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Meet the Private Investigator

An Interview with Private Investigator David Hance

After my last private investigator left to try his luck in reality television, I went on the hunt for someone new to help me conduct necessary investigations in my criminal and DUI cases. The person I found is very special. David Hance is a living, breathing, true believer. If Dave were a lawyer, he'd be a career public defender. Fortunately for me, Dave never went to law school, but he did get his PI license.

Dave is a 46 year old divorced father of a 16 year old daughter. He lives in Studio City, California and has been working as a private investigator since 2006. This was not before putting in 20 years as a police officer. When Dave was still a cop, he obtained his private investigator's license. Shortly after getting his license he started doing PI work on weekends and during vacations. He left law enforcement some years ago for his career as a defense investigator. I met Dave several years ago when I was in need a good investigator. I've been using him ever since.

Dave recently came back into town after doing some volunteer work abroad and was nice enough to answer a few questions for me:

1. How did you get started as a private investigator? After 20 years in law enforcement, I realized that the justice system was lacking in the area of defense for people accused of committing crimes. The District Attorney has police detectives, officers and DA investigators all at their disposal, however accused people do not have nearly the same access to legal resources. With my experience as a police officer, I knew that I had the knowledge and skill set to assist people being investigated for and accused of committing crimes.

Many people don't know that the District Attorney's offices have their own investigators. These are sworn police officers to work on cases for the DA's. Here in Los Angeles the DA's office of investigation has over 260 full time investigators.

2. What is a typical day like for you? In the investigative world, there is no such thing as a typical day. I could spend the day interviewing witnesses, visiting crime scenes, serving subpoenas, researching laws, and people or many other facets of investigative work. My work varies from day to day and that is another reason why I like it so much.

3. Who is a typical client for you? As with the "typical day" there is no such thing as a typical client for me. My clients range from professionals to students, from actors to retired people and from convicted felons to active police officers and judges. Their cases range from minor offenses that may only result in fines or probation to serious felonies which carry life in prison. I truly believe that every client deserves a competent defense, regardless of his or her status in the community or his or her economic status.

Dave was recently the lead investigator in the case of The People of the State of California vs.Craig Richman. Judge Richman, as he is known to us, is a sitting criminal judge in Los Angeles County. Judge Richman was charged with battery and ultimately went to trial in Van Nuys, California. After an extensive investigation by David Hance, Judge Richman received a full acquittal (finding of not guilty) at trial and is back to work in Los Angeles Superior Court.

4. How do you get paid for your work? My cases are all private cases where I represent clients who can afford to hire private lawyers. I get paid either hourly or as a flat fee based upon the job or jobs that need to be completed. My clients are normally referred to me from private defense attorneys.

5. Do you do only criminal cases or civil cases as well? The bulk of my clients are charged with or being investigated for criminal or DUI charges. This includes both white collar crimes and other investigations. I also have a great deal of knowledge and experience dealing with civil cases and do conduct some investigations in the civil arena.

6. What type of background, training and experience gave rise to your PI career? While I was an active police officer I obtained my PI license. This requires at least 6,000 hours or three full years of paid investigative work. Of course, this doesn't include my 6 months of police academy training, 18 months of in the field police training and additional continuing police education and training during my cop days. Since leaving the force I have worked on hundreds of investigations and continued my Investigative training. I have received formal investigative training in computer forensics, background investigation, fraud investigation and much more.

7. What do you do for fun? I am very active and enjoy playing sports, including golf, baseball and bicycle riding. I live in the San Fernando Valley and try to be outdoors as much as possible, enjoying everything Southern California has to offer.

8. I understand you are involved with a group called Sea Shepherd. Please tell me about this. Sea Shepherd is a non-profit group that exists to defend the animals in the ocean. I am very active with them. My work with Sea Shepherd includes volunteering on various worldwide campaigns that are in place to save dolphins, whales, sharks, seals and any other animal that is being illegally taken from the ocean. We help to educate the public about animal cruelty including illegal whaling in Japan and keeping dolphins and other sea lie in captivity throughout the world. I love my work with Sea Shepherd and plan to continue with future Sea Shepherd campaigns.

Dave is a very humble man, especially about his work. Dave was recently in a movie called Whale Wars about Sea Shepherd which aired on the Animal Planet. Dave just returned from a Sea Shepherd campaign in Taiji, Japan to help educate the world about the dolphin killing in Taiji. This happens to have been one of Sea Shepherds most effective campaigns in recent years through the use of social media in spreading their positive environmental message. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about Sea Shepherd, visit their website at: http://www.seashepherd.org or contact Dave directly.

9. Describe your perfect day. A perfect day is when one of my clients is found to be not guilty and I know that my efforts as an investigator contributed to him or her receiving justice.

Again, Dave doesn't like to toot his own horn, but I can. Dave has worked with me on domestic violence cases, sex offenses, DUI's, hit and runs, gang cases and much more. He is great with the computer and has been very effective in seeking out discrediting evidence about potential witnesses. One of our more memorable cases involved a young honor student at UCLA. Our client was charged with a strike felony sex offense requiring lifetime sex offender registration along with other felonies. Our investigation helped us settle our case for a misdemeanor non-strike, non-sex offense with no jail or Cal-trans. Another job well done. Dave, thanks for being part of the team.

10. Do you live on a mansion and drive a Ferrari? I'm afraid not.

Didn't think so but had to ask.

If you need to wish to contact Private Investigator David Hance:

11054 Ventura Blvd. #362

Studio City, CA 91604

(714) 552-6757

Or email him at: david@djhance.com

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Law Office of Jeffrey S. Vallens - San Fernando Valley Criminal Defense Attorney
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Phone: (818) 783-5700.
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