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Is It Illegal To Put a GPS Tracker On Someone’s Car In Texas

Are you wondering if it’s illegal to install a GPS tracker on someone else’s car in Texas? The answer isn’t straightforward – it’s both yes and no.

GPS Tracking Laws In Texas

Are you wondering about the legality of using GPS trackers on vehicles in Texas? You’re not alone. From San Antonio to Dallas-Fort Worth, individuals and businesses often consider tracking cars for various reasons. Perhaps you suspect infidelity, worry about a teen’s driving habits, or need evidence for legal disputes. In Texas, these scenarios frequently prompt questions about GPS tracking. But here’s the crucial point: Is it legal to place a GPS tracker on someone else’s car in Texas? This article, crafted by GPS experts, aims to educate you on Texas’s GPS tracking laws. Keep reading to gain essential insights into what’s legal and what’s not when it comes to vehicle tracking in the Lone Star State.

SpaceHawk GS Tracker GIF

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Is It Legal To Put A Vehicle Tracker On Someone’s Car In Texas – Examples

Are you wondering if it’s illegal to install a GPS tracker on someone else’s car in Texas? The answer isn’t straightforward – it’s both yes and no. Let’s break it down. If you purchase a GPS device and secretly place it inside a car you don’t own, that’s illegal and considered a misdemeanor in Texas. But, the law in Texas has its complexities and nuances when it comes to GPS tracking. Let’s explore a few scenarios to understand these legal grey areas better.

  • In Texas, a person can place a car GPS tracker inside or outside of any automobile they own.
  • Texas businesses can use car tracking devices on company-owned vehicles.
  • You can legally hide a tracking device on a car you do not own only if 1) the GPS tracker is equipped to the outside of the vehicle, and 2) the car is parked on public property when the tracking device is placed under the car. 
  • It is illegal to hide a GPS tracker inside a car you do not own as it is considered private property.
  • If a car is parked on private property you cannot legally place a GPS tracker under the vehicle. You must wait until the vehicle is parked in public.

Unlawful Installation of GPS trackers is defined in Chapter 16.06 of the Texas Penal Code as follows:

(b) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly installs an electronic or mechanical tracking device on a motor vehicle owned or leased by another person.

Basically, it is a crime to put a hidden GPS tracker inside a car that does not belong to you. Section 16.06(a)(2) says that “motor vehicle” has the meaning assigned by Section 501.002, Transportation Code.

GPS Tracking Laws In Texas

The Punishment For Using A GPS Tracker Illegally In Texas

Illegal use of a vehicle tracking system is a Class A Misdemeanor in the state of Texas. Class A Misdemeanors are punishable by a fine (not exceeding $4,000). If you are found guilty of illegally placing a GPS tracker on someone’s car in Texas you must consult a criminal attorney. The reason is that even if you already pleaded guilty, a criminal defense attorney will work on your behalf to obtain the lowest possible sentence.

Under Texas law, a law enforcement agency that reasonably believed a person was involved in some form of criminal activity (wiretap act) is authorized to install a GPS device as long as they first obtain a warrant. The unlawful installation of a tracking system on the vehicle of a private citizen could lead to a criminal investigation or electronic communication.

Arguing Effective Consent From Owner or Lessee Of Vehicle In Texas

Effective Consent means you received explicit consent or implied consent. If that sounds a little confusing let us try to break down that legal language. Effective consent means you directly informed the vehicle owner you would place a tracker on their car. For example, if you took the vehicle to an auto mechanic and asked them to equip a GPS tracker to the car, you have given them your express consent. Keep in mind that your criminal defense attorney will have to argue this defense.

On the other hand, effective consent many times can be implied. An example of this would be if a parent “leased” a car to their teen driver, and used a tracking device for safety The minor might not have provided express consent, but because they are still a minor (under the control of their parents) the consent is assumed.

Need Legal Advice? Find The Right Lawyer In Texas

Understanding GPS tracking laws in Texas is just the first step. Your unique situation demands personalized legal guidance. Remember, every case has its nuances. That’s why consulting with a legal professional is crucial. They can offer tailored advice, ensuring your actions stay within legal boundaries.

If you’re seeking legal advice on GPS tracking laws in Texas, it’s important to find the right lawyer. Start by searching online for attorneys specializing in privacy or criminal law in your area. Websites like the State Bar of Texas or local legal directories can be great resources. Look for lawyers with experience in cases similar to yours. Read reviews and check their credentials to ensure they’re well-equipped to handle your situation.

Remember, the information in this article is not legal advice. It’s meant to provide general guidance. Your circumstances are unique, and only a qualified attorney can offer advice tailored to your specific situation. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional for the legal support you need.

GPS Tracking Laws In Texas – Frequently Asked Questions

Can I GPS Tracking Employees In Texas?

Yes, you can GPS track employees’ vehicles in Texas with their consent and for a legitimate business purpose. However, it is essential to follow privacy laws and have a clear policy outlining the reasons, limitations, and expectations of GPS tracking.

Can I Use A GPS Device To Catch A Cheating Partner In Texas?

Yes, you can use a vehicle tracking device to bust a cheating partner. But doing so may violate their privacy rights. Consent is crucial when you do not own the vehicle, and tracking someone without their knowledge could lead to criminal charges or civil lawsuits. The best advice? Consult with a legal professional before putting a spouse GPS tracker on someone’s car!

Are There Specific Texas Statutes That Regulate GPS Tracking?

Yes, Texas has a specific statute regulating GPS tracking: Texas Penal Code § 16.06. This law states that it is illegal to install a GPS tracking device on a vehicle without the owner’s consent, except for certain exemptions such as law enforcement. Violating this statute could result in criminal and civil consequences, so it’s crucial to be aware of the legal requirements.

How Can I Legally Use GPS Tracking In A Business Setting In Texas?

To legally use GPS tracking for company vehicles in Texas, you must have the employees’ consent and a legitimate business purpose. Examples include using a vehicle tracker for theft recovery purposes or to find out if a person commits a traffic violation in a company vehicle. What is the best practice for using a real-time GPS? Establish a clear policy outlining the reasons, limitations, and expectations of GPS tracking. That way there is no confusion about why you installed the device on a company vehicle. Following privacy laws and maintaining transparency with employees can help you stay within the boundaries of the law. Below, you will find some helpful information on how your business can create a GPS tracking policy:

GPS tracking policy


Is It Illegal To Put a GPS Tracker On Someone’s Car In Texas – Disclaimer

At Tracking System Direct, we want to emphasize: that the information in this article is not legal advice. You must understand this. For precise, up-to-date information on GPS tracking laws in Texas, consult a Texas business attorney. Laws change, and only a legal professional can offer you reliable guidance. If you’re thinking about using GPS tracking, talk to an attorney first! Our goal is to inform you, but legal decisions require a lawyer’s expertise. Remember, the insights we share here at Tracking System Direct are for your information only.

Some images in this article, “Is It Illegal To Put a GPS Tracker On Someone’s Car In Texas” were generated using AI

Matthew Henson
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