, law enforcement and the investigation industry.