GPS tracking within the law enforcement community is gearing up once again. However, in this case, the consequences could be far-reaching and severe. Pending legislation in Lansing, Michigan promises to galvanize the issue of warrantless GPS tracking even further, as police may now face prison time. A fall hearing is possible.

Warrantless GPS Tracking. Police Would Face Prison Time.
Warrantless GPS Tracking. Police Would Face Prison Time.

As GPS tracking becomes more widely adopted, government and law enforcement has had an easier time tracking someone indefinitely without their consent. This fact has brought about a multitude of legal wrangles, regarding 4th amendment protections against illegal search and seizure. Up until now, the Supreme Court has held that a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, however, things may be poised to go even further.

If Michigan lawmakers have their way, officers involved in warrantless GPS tracking of suspects could face prison time, a felony conviction, as well as fines. Injury or death resulting from the violation would lead to double the prison time and significantly higher fines.

Law enforcement officials hold that if a surveillance mistake is made or if a warrant expires, then the case would end up being dismissed, and that any further discipline would be inappropriate and unwarranted. Michigan lawmakers contend that even though there is no official knowledge of warrantless GPS tracking in the state, that the bill would be a proactive measure.

The bipartisan bill was introduced in July and, due to a summer break for lawmakers, may not be heard until fall of this year. This proposed legislation could set a significant precedent, and serve as a sign of things to come.


We have more great articles on our archives on GPS technology. “GPS Tracking and Recent Solar Flares: The Potential Effects of Space Weather.”