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What You Need to Know About GPS Tracking and Protective Orders

What You Need to Know About GPS Tracking and Protective Orders

Each year, thousands of protective orders are issued in cases involving certain domestic relationships. Some are tactical weapons to advance illicit objectives; most have merit. Protective orders may have profound implications for work and core civil liberties, such as the right to keep and bear arms. A proven violation can result in a fine, contempt of court charge, and criminal charge.

While most of this is somewhat common knowledge now that the Indiana Civil Order Protection Act has been in force for a number of years, all laws are clearly evolving with the needs of the time. One question that is frequently presented to lawyers seeking protective orders for their clients or defending against them is to what extent do they actually protect domestic violence victims.

In an important case just decided by the Indiana Court of Appeals,1 it faced an appeal by husband subject to a protective order who was alleged to have been “watching” his wife and removing equipment from her property. To provide a more robust remedy, since at some point husband would or could pay a fine, or get out of jail for contempt, the trial court ordered him to wear a GPS tracking device and not come within a mile of the wife’s home.

On appeal, the husband argued GPS monitoring violates his right to due process because he was not advised by the trial court of all of the remedies it had for the violation, such as being subject to wear a GPS tracker. However, there is no law that requires a trial court to explain all possible penalties (while trial courts strive to do so, particularly in criminal cases) and all persons are charged with knowing statutory rights and remedies; thus, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, meaning GPS tracking is permissible and not a violation of due process in this case.

Clearly, for a defendant, it is imperative to understand the full range of implications of having a protective order against him/her and consequences for violation. These range from civil to criminal in nature and can have a profound influence on careers, ability to obtain a job, strip core civil rights, and now allow a person under a protective order to be tracked by GPS. This case highlights that ignorance of the law is no excuse (or defense). This is where skilled counsel can provide invaluable advice.

Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys defend protective orders throughout the State of Indiana and understand their significance. This blog post is written by Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates and is not intended as specific legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.

  1. P.S. v. T.W., 32A01-1610-PO-2426 (Ind.Ct.App.2017).

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Dixon & Moseley, P.C., is a law firm located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We serve clients in six core practice areas: family lawappellate practicefirearms lawgeneral practicepersonal injury and criminal law.

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