Private investigators in Arizona are regulated by the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS). Becoming a private investigator in Arizona is a relatively simple process, unless you have a criminal record. A thorough criminal record background check is conducted by DPS. This can be the most time-consuming part of the process. You will need to pay for application fees as well as any fees associated with providing your fingerprints from a law enforcement agency. In order to own your own P.I. agency, you must have “had a minimum of three years of full-time investigative experience or the equivalent of three years of full-time investigative experience that consists of actual work performed as an investigator for a private concern, for the federal government or for a state, county or municipal government.” Documentation for completion of this experience must be confirmed by your employer.
Things You'll Need
- Certified copies of any final court documents (including any expunged orders)
- Application fee
- Certification by your employing PI agency
- Background check
- Fingerprint card/fee
Search for prospective private investigation agency employers.
Find a private investigation agency that is willing to hire you. You can obtain appropriate experience either as a result of paid work or thorough an apprenticeship working for a licensed PI agency.
Obtain an application form, blank fingerprint card and instructions regarding completion of the application for a private investigator’s license from the Department of Public Safety. Be sure to ask DPS what the appropriate application fee is before mailing your application.
Go to the local police department and provide your fingerprints on the fingerprint card. Most police departments will charge a small fee for this service. You will be sending the completed fingerprint card with your application package when you are ready to do so.
Complete the application with certification by your prospective employer that you are, in fact, going to be working for their agency.
Submit all of these documents along with payment of the current required fee to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), Licensing Division.
Provide any follow-up information to DPS, if requested to do so. If you have been convicted of a crime, follow-up could include providing a copy of any respective court record expunged orders issued by a court.
Tips & Warnings
- Be sure to list any and all criminal convictions on your application form, even if you believe that a conviction(s) has been expunged. Failure to do so could result in denial of your license and/or being charged with perjury for falsifying information on your application.
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