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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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In Florida, may evidence obtained by a private investigator

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In Florida, may evidence obtained by a private investigator in a gated community be admissible in court? The community's HOA has rules clearly prohibiting a PI from entering for this purpose. This pertains to a liability case. Thanks much!
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

The answer is generally yes. Florida does disallow introduction of evidence in civil cases that was obtained via unlawful means, such as a violation of privacy, an illegal search and seizure, and so on. However, this unlawful means does not include a breaking of administrative rules.

For example:

1) Trespassing unto private property to gain evidence - normally inadmissible.

2) Evidence seized without a warrant - normally inadmissible (in criminal law, this is called the 'exclusionary rule.'

3) Evidence seized despite an entity's local rule - admissible.

In other words, if I ran a club and the club's rules stated that no one could take a binder out of the club, but someone did and later introduced it as evidence, this would be admissible, because no civil/criminal law was broken. They would have simply broken an administrative law, which does not disqualify the evidence being admitted.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

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