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Loren
Loren, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 20613
Experience:  Former administrative hearing officer
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about six weeks after I filed for divorce (in the state of

Customer Question

about six weeks after I filed for divorce (in the state of Michigan) my (ex)husband placed a GPS tracker on my car that I later found. My divorce attorney told me to turn it over to her, which I did. We were told that it was not a crime in MI by the police so we didn't file a police report. Later, my attorney spoke with a colleague and was informed that a law had been recently passed and in effect. I filed a police report, they investigated and found out that my ex-husband had a coworker purchase the device at work with the coworker's personal credit card, have it to be shipped to his place of employment, and then the coworker be reimbursed by my ex-husband (all of this was confessed to the police by the coworker and is written in the police report). The police then obtained the data recorded by the device. My ex-husbands divorce attorney is representing him in this matter. He is saying that the car is a marital asset. The car's registration, title, and loan is 100% in my name. Do they have grounds upon which to stand?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am JudgeLaw and I will do whatever I can to answer your question and provide you excellent service.

I do thing there is grounds for a criminal violation by the husband's friend. The statute clearly provides that anyone installing a tracking device must have the permission of the owner or user of the vehicle.. Marital assets are a concept for the division of property not proof of ownership. Additionally, Michigan is not a community property state and spouse's may have separate assets. If you can show that the car is used only by you and that the funds used to pay the loan every month are separate, then it will go a long way to defeating the marital asset argument.

Now, this does not mean a judge will not interpret this differently, but these are the arguments I see as benefiting your position.

This is the statute to which you are referring:

THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT)
Act 328 of 1931

750.539l Tracking device; placement or installment on motor vehicle without consent; violation as misdemeanor; penalty; exemptions; inapplicability of subsection (2)(j); liability for damages; definitions.

Sec. 539l.

(1) A person who does any of the following is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both:

(a) Installs or places a tracking device, or causes a tracking device to be installed or placed, in or on a motor vehicle without the knowledge and consent of the owner of that motor vehicle or, if the motor vehicle is leased, the lessee of that motor vehicle.

(b) Tracks the location of a motor vehicle with a tracking device without the knowledge and consent of either the owner or the authorized operator of that motor vehicle or, if the motor vehicle is leased, either the lessee or the authorized operator of that motor vehicle.

(c) While being the restrained party under a protective order, tracks the location of a motor vehicle operated or occupied by an individual protected under that order with a tracking device.

(d) While on probation or parole for an assaultive crime or a violation of section 81(3) or (4) or section 81a(2) or (3), tracks the location of a motor vehicle operated or occupied by a victim of that crime or by a family member of the victim of that crime without the knowledge and consent of that victim or family member.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to any of the following:

(a) The installation or use of any device that provides vehicle tracking for purposes of providing mechanical, operational, directional, navigation, weather, or traffic information to the operator of the vehicle.

(b) The installation or use of any device for providing emergency assistance to the operator or passengers of the vehicle under the terms and conditions of a subscription service, including any trial period of that subscription service.

(c) The installation or use of any device for providing missing vehicle assistance for the benefit of the owner or operator of the vehicle.

(d) The installation or use of any device to provide diagnostic services regarding the mechanical operation of a vehicle under the terms and conditions of a subscription service, including any trial period of the subscription service.

(e) The installation or use of any device or service that provides the lessee of the vehicle with clear notice that the vehicle may be tracked. For a lessor who installs a tracking device subsequent to the original vehicle manufacture, the notice shall be provided in writing with an acknowledgment signed by the lessee, regardless of whether the tracking device is original equipment, a retrofit, or an aftermarket product. The requirement for written acknowledgment placed upon the lessor is not imposed upon the manufacturer of the tracking device or the manufacturer of the vehicle.

(f) The installation or use of any tracking device by the parent or guardian of a minor on any vehicle owned or leased by that parent or guardian or the minor, and operated by the minor.

(g) The installation or use of a tracking device by a police officer while lawfully performing his or her duties as a police officer.

(h) The installation or use of a tracking device by a court officer appointed under section 8321 of the revised judicature act of 1961, 1961 PA 236, MCL(NNN) NNN-NNNN while lawfully performing his or her duties as a court officer.

(i) The installation or use of a tracking device by a person lawfully performing his or her duties as a bail agent as authorized under section 167b or as an employee or contractor of that bail agent lawfully performing his or her duties as an employee or contractor of a bail agent.

