Expert Witnesses and Licensure as Private Investigators

December 2, 2020

Revised January 15, 2008
The question was asked whether one must obtain a license as a private investigator in order to provide testimony as an expert witness in a Texas court of law.  The answer depends entirely on the nature of the work done in preparation for testifying.

Section 1702.104 of the Texas Occupations Code defines an investigator as one who, among other things, “engages in the business of securing, or accepts employment to secure, evidence for use before a court….”  However, the mere fact that a person is testifying, even as an expert, is not dispositive, since the proposed testimony might not be based on an investigation.  For instance, the review of evidence exclusively provided or obtained by licensed investigators, or testimony in court related to such evidence, does not require licensure.  Such review would not constitute “securing evidence,” but rather the review of previously secured evidence.  The department would suggest that the “evidence” in question must be the result of an investigation. However, individuals who conduct an investigation in order to secure evidence for use while testifying in court as an expert witness would be required by Section 1702.104 to obtain a license.