There are many 'legit' reasons, other than stalking, that someone might want to put a GPS tracker on your vehicle. Employers who want to make sure employees are not misusing company vehicles may want to use GPS tracking. A spouse may want to have proof that their significant other is cheating, so they have grounds to file for divorce. Even a finance company or car dealership may want to use a GPS tracking device to locate a car that needs to be repossessed due to non-payment. All of these could be considered legit reasons, but is it legal in New York?

Using GPS For Stalking A Person In New York

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash
Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash
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On July 23, 2014, Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Jackie's Law, which is named after Jackie Wisniewski of Buffalo, who was killed by her stalker. She was stalked by her ex-boyfriend, who put a GPS tracker on her vehicle and later murdered her. The law strengthened domestic violence protections for victims,

This legislation allows law enforcement to prosecute perpetrators for the crime of stalking in the fourth degree, without requiring the victim to press charges or to file an order of protection. Law enforcement will have the ability to charge and prosecute an individual if he or she installs a GPS device to track the movement or location of their victim. The onus of pursuing criminal charges will shift from the victim to law enforcement officials.

While Jackie's law protects people against the use of GPS tracking for the purpose of stalking, what about other uses?

What About Using GPS To Track A Spouse In New York?

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Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash
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Considering Jackie's Law, you might be wondering if you can track your spouse, who you believe is cheating or doing something else that's sneaky. According to the law firm of Bikel & Schanfield, you can use GPS tracking on your spouse, unless they request that you don't,

If you suspect your spouse is cheating on you or conducting business involving marital assets in secret, you might be interested in placing a GPS tracker on their car to see where they go. In New York, that is legal to do unless they have specifically told you not to. If they have said not to, then doing so is considered stalking and is illegal.

Using GPS Tracking On A Company Vehicle In New York

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According to the law firm Sommers Schwartz, a company may track a vehicle it owns that an employee drives (to be clear, the company can track the vehicle, not the person),

An employer is on solid footing when attaching a GPS device to a company-owned vehicle and using data gathered while investigating misconduct, especially if the employee knows the device is on the vehicle and the information is only being gathered during work hours.

 

Can Law Enforcement In New York Use A GPS Tracker To Gather Evidence?

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The short answer is yes, but the long answer, according to GPS Tracker Shop, is that they must first get a warrant, which means they need to have proof that there is justification and reasonable cause,

After carefully reviewing the evidence and the route in which the New York law enforcement agents used GPS tracking technology, the New York Courts came to the conclusion that no police or law enforcement agency can use evidence gathered from a GPS vehicle tracking unit unless they first obtained a search warrant. The court made it very clear that a warrant must be obtained prior to the installation of a GPS car tracker.

When Can a GPS Tracker Legally Be Used In New York?

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Photo by Ivan Shemereko on Unsplash
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There are other situations in which a GPS tracker can be legally used in New York. According to Brick House Security,

It's generally legal to use a GPS tracking device if:

- You or your organization own the vehicle or asset to be tracked
- You own the asset that might be taken without your permission
- Your children (under 18) are the focus of the tracking
- You are tracking a car or asset for legal repossession in the event of a default on a loan

 

It's generally illegal to use a GPS tracking device if:

- You are not the owner of the car and do not have the legal right to track it
- You are attempting to track a boyfriend or girlfriend in their own car

When in doubt, contact a lawyer in New York State before you install any GPS tracking device.

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