On Monday, the US Supreme Court decided a case that reinforced the importance of the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution. The Court ruled that the police must have a
search warrant to use a GPS tracking device on a vehicle to gather information.
In this case, the defendant was suspected of trafficking drugs. The police obtained a warrant to place a GPS device on the defendant's vehicle for the purpose of obtaining information to be used in building a case against the defendant for trafficking drugs. However, the warrant required the GPS device to be placed on the vehicle within 10 days and within the city limits. The police failed to comply with the warrant requirements. The police waited until the 11th day from the issuance of the warrant and the device was placed on the defendant's vehicle while it was in a neighboring state. The police then monitored the defendant's movements for the next 28 days. Since the police failed to comply with warrant requirements, the warrant became invalid. As a result, the police were acting without a warrant.
Since the police did not have a valid warrant, the Court had to determine if the use of a GPS device to track the movements of a suspect without a valid warrant was a search in violation of the 4th Amendment. The 4th Amendment protects us from unreasonable searches by the government. The Court determined that the government's placement of a GPS device on the defendant's private property for the purpose of obtaining information was a physical intrusion in violation of the defendant's privacy under the 4th Amendment.
What does this mean for me?
If you have or will be charged with a crime, it is vital to contact an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney for a
free consultation. The Supreme Court's ruling emphasizes the importance of having an experienced attorney fighting for and protecting your rights.