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Court Says Using GPS to Track Trucker Without Warrant Unlawful

| January 8, 2018


A recent Arizona Supreme Court ruling may have established an important precedent when it determined that police violated the law when they used a GPS system to track a truck driver without first obtaining a warrant.

Here’s what happened: Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers placed a GPS device on a semi without a warrant — suspecting that the vehicle was involved in criminal activity.

Nonetheless, a majority of the justices found that people in vehicles — including truck drivers — have a reasonable expectation of privacy and freedom from government surveillance .

That expectation was violated by the use of a GPS device — without a warrant.

The majority ruled: “We conclude that passengers traveling with the owner in a private vehicle generally have a reasonable expectation of privacy that is invaded by the government’s continually tracking the vehicle through a surreptitious GPS tracking device.

The DPS officers were concerned that the truck was being used for criminal activity.

Two days after the GPS device was placed on the truck, officers pulled over the truck and found ninety-five bales of marijuana weighing a total of 2,140 pounds.

The conviction ultimately was overturned when defense lawyers argued that because the GPS device was used to unlawfully track and monitor him, the drugs that the officers discovered when they searched the truck should not be used to convict him.But here’s the final twist: In spite of the fact that the court ruled that the officers violated the driver’s Fourth Amendment rights, his conviction and sentence were upheld.

Category: Featured, General Update, News, Safety

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