How to Become a Private Detective in Hawaii

Two types of private investigator licenses are available in the state of Hawaii. The first license is that of a private investigator business or agency owner. The second is a provisional license which requires only that you be hired by a private investigation agency and be supervised by the investigation agency.  More information regarding a provisional license is detailed below in the law section of this post.

REQUIRED EXPERIENCE

Applicants must have at least 4 years of full-time investigative work.  The Board accepts the following type of experience:

  • Under the supervision of a licensed private detective
  • As a police officer with a police department of a state or political subdivision thereof;
  • As an investigator with any federal, state, county, or municipal government agency
  • As an investigator by an attorney-at-law or law firm
You must fill out a Private Detective application which can be obtained through Hawaii Professional and Vocational Licensing website.
The application requires a fingerprint card. Contact the Board at (808) 586-3000 to have a fingerprint card mailed to you. All fingerprinting must be done on the cards provided by the Board only. They have the Board’s agency code imprinted on them.
LAWS GOVERNING IN THE STATE

§463-5 Private detectives and detective agencies; license required. (a) No individual
shall engage in the business of private detective, represent oneself to be, hold oneself out as, list
oneself, or advertise as a private detective or as furnishing detective or investigating services
without first obtaining a license as a private detective from the board and paying the application
and license fees.
(b) No firm shall engage in the business of private detective, represent itself to be, hold
itself out as, list itself as, or advertise as a private detective agency or as furnishing detective
2 or investigating services without first obtaining a license as a private detective agency from the
board and paying the application and license fees. A detective agency shall have in its employ at
least one principal detective who shall be fully responsible for the direct management and control
of the detective agency and the agency’s employees when detective services are being provided.

 

§463-6 Private detectives and detective agencies; qualifications for license. (a) The
board may grant a private detective license to any suitable individual, or a detective agency license
to any suitable firm making written application therefor. The applicant, if an individual, or the
principal detective of a firm shall:

(1) Be not less than eighteen years of age;

(2) Have had a high school education or its equivalent;

(3) Have had experience reasonably equivalent to at least four years of full-time
investigational work;

(4) Not be presently suffering from any psychiatric or psychological disorder which is
directly related and detrimental to a person’s performance in the profession;

(5) Not have been convicted in any jurisdiction of a crime which reflects unfavorably
on the fitness of the applicant to engage in the profession, unless the conviction has
been annulled or expunged by court order; and

(6) Possess a history of honesty, truthfulness, financial integrity, and fair dealing.
A firm applying for a detective agency license shall have in its employ an individual who is
licensed as a private detective and who shall be designated as the principal detective for the firm,
and shall provide a bond as required under section 463-12.

(b) A detective agency may employ as many agents, operatives, and assistants in an
investigative capacity and as necessary for the conduct of business; provided that the principal
detective shall be held responsible for, and have direct management and control of, the agency and
the agency’s employees while they are acting within the scope and purpose of the detective
agency’s business. These employees shall not be required to have private detective licenses, and
shall:

(1) Have had an eighth grade education or its equivalent;

(2) Not be presently suffering from any psychiatric or psychological disorder which is
directly related and detrimental to a person’s performance in the profession;

(3) Not have been convicted in any jurisdiction of a crime which reflects unfavorably
on the fitness of the employee to engage in the profession, unless the conviction has
been annulled or expunged by court order; and

(4) Be registered with the board upon employment with the agency.
The employer, with the written authorization of the employee, shall conduct a criminal history
records check of all new employees employed in an investigative capacity directly through the
Hawaii criminal justice data center upon certification to the board that the signature on the
authorization is authentic.
§463-12 Bond. Each licensee shall give to the board a bond in the sum of not less than
$5,000 executed by the applicant as principal and by a surety company authorized to do business
in the State as surety. The bond shall be in such form as the board may prescribe, conditioned
upon the honest conduct of the business of the licensee, and the right of any person injured by the
wilful, malicious, or wrongful act of the licensee to bring in the person’s own name an action on
the bond
§463-14 Contingent fee. Compensation for services of detectives or guards shall not be
based upon promissory notes or property other than that allegedly stolen which have been obtained
from suspects or others in their behalf as restitution.

§463-15 Penalties. Any employee or former employee of a licensee who divulges any
information gained by the employee or former employee in the course of such employment except
as the employee’s or former employee’s employer directs or as required by law, or who wilfully
makes a false report to the employee’s or former employee’s employer, shall be fined not more
than $100 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both. Any person who violates any other
provision of this chapter or any rule or regulation adopted by the board of detectives and guards
under this chapter shall be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than one year, or
both.

Further detailed information on fees, examinations and licensing can be located on the resource links below.

Mail Documents to:
Board of Private Detectives and Guards
DCCA, PVL Licensing Branch
P.O. Box 3469
Honolulu, HI 96801
Hand deliver documents to:
335 Merchant Street, Rm. 301
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 586-3000

 

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