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Using a GPS tracking device on your spouse; Is it against the law in Wisconsin.

You think your spouse may be cheating on you and you don’t feel like spending thousands of dollars by hiring a private investigator to follow them around to prove it. Instead, you think of placing a GPS tracking device on your spouse’s car. By doing that you can track their every move, see where they are going and determine if in fact they are cheating on you. NOT SO FAST!

There is a criminal statute in Wisconsin, sec. 940.315 that makes it a crime to place a tracking device on your spouse or another person, like a former boyfriend or girlfriend. The statute reads as follows:

(1) Whoever does any of the following is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor:
(a) Places a global positioning device or a device equipped with global positioning technology on a vehicle owned or leased by another person without that person’s consent.
(b) Intentionally obtains information regarding another person’s movement or location generated by a global positioning device or a device equipped with global positioning technology that has been placed without that person’s consent.
(2) This section does not apply to a motor vehicle manufacturer or a person, acting within the scope of his or her employment, who installs an in-vehicle communication or telematics system, to a device installed by or with the permission of the vehicle owner for automobile insurance rating, underwriting, or claims handling purposes, to a law enforcement officer acting in his or her official capacity, to a parent or guardian acting to track the movement or location of his or her minor child or his or her ward, to a lienholder or agent of a lienholder acting to track the movement or location of a motor vehicle in order to repossess the motor vehicle, or to an employer or business owner acting to track the movement or location of a motor vehicle owned, leased, or assigned for use by the employer or business owner.”

One would need to question what purpose it really has at all to find out if your spouse is cheating on you or not. In Wisconsin, under the family code, “fault” is not a factor so whether they are cheating on you or not, is not going to affect property division, whether you can get a divorce or not, or any of the other financial issues that need to be decided with getting a divorce. I guess the only real purpose, is to satisfy one’s own curiosity about knowing one way or the other, whether there spouse has been unfaithful during the marriage.

Further, since the enactment of this law in 2015, you arguably may be committing a crime by placing a GPS tracking device on your spouse or former significant other, when done without their consent or knowledge.

For more information on this article, contact Karp & Iancu.

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