Is it legal to track someone’s car?
(Updated 22 Jan 2019)
- 1 So, What Was The Charge?
- 2 Where’s the GPS in All This?
- 3 If You Intercept Private Conversations,
- 4 Trespassing and Eavesdropping are Serious Offenses, Without GPS
- 5 So Is Placing a GPS Tracker On Some Else’s Car Legal in Pennsylvania?
- 6 GPS Tracking and Divorce
- 7 So What Do You Think?
Goodness, how many times have I been asked that question here?
Usually, my standard answer is to consult a lawyer. If you don’t have one in mind, here’s a lawyer who seems well-versed in GPS laws. (or maybe not).
WILLIAMSPORT (PA) — A lawyer in Lycoming County has been accused of illegally placing a tracking device and audio recorder in the vehicle of the South Williamsport woman who had jilted him.
Michael J. Casale Jr. 64, of Williamsport, was charged Thursday by South Williamsport police and released on $25,000 unsecured bail.
The arrest affidavit states Casale confessed and told police he knows he committed a crime.
Police said the investigation began March 14 after the woman reported finding a GPS tracking device and audio recorder while cleaning out her car…. Full “Is It Legal” article here:
So, What Was The Charge?
Well if you’re interested and you read the article, you’ll see that several serious charges were levied against the man.
…. Casale is charged with burglary, criminal trespass, interception of communications and criminal attempt to intercept communications…
Where’s the GPS in All This?
Notice that the acronym GPS appears nowhere in the charges.
The police charge he committed burglary (in gaining entry into another’s property), criminal trespass (because to place the device he had to have trespassed upon another’s property), and “interception of communications”.
No mention whatever of the GPS tracking aspect of the case … the aspect the reporter and editor chose to write the headline about. It made a good headline but GPS tracking itself didn’t figure at all in the case.
If You Intercept Private Conversations,
You Probably Don’t Need to Worry About “GPS Laws”.
The reason you needn’t worry about specific “GPS Tracking Laws” is that you’ll be violating some other, more serious laws and any “GPS offenses” (should there be any) will likely be the least of your legal worries.
The formal charges all relate to the fact the offender place a “listening device” in the woman’s car … perhaps intending to record her conversations with the new boyfriend.
Trespassing and Eavesdropping are Serious Offenses, Without GPS
Here’s a news flash: I’m not a lawyer, and this is NOT legal advice, but I’m pretty darn sure that placing unauthorized listening devices to capture private conversations is illegal in every state of the union.
I think that’s why even law enforcement agencies have to get warrants from a court of law to eavesdrop on suspected criminals in their homes or offices.
So Is Placing a GPS Tracker On Some Else’s Car Legal in Pennsylvania?
Well from this article, I can’t really say.
One thing for sure, the police didn’t choose to charge the offender with any GPS-related offense, if there was one.
The man is in trouble enough with just the charges already levied. In addition to whatever the court sentences him to, I’m almost certain he faces censure. Maybe even disbarment by the bar association.
GPS Tracking and Divorce
And notice in the last paragraph, he’s already married.
Hmm, one can only imagine how the news of his arrest affected his wife. He may well wind up needing a divorce attorney as well as a criminal defense lawyer.
Can you imagine the conversation between this lawyer and his wife when she finally found out?
I would love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation, but then again, I’m glad I wasn’t, because that would have been eavesdropping. Maybe trespassing as well 😉
So What Do You Think?
Is it legal to track someone’s car?