Domestic violence offenders may be forced to wear GPS devices

A domestic violence allegation can lead to a number of serious consequences. It can prevent the accused from going home or contacting certain family members. It can also work against the alleged aggressor when it comes to child custody arrangements. As if all this is not enough, accused attackers may now be subject to GPS monitoring.

While the current region in the news for piloting GPS tracking in domestic violence cases is in New York, the results of this program could impact people here in Maryland and throughout the nation.

Lawmakers, prosecutors and judges are adamant about not allowing domestic violence defendants defy court orders of protection as easily as in the past. To that end, officials in Dutchess County, New York, are trying out GPS devices to track high-risk domestic violence offenders.

Certain offenders will be tracked by GPS so authorities can see where they are at all times. However, that is not the extent of the pilot program. The technology allows alleged victims to carry units that serve as emergency phones to law enforcement agencies. Enforcement agents will be able to monitor the distance between the defendant and alleged victim.

GPS tracking has been used in parts of the United States, as well as other companies, to track defendants and convicts. Currently, more than a dozen states have instituted some type of GPS tracking in domestic violence cases. This monitoring strategy, declared a success by enforcement agencies, will likely expand over time.

However, it is important to understand the drawbacks of the system. Judges and probation officers will require training to fully understand and properly use the emerging technology. Also, counties that implement GPS tracking programs will need to cover the necessary staffing and monitoring expenses.

A domestic violence allegation can wreck havoc on a person’s life. Therefore, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure the rights of the accused are protected.

Source: DemocratandChronicle.com, “GPS can help curb home violence,” 3 June 2011