Supreme Court Rules That Police Must Have Warrants To Use Tracking Devices in Jacksonville

Jacksonville’s citizens are and have suffered from the many ways in which the police have been able to obtain search warrants and search one’s self and belongings. However, the Supreme Court has taken a step in favor of citizen’s rights and immunities in this area. If one has been the victim of a search one believes was unlawful, one should contact an experienced attorney to insure one’s rights are protected.

The Supreme Court, in its 9-0 unanimous decision, decided that the police could no longer use GPS trackers on cars without search warrants, the Sun-Sentinel reports. This decision comes after a man’s car was tracked with a GPS device that was placed on the man’s car while it was parked on the street. The police officers that put the device on the car did not have a probable cause to place the device on the car other than a hunch that an illegal activity was occurring. Criminal-Technology-Tracking-Dart.jpg

Florida warrants cases normally involve a police action that is questionable on the basis of probable cause. Normally, the police officer has a reason to believe that an illegal activity might be occurring and has no proof that it is occurring or has no reasonable assumptions to go on. The police then act on this very vague and un-backed hunch, search the premises or person they suspect the illegal activity is stemming from, and through that evidence collection, the person is found guilty. This would be fine, except for the fourth amendment of the Constitution.

The Warrants Clause of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution states that “[N]o Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath of affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized. The most important part of this clause that protects citizens from being randomly searched without cause is the probable cause portion.

Police must have probable cause to search your property, seize your property, or track your property. Most of the time, if the police have a case on someone from the outset, they will be obtain the warrant to search that person legally and will obtain that warrant before the search. However, many police officers will obtain the search warrant after the search has been done, or search enough unlawfully to obtain the warrant via probable cause. However, there are times when the police have both not obtained a warrant, but also have no reason whatsoever to search that can be justified by facts or even reasonable suspicions.

This is what happened in this very controversial Supreme Court case. The police believed that there was something going on, were not sure what was going on but had a hunch, and acting on that very loose suspicion, placed a GPS tracker on the car to figure out what was going on. This is a direct violation of probable cause and therefore cannot be used against someone in Court legally.

If one has been a similar situation such as this and believes one has been searched unlawfully, one should contact an experienced Jacksonville warrants attorney to fight for one’s case. With an experienced attorney at one’s side, one can feel comfortable that the evidence that was obtained unlawfully against one will not be used in Court.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Source: Supreme Court rules police must have warrants to use GPS trackers on cars, Ariel Barkhurst, The Sun-Sentinel