FAQs: Criminal Defense Investigations

Is criminal defense investigation a regular part of your case work?
Yes. We are actively involved in criminal defense investigations as a regular part of our practice. We’ve assisted criminal defense counsel since Trace Investigations was founded in 1990. During that time we’ve worked cases for private attorneys as well as public defender appointed cases, and we’ve worked with the attorneys of the Innocence Project at Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law. Our defense investigators regularly attend continuing education seminars offered by the National Association of Legal Investigators, the National Defenders Association, Indiana’s Public Defender Council, the Indiana Society of Professional Investigators and courses offered by the Criminal Defense Investigation Training Council. For more information on criminal defense investigations, go to our Attorney Services page.

How do you document witness statements?
That depends on the witness, the case and the client. Some attorneys simply want us to write up a narrative of the witness interview; some want an audio or video recording of the statement; other times we provide a hand written statement initialed and signed and witnessed by the investigator. There have been times when we’ve arranged for a court reporter to document and transcribe a statement. We have notaries on staff, including four of our investigators.

Are you available to testify in court?
Yes. And have many times. Our investigators are experienced in courtroom decorum. We provide our attorney clients with a confidential work product report, one that is “court-ready” if needed. When we have to testify, we bill at the regular investigator rate.

What is a Certified Legal Investigator™?
Trace Investigations founder Don C. Johnson, CLI is Indiana’s only Certified Legal Investigator™ and currently serves as NALI’s Assistant National Director. Certified Legal Investigator™ is a professional certification awarded by the National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI). There are less than 100 CLIs in the United States, due to the rigorous standards for qualifying and testing for the designation. Certified legal investigators are actively engaged in providing litigation support services for criminal defense counsel.

How much do you charge?
Private criminal defense cases are on a different fee structure than court appointed cases. We work some assignments on a flat fee arrangement, depending on the nature of the case. For new private clients, we require a retainer arrangement.

What type of payment do you accept?
We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal and checks.

How do we contact you?
You can always call our office from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday (phone 812-334-8857). Our investigators have cell phone numbers and email addresses printed on their business cards, and often communicate directly with clients during cases. You can also go to our contact page on this web site and send us a message. If you have a legal matter you think an investigator can help you with, we want to hear from you.


To eliminate doubt that could jeopardize the outcome of a serious matter please call us at 812-334-8857 for a FREE consultation.