GPS Tracking Laws in NYC

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GPS Tracking Laws in NYC


GPS tracking devices have become ubiquitous. There are tiny high-powered magnets with 2-week battery lifespans that can be stuck to the undercarriage of a car. There are trackers that can be slipped into handbags and coat pockets and which have been used by bad actors to stalk their victims. 

There are certainly legitimate reasons to use GPS tracking, but if you’re not careful you can end up on the wrong side of the law. Here’s what you need to know. 

Can police officers use GPS tracking on your car?

The use of GPS tracking devices is becoming more common in law enforcement. It has been used to track the movements of suspects in a wide variety of cases

Nationwide, it is legal for the police to use GPS tracking. The issue was decided in the 2012 case, United States v. Jones. The police need only get a warrant, and they do not have to inform you that they have it.

If police failed to get a warrant we can suppress any evidence that they acquired while following you around with the tracking device. 

Can private citizens use GPS tracking in New York?

According to Jackie’s Law, using a GPS tracking device on another person is fourth-degree stalking, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 3 months in jail and up to $500 in fines. 

There are nuances to this. If we had to defend you in court for this behavior we could use the following loopholes:

  • Placing the device, in and of itself, is not illegal.
  • The victim must make clear that the behavior is not permissible after discovering the device.
  • The victim must prove that you continued to use the device after you were told to stop. 

We are not, of course, suggesting that you should use GPS to stalk anyone, or track anyone! GPS is best used to track your own property. Business owners have a perfectly legitimate reason to use GPS in order to track their company vehicles, for example. 

Or to keep track of people who are in your care, such as children or elderly parents who you are trying to protect.

We are simply pointing out that there are legal defenses to an accusation of stalking.

Get Help Today

If you’re in trouble with the law then it is imperative that you turn to a qualified and experienced private criminal defense lawyer. We will examine every angle in your case, from the technology used to gather evidence against you to the exact wording of the laws that might help you overturn a charge.

Contact us to schedule a case review today. 

See also:

Can NYPD Enter Your Home Without a Warrant?

What Happens When Criminal Charges Get Dropped in NYC? 

How a New York Attorney Gets Charges Dismissed


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