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Licensing and Insurance


Private Investigator Licensing in Washington State

Professional licensing assures the consumer that the licensee meets a minimum standard of experience and/or training and financial responsibility.

Each private investigator (PI) in the State of Washington is required to hold a current license, as is each private investigative agency.  There are no legal "freelance" PIs in Washington - even a one-person practice must hold both an agency and an investigator's license.  PI licensure is administered by the Washington State Department of Licensing, Business and Professions Division, Public Protection Services section (WA DOL-PPS).

The State requires a current bond or certificate of insurance as a condition of agency licensure and will promptly suspend the license of any agency whose insurance is lapsed, revoked, cancelled, or is otherwise no longer in force.  This makes it convenient for the consumer in that you need only check the license status to determine the agency's insurance/bond coverage status.

While you do not need a license to look into your own affairs, anyone you hire to do so on your behalf does.  If the matter results in litigation, rest assured that opposing counsel will seek to exclude any evidence uncovered by an unlicensed investigator and may well prevail.  Accordingly, you should be certain any agency/investigator you hire holds a current license.

You can check the status of my license (or that of any other Washington agency or investigator) here.  The agency license is #1607 and my investigator's license is #2840.  (A current licensee's status will appear as "Active."  A status of "Terminated" simply means that the investigator left that agency's employment and should not be taken in either a positive or negative light.  Other status entries are self-explanatory.)


Computer Forensics Examiners and PI Licensure

At the present time, " A person who is a forensic scientist, accident reconstructionist, or other person who performs similar functions and does not hold himself or herself out to be an investigator in any other capacity" is not required to be licensed as a private investigator (RCW 18.165.020(10)).  However, this issue is a matter of intense discussion in both the computer forensic and private investigation communities with several states, including Washington, considering some form of licensure for computer forensic examiners.  It is this agency's policy to consider RCW 18.165.020(10) applicable to examinations occurring in a laboratory environment, a position endorsed by WA DOL-PPS.

Marsh Computer Forensics, LLC, is licensed by the State of Washington as a private investigative agency.