Can I Use a GPS Device to Track Another Personís Car?

Private use of a GPS device to track another citizenís car is also debatable. Generally speaking, itís legal to use a GPS device to monitor another personís car if:

  • The person or company attaching the GPS owns the vehicle.
  • The GPS device is place on the outside of the car, such as underneath a bumper.
  • The vehicle is visible or accessible to the public place, such as a street or parking lot, when the device is placed on it.
  • The information obtained could also be obtained by physically following the vehicle.
  • The vehicle is not located on another personís private property when the GPS is attached.

However, itís probably illegal to use the GPS tracking devices when:

  • Installing the device requires breaking into the car.
  • The device would need to be ďhardwiredĒ into the car.
  • The vehicle is in a location where the owner has a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as inside of a garage on their property or behind tall hedges, and can only be installed by trespassing.

Again, the above is a general outline. Depending on the laws of the state and trespassing issues aside, the act of invading another personís privacy to install the GPS device may amount to a criminal act itself. 

What Is Trespassing?

Trespassing is the crime of unlawfully entering another person's property without permission or authority to do so. It is also considered trespass to interfere with anotherís use of their property, such as enclosing a portion of their land. You may commit the crime of trespass when you intentionally enter or even remain on the property of another without the permission or the right to do so. How Can Someone Be Convicted of Trespassing? In order to be convicted of trespassing the prosecution must prove: Unlawful entry onto another's land The trespasser knew that they were not permitted on the land Some states will not convict trespassers if they entered land that appeared to be unimproved or apparently unused. Thus, landowners with rural properties interested in keeping trespassers out should post signs or put up fences to let people know they are not welcome. What Are The Consequences of Trespassing? Trespassing is usually a criminal misdemeanor, and is also a crime from which a victim may recover monetary damages. Common consequences for trespassing include: Imprisonment Fines Monetary damages paid to the landowner In some states, the nature of the property determines the seriousness of the offense. For instance, trespassing at a school is a more serious offense than trespassing in a rural field. Additionally, in some states, trespassing on a construction site may increase the charge to a felony. Other crimes that were committed in commission of the original trespass will usually result in a harsher punishment. What Are Possible Legal Defenses for Trespassing? The crime of trespass usually requires intent to enter the property of another and the element of intent can be negated if a person did not have actual intent to enter the property or was accidentally pushed or thrown onto the property without intent. Some other potential defenses include: You had the right or permission to be on the property You had consent of owner to be on property You did not intentionally enter the property You did not actually obstruct or interfere with activity on the property .