- Insight from the Maryland Legislature on Tracking Devices- read now
Insight from the Maryland Legislature on Tracking Devices
From time to time, clients in family law disputes ask whether it is legal to put a GPS tracker on another person’s vehicle. This investigative tactic allows a party to track the whereabouts of the other party, which may provide evidence to support a claim of adultery or unfitness as a parent. The answer to this question, as well as many other legal questions, is, it depends. For the time being, installing a GPS tracking device on a car is legal, provided that: (1) the vehicle is titled in your own name, alone; (2) there are no active protective orders issued between you and the person operating the vehicle; and (3) the tracker is not collecting audio recordings.
Notwithstanding that information, whether one should implement such a plan is another question. One should keep in mind that the existence of a tracking device and the information collected from it are discoverable during the course of a lawsuit, so you may be obligated to disclose that you engaged in such investigative measures. There may also be some questions about the value and admissibility of the evidence collected from a tracking device.
And yet one more consideration to keep in mind is that the law may soon be changing, which will squarely impact the answer to this question. The legislature in Maryland has been in full swing and House Bill 148 seeks to expand the criminal definition of stalking to include, among other things, conduct through the use of a device that can pinpoint or track the location of another without the person’s knowledge or consent. This bill would address GPS trackers on a vehicle as well as a cellphone. So, if you are considering this investigative tactic, keep your eye on this bill, as tracking a person’s whereabouts without the person’s knowledge or consent may soon fall within the criminal definition of stalking.
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