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Home  >  Articles  >  Can the Police Legally Monitor Criminal Suspects?

Can the Police Legally Monitor Criminal Suspects?

When the police open an investigation on a criminal suspect, they are bound by specific legal requirements that forbid them from searching or following a suspect in certain situations. The police are allowed to maintain an investigation as long as they follow these rules appropriately. Failure to do so can have serious consequences for a criminal defense case if the police press charges against that suspect. In these situations, a defendant may be able to cite these monitoring violations and have the related evidence thrown out. Fortunately, knowledgeable criminal attorney James Powderly can help Cape Code defendants with this important step.

Monitoring Criminal Suspects Without Warrants

The police can exercise very specific investigatory tools when tracking a suspect. However, going too far can violate that suspect’s right to privacy as well as his or her Constitutional protections against wrongful search and seizure. The following rules govern most police actions when monitoring suspects:

  • Police may chase suspects at the scene of a crime without a warrant
  • Police can track suspects in public spaces without a warrant
  • Police require a warrant to track a suspect in a private location
  • Police cannot track phone or internet usage without a warrant
  • Police cannot attach GPS tracking devices to vehicles without a warrant
  • Police may be required to obtain a warrant to continue long-term monitoring operations

If the police fail to follow these rules, the evidence they gather as a result of their monitoring programs may be deemed illegally gathered and removed from a case. This can substantially benefit a defendant’s case against a determined prosecution.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Cape Cod

If you’ve been wrongly searched or monitored by the police prior to an arrest, there may be additional options available to you in your criminal defense trial to protect yourself from the prosecution. To learn more about how we can help you fight for freedom or reduced sentencing if you’ve been arrested in Cape Cod, contact attorney James Powderly at 508-343-0676 today.