Domestic violence offenders may be forced to wear GPS devices

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.

“GPS can help curb home violence,” 3 June 2011