NJ Courts: GPS Tracking Not an Invasion of Privacy

July 8, 2011

Life is getting rougher on the cheating husband or wife, and divorce cases may just see an uptick. Technology has made it easier for a private investigator to catch a disloyal spouse in the act (of doing something disloyal), and the New Jersey Courts say that using a G.P.S. or global positioning system is legal.

A New Jersey judge recently ruled that it is not a violation of a person's right to privacy for a private investigator or suspicious spouse to install a GPS tracking device in a person's car. Private investigators can now freely employ this tactic to determine the whereabouts of cheating spouses, as well as to track debtors, suspects of insurance fraud, and more.

It is very likely the court would not have ruled this way if the police implanted, placed or installed the GPS device. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects Americans from unlawful searches and seizures. The law stipulates that police must obtain a search warrant based on probable cause before invading an individual's privacy. The reason that this right governs the police but does not extend to the private investigator is because the United States Constitution only protects Americans from those acting on behalf of the government, such as the police. It does not protect Americans from private citizens. The police would not be able to implant a GPS tracking device on your vehicle that they could use to track you without a warrant.

If you were charged criminally and the police have searched your private residence or workplace without a warrant you should contact a criminal lawyer immediately. Further, if you are the subject of any legal action based upon information gathered from such a GPS device, it would also be in your best interests to consult a lawyer to determine the strongest legal strategy.