What happens if the police install a GPS tracker on your vehicle without a warrant? - The Juba Law Office PLLC (2024)

What happens if the police install a GPS tracker on your vehicle without a warrant? - The Juba Law Office PLLC (1)Police officers regularly use GPS trackers to follow potential suspects and can install a GPS tracker on your vehicle without your knowledge. But what if it is installed on your vehicle without the police first obtaining a warrant? You should immediately contact a lawyer at The Juba Law Office for help.

The installation of a GPS tracker on a vehicle implicates the Fourth Amendment protections against “unreasonable searches”[1]. In the case of United States v. Jones[2], the United States Supreme Court held that the attachment of a GPS tracking device to a person’s vehicle to “monitor the vehicle’s movements on public streets” constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment.

The “basic purpose” of the Fourth Amendment “is to safeguard the privacy and security of individuals against arbitrary invasions by governmental officials”[3]. A federal court in United States v. Ortiz[4] held that “Jones requires that courts give significant weight to the trespass that occurs when a GPS device is installed on a vehicle,” and that “[t]he privacy interest infringed by monitoring of the GPS device also deserves considerable weight.” This is because GPS trackers can provide “information about the vehicle’s whereabouts by periodic points twenty-four hours a day for approximately a month without regard to where the vehicle goes, who drives it, or whether” the police are actively monitoring it. The court ultimately held that the “installation and monitoring of GPS trackers on defendant’s vehicle without a warrant violated defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights, and the exclusionary rule requires exclusion of evidence obtained through use of those GPS trackers.”

The installation of GPS trackers on a vehicle, or any other piece of property, raises significant privacy concerns, particularly when it allows the police to perform twenty-four-hour surveillance. The attorneys at The Juba Law Office handle these types of cases and can help you fight your case.

Reach out to the Juba Law Office if you need legal help in your case today!

[1]https://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment4.html#:~:text=%E2%80%9CThe%20right%20of%20the%20people,and%20the%20persons%20or%20things

[2] https://caselaw.findlaw.com/court/us-supreme-court/10-1259.html

[3] https://caselaw.findlaw.com/court/us-supreme-court/16-402.html

[4] https://caselaw.findlaw.com/court/us-supreme-court/422/891.html

What happens if the police install a GPS tracker on your vehicle without a warrant? - The Juba Law Office PLLC (2024)

FAQs

What happens if the police install a GPS tracker on your vehicle without a warrant? - The Juba Law Office PLLC? ›

But what if it is installed on your vehicle without the police first obtaining a warrant? You should immediately contact a lawyer at The Juba Law Office for help. The installation of a GPS tracker on a vehicle implicates the Fourth Amendment protections against “unreasonable searches”[1].

Do law enforcement investigators need a warrant to place a GPS tracker on someone's car? ›

Law Enforcement, the 4th Amendment and Covert GPS Tracking

However, in that year, the Supreme Court ruled that the government and law enforcement agents are not permitted to install GPS devices on someone's vehicle unless a signed warrant is first obtained by a judge.

Can I sue someone for putting a tracker on my car? ›

The legality of using a GPS tracker on another person's vehicle without their permission is clear—it is illegal in all 50 states. Not only does this act violate legal standards, but it also exposes the individual to potential civil lawsuits for privacy infringements.

What is the legality of law enforcement using GPS tracking devices on vehicles? ›

California. California penal code 637.7 prohibits using an electronic tracking device to determine the location or movement of a person. This law does not apply to a vehicle's owner, lessor or lessee or law enforcement.

What happens if someone puts a tracker on your car? ›

The police can monitor the person who installed the tracking device and may be able to get a warrant to search their property.

Is there a warrant for GPS tracking? ›

In January 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement must obtain a warrant before physically attaching a GPS tracking device to a suspect's vehicle.

Can police put a tracker on your car without your knowledge? ›

Police officers regularly use GPS trackers to follow potential suspects and can install a GPS tracker on your vehicle without your knowledge. But what if it is installed on your vehicle without the police first obtaining a warrant? You should immediately contact a lawyer at The Juba Law Office for help.

Can police attach a GPS tracker to your car or is that an invasion of your privacy Why or why not? ›

Laws Related To The Use of GPS Trackers

In 2012, the Supreme court ruled that no government or law enforcement agencies place a GPS tracker on someone's vehicle without a warrant. For individuals, the law varies from one state to another.

Can private investigators put tracking devices on cars? ›

Private investigators are able to track vehicles by placing a real time GPS tracker on the car they want to follow, and then they can remotely track that vehicle 24/7 from a computer or cell phone. By using a realtime GPS tracking device, private investigators can easily learn if a person is cheating.

Is tracking people against the law? ›

Generally, California Penal Code section 637.7 prohibits individuals from using electronic tracking devices to determine the location or movement of a person.

How do you know if police put a tracker on your car? ›

One way to find a GPS tracker is to use a bug detector that can scan both the inside and outside of a vehicle. It is also possible to physically detect a GPS tracker in known locations, such as in the OBD port, under the backseat or underneath the car.

Can private investigators put GPS trackers on cars? ›

An investigator license permits an investigator to follow someone. Once it is clear that the reason is legal and they have no intention to hurt someone, a private investigator can put a GPS tracker on a vehicle or belongings.

Is it illegal to track someone with a tracking device? ›

Generally, California Penal Code section 637.7 prohibits individuals from using electronic tracking devices to determine the location or movement of a person.

Are GPS devices an invasion of privacy? ›

Nevertheless, GPS trackers can pose a risk to privacy if used without proper consent or safety measures. It is critical to comprehend the implications of using GPS trackers and take appropriate steps to protect privacy.

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