November 10, 2010 By Wallin & Klarich

A recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, allows government agents to enter onto your property and plant a GPS device on your car without a warrant. According to this ruling, this does not violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because only individuals with gates, fences, or a no-trespassing signs can have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their driveway. The ruling on August 12, 2010 gives the government far more rights to use GPS devices to monitor peoples whereabouts.

The origin of the ruling began in 2007, when the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) entered onto Juan Pineda-Moreno’s Oregon residence and attached a GPS tracking device to his vehicle. The DEA suspected Mr. Pineda-Moreno of growing marijuana, but he challenged the DEA’s actions and requested the evidence obtained through the GPS be suppressed. In January 2010, a three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit ruled that it was perfectly legal, leading to a further review by a larger panel of judges. On August 12, 2010 the panel let the ruling stand, explaining the “curtilage” a legal term for an area around a home- of this particular driveway was open to strangers such as the neighborhood children and delivery people.

The ruling however is likely to be appealed to the United States Supreme Court, since the District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled on August 6, 2010 that GPS tracking for a extended period of time is an invasion of privacy and requires a warrant. The Supreme Court will likely have to determine which legal position to accept. Certainly people who care about the privacy rights of the people of our nation will hope that the Supreme Court adopts the view taken by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. However, until and unless this ruling is changed you need to be aware that unless you park your car in your garage the government can without a warrant place a GPS tracking device on your vehicle to monitor everywhere you go.

If you or a loved one has been arrested, it is imperative that you hire an aggressive and experienced criminal defense firm that will fight for your constitutional rights to be upheld. Hiring an experienced criminal defense law firm can greatly increase your chances of winning our case. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been helping people for over 30 years.

Please feel free to contact Wallin & Klarich to discuss your case. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 877-466-5245 or go to our website at for more information.

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