I have this tracking device . . . and Michigan divorce law: As a Michigan divorce lawyer, I recognize that it is not uncommon for a spouse to use a GPS tracking device to validate their suspicions of an affair. Consumers can now have access to devices previously only accessible by governmental agencies, the police and private investigators. GPS tracking devices are now easy to obtain on the internet or local spy shop. But are these GPS tracking devices legal?
Disclaimer: Michigan divorce and criminal law constantly changes. Therefore, before acting on the advice in this or any other article, it is recommended that you speak with a Michigan divorce attorney directly before acting! Care should be taken so that your snooping does not cross the line and become a crime.
The short answer is no. The Michigan penal code specifically prohibits the placement or installation on a motor vehicle of a tracking device. A tracking device is typically a GPS device used to monitor the whereabouts of an individual.
While your iPhone or other cell phone applications may allow for “tracking” under limited circumstances (such as find my iPhone), the installation of a GPS tracking device is specifically prohibited under Michigan law. Our Michigan divorce attorneys have done the research. The law can be found in Michigan Compiled Laws volume 705 section. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(uydbeu55wsclaqiot4d2c555))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-750-539l
It is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both if you install or place a tracking device, or cause a tracking device to be installed or placed, in or on a motor vehicle without the knowledge and consent of the owner of that motor vehicle or, if the motor vehicle is leased, the lessee of that motor vehicle.
What if someone else does the installation? It is also illegal to track the location of a motor vehicle with a tracking device without the knowledge and consent of either the owner/lessor or the authorized operator of that motor vehicle.
What about a parent or guardian? The law does not prohibit the use of a tracking device by a parent or guardian of a vehicle owned by that parent or the minor.
About Findling Law
I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan for over two decades. The attorneys at Findling Law all share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles. We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances.
That is why we provide more free information on divorce and family law than any other Michigan law firm. We want to help you manage your situation. Allow our exceptional legal team to help you navigate the change in your life, without compromising principles.
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By: Daniel Findling