A Quick Guide on Operating a Private Investigation Agency in New Jersey

posted by Chris Valentine

The demand for private investigation in many cities across the United States is high, especially in highly populated and cosmopolitan areas such as New Jersey. The business of running a private investigation agency here is quite lucrative, and there are always clients who need data gathering and surveillance services on employees, associates, and personal contacts.

However, becoming a New Jersey private investigator or putting up an agency comes with a lot of stringent requirements and regulations. If you are thinking of getting into this industry, it is best that you learn more about it so that you can establish and grow your business well. Even if you are just a client wanting to look for private investigation services in New Jersey, it would be good to know what it takes to be a legitimate PI so that you can make the best choice of who to go with.

Private Detective Rules & Regulations

Below is a quick overview of the rules of the Division of State Police contained in the New Jersey Administrative Code, as dictated by the Superintendent of State Police in implementing the Private Detective Act of 1939, which is the law that mostly covers the profession of private investigation.

These are just basic points so be sure to check with local authorities or legal experts for proper guidance on actual submission and completion of requirements.

Application for License

Any person or group who wishes to get into the private detective business needs to apply for a license with the office of the Superintendent. Being a private investigator is a highly regulated profession, and rightfully so, because it involves proper knowledge and respect of laws and other people’s rights. The profession also necessitates close coordination with police authorities.

Reproduction of License

Licenses are strictly issued and regulated, and as such they cannot be reproduced without the approval of the Superintendent of State Police.

Fingerprint Cards

Along with individual licenses, any private investigator or employees of a licensee are required to submit fingerprint cards for proper investigation and recording. This information should be kept current and updated with the office of the Superintendent. Licenses and fingerprint cards should be surrendered upon termination of employment or upon demand by the Superintendent or the local police.

Badges & Uniforms

There is no particular type of badge or uniform required for private detectives, but rather they should not look like any of those officially used by law enforcement either on the federal or state level. They should be guided by the rules covering badges in the state of New Jersey regarding the use and/or display of the state seal.


Basically, private investigators or agencies should not advertise or represent themselves in a way that can be confused or misconstrued as working in behalf of the federal government or the state. A licensee should not also engage in any other business or services other than that he is licensed for.

Grounds for Denial, Revocation, Suspension, or Non-Renewal of License

There are a number of instances and situations where one’s license may be revoked, suspended, or no longer granted. For instance, if the person has been convicted of misdemeanor or if he has been found to have bad moral character or poor integrity. Other instances include the PI submitting any false information in his application or engaging illegal activities such as fraud or manufacturing of evidence.

Private Investigation in New Jersey

There are many other pertinent points to know about how to become a lawful and full-fledged private investigator, and while popular media portrays such a career to be adventurous and exciting, the reality is that it takes a lot of serious work and knowledge of the law especially in the state that you would like to operate in. Be sure to consult proper authorities and understand fully the implications of putting up a private investigation firm before you embark on this venture.

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