Code Section

Business and Professions Code - BPC

DIVISION 3. PROFESSIONS AND VOCATIONS GENERALLY [5000 - 9998.11]

  ( Heading of Division 3 added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 30. )
  

CHAPTER 11.3. Private Investigators [7512 - 7573.5]

  ( Chapter 11.3 added by Stats. 1994, Ch. 1285, Sec. 4. )
  

ARTICLE 3. Regulation, Licensing, and Registration [7520 - 7539]
  ( Article 3 added by Stats. 1994, Ch. 1285, Sec. 4. )

  
7523.  

(a) Unless specifically exempted by Section 7522, no person shall engage in the business of private investigator, as defined in Section 7521, unless that person has applied for and received a license to engage in that business pursuant to this chapter.

(b) Any person who violates any provision of this chapter or who conspires with another person to violate any provision of this chapter, relating to private investigator licensure, or who knowingly engages a nonexempt unlicensed person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of five thousand dollars ($5,000) or by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

(c) A proceeding to impose the fine specified in subdivision (b) may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction in the name of the people of the State of California by the Attorney General or by any district attorney or city attorney, or with the consent of the district attorney, the city prosecutor in any city or city and county having a full-time city prosecutor for the jurisdiction in which the violation occurred. If the action is brought by the district attorney, the penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment is entered. If the action is brought by a city attorney or city prosecutor, one-half of the penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the city in which the judgment was entered and one-half to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered. If the action is brought by the Attorney General, all of the penalties collected shall be deposited in the Private Security Services Fund.

(d) Any person who: (1) acts as or represents themselves to be a private investigator licensee under this chapter when that person is not a licensee under this chapter; (2) falsely represents that the person is employed by a licensee under this chapter when that person is not employed by a licensee under this chapter; (3) carries a badge, identification card, or business card, indicating that the person is a licensee under this chapter when that person is not a licensee under this chapter; (4) uses a letterhead or other written or electronically generated materials indicating that the person is a licensee under this chapter when that person is not a licensee under this chapter; or (5) advertises that the person is a licensee under this chapter when that person is not a licensee, is guilty of a misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

(e) A proceeding to impose the fine specified in subdivision (d) may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction in the name of the people of the State of California by the Attorney General or by any district attorney or city attorney, or with the consent of the district attorney, the city prosecutor in any city or city and county having a full-time city prosecutor for the jurisdiction in which the violation occurred. If the action is brought by the district attorney, the penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment is entered. If the action is brought by a city attorney or city prosecutor, one-half of the penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the city in which the judgment was entered and one-half to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered. If the action is brought by the Attorney General, all of the penalty collected shall be deposited in the Private Security Services Fund.

(f) Any person who is convicted of a violation of the provisions of this section shall not be issued a license under this chapter, within one year following that conviction.

(g) Any person who is convicted of a violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (d) shall not be issued a license for a period of one year following a first conviction and shall not be issued a license for a period of five years following a second or subsequent conviction of subdivision (a), (b), or (d), or any combination of subdivision (a), (b), or (d).

(h) The chief shall gather evidence of violations of this chapter and of any rule or regulation established pursuant to this chapter by persons engaged in the business of private investigator who fail to obtain a license and shall gather evidence of violations and furnish that evidence to prosecuting officers of any county or city for the purpose of prosecuting all violations occurring within their jurisdiction.

(i) The prosecuting officer of any county or city shall prosecute all violations of this chapter occurring within their jurisdiction.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 377, Sec. 7. (SB 609) Effective January 1, 2020.)