(j) Except as provided in subsection (3), the installation or use of a tracking device by a professional investigator or an employee of a professional investigator lawfully performing his or her duties as a professional investigator or employee of a professional investigator for the purpose of obtaining information with reference to any of the following:

(i) Securing evidence to be used before a court, board, officer, or investigating committee.

(ii) Crimes or wrongs done, threatened, or suspected against the United States or a state or territory of the United States or any other person or legal entity.

(iii) Locating an individual known to be a fugitive from justice.

(iv) Locating lost or stolen property or other assets that have been awarded by the court.

(3) The exemption under subsection (2)(j) does not apply if either of the following applies:

(a) The professional investigator or the employee of the professional investigator is working on behalf of a client who is the restrained party under a protective order.

(b) The professional investigator or the employee of the professional investigator knows or has reason to know that the person seeking his or her investigative services, including the installation or use of a tracking device, is doing so to aid in the commission of a crime or wrong.

(4) A person who illegally installs or uses a tracking device or a person described in subsection (2)(i) or (j) who installs or uses a tracking device is liable for all damages incurred by the owner or lessee of the motor vehicle caused by the installation or use of the tracking device.

(5) As used in this section:

(a) "Assaultive crime" means that term as defined in section 9a of chapter X of the code of criminal procedure, 1927 PA 175, MCL 770.9a.

(b) "Minor" means an individual less than 18 years of age.

(c) "Motor vehicle" means that term as defined in section 412.

(d) "Professional investigator" means a person licensed under the professional investigator licensure act, 1965 PA 285, MCL 338.821 to 338.851.

(e) "Protective order" means both of the following:

(i) An order entered under section 2950, 2950a, or 2950h of the revised judicature act of 1961, 1961 PA 236, MCL(NNN) NNN-NNNN(NNN) NNN-NNNN, and(NNN) NNN-NNNN, or under section 6b of chapter V or section 3(2)(o) of chapter XI of the code of criminal procedure, 1927 PA 175, MCL 765.6b and 771.3, or under section 13a of chapter XIIA of the probate code of 1939, 1939 PA 288, MCL 712A.13a, or under section 36(16) of the corrections code of 1953, 1953 PA 232, MCL 791.236.

(ii) A foreign protection order as defined in section 2950h of the revised judicature act of 1961, 1961 PA 236, MCL(NNN) NNN-NNNN.

(f) "Tracking device" means any electronic device that is designed or intended to be used to track the location of a motor vehicle regardless of whether that information is recorded.

 


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Thank you.

JudgeLaw

Loren, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 20613
Experience: Former administrative hearing officer
Loren and 11 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your positive rating of my service to you. Let me know if you need more help or have future questions. I will be here for you. Just ask for me by name at the start of your question - "JudgeLaw" or use the following link (which you can bookmark in your browser):  http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-JudgeLaw/
          

Best wishes and good luck to you.

If it is not too much trouble, when you receive a Customer Satisfaction Survey from JA/Pearl in a day or two, please do rate me highly (9 or 10). It affects my ability to continue to assist you and other customers on JA/Pearl and would be most appreciated.
   
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I apologize. Should I restate the question in the format you suggested?

Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
I have not made any request to restate your question. Did you have a follow up?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Sorry, I don't think my initial response and follow-up went through.


 


He has lost his job because of this incident (he cannot hold a job for more than 1-2 years), he receives an unemployment check, but puts half of that toward our court-ordered shared account (which is only 1/3 of what he is required to pay and says that it's income-based, which it's not). He drives his parents' car because he cannot take care of his own, he has declared bankruptcy twice (and probably will again by the end of this year), the house is in my name (but yes, I do understand it is a marital asset), he has stolen money from me in the past to pay off his immense credit card debt, brings the kids home late (they are 20 months and 4 years old), he has never spent time with them and only does so now to brag about it to his attorney. So basically he's a deadbeat dad that is now being prosecuted for a crime. Although he hasn't been physically violent, is there any way I can get him out of the house legally? Since there are children involved, I understand that neither of us can leave the house because it would be considered abandonment (unless there's physical violence, or a real threat of violence).

Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for following up.

Unless he agrees, which seems unlikely, it is really not possible to force a spouse from the marital home without an order of protection. The courts do not like to kick people out of their houses.

I am sorry.

JudgeLaw
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I was afraid of that.


 


Thank you very much for the information.

Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
I am sorry. I know it is a difficult situation that you just have to muscle through, so to speak.

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