North Carolina GPS Law as It Relates to Private Investigators
Generally it is true that in North Carolina it is unlawful to knowingly install, place, or use an electronic tracking device without consent, or cause an electronic tracking device to be installed, placed, or used without consent, to track the location of any person.
The law provides specific exceptions to this limitation for licensed private investigators. See: NCGS § 14-196.3 and S. 74C-3(a)(8)(k)
In general the North Carolina tracking device law states:
It is unlawful and a Class 2 misdemeanor to … Knowingly install, place, or use an electronic tracking device without consent, or cause an electronic tracking device to be installed, placed, or used without consent, to track the location of any person.
The provisions of this subdivision do not apply to the installation, placement, or use of an electronic tracking device by any of the following:
1. The owner or lessee of the vehicle: The owner or lessee of any vehicle on which the owner or lessee installs, places, or uses an electronic tracking device, unless the owner or lessee is subject to (i) a domestic violence protective order under Chapter 50B of the General Statutes or (ii) any court order that orders the owner or lessee not to assault, threaten, harass, follow, or contact a driver or occupant of the vehicle
2. Private Investigators are exempt from this law: See: NCGS § 14-196.3 (k)
k. A private detective or private investigator licensed under Chapter 74C of the General Statutes, provided that (i) the tracking is pursuant to authority under G.S. 74C-3(a)(8), (ii) the tracking is not otherwise contrary to law, and (iii) the person being tracked is not under the protection of a domestic violence protective order under Chapter 50B of the General Statutes or any other court order that protects against assault, threat, harassment, following, or contact. NCGS § 14-196.3 (k)
A licensed Private Investigator in the State of North Carolinas is defined in G.S. 74C-3(a)(8)(k):
(8) Private detective or private investigator. – Any person who engages in the profession of or accepts employment to furnish, agrees to make, or makes inquiries or investigations concerning any of the following on a contractual basis:
- Crimes or wrongs done or threatened against the United States or any state or territory of the United States.
- The identity, habits, conduct, business, occupation, honesty, integrity, credibility, knowledge, trustworthiness, efficiency, loyalty, activity, movement, whereabouts, affiliations, associations, transactions, acts, reputation, or character of any person.
- The location, disposition, or recovery of lost or stolen property.
- The cause or responsibility for fires, libels, losses, accidents, damages, or injuries to persons or to properties.
- Securing evidence to be used before any court, board, officer, or investigative committee.
- Protection of individuals from serious bodily harm or death.