It is against Nevada law to knowingly install, conceal or otherwise place a mobile tracking device in or on the motor vehicle of another person without the knowledge and consent of its owner or lessor. A first-time offense is a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail and/or $1,000 in fines.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. What is unlawful installation of a mobile tracking device?
- 2. What are the penalties in Nevada?
- 3. How do I fight the charges?
- 4. When can the record be sealed?
- 5. Related offenses
1. What is unlawful installation of a mobile tracking device?
The Nevada crime of “unlawful installation of a mobile tracking device” has three elements:
- You knowingly install, conceal or place a mobile tracking device in a motor vehicle;
- The motor vehicle belongs to someone else; and
- The owner or lessor of the motor vehicle does not know about it or consent to it.
“Mobile tracking devices” comprise any devices that permit someone to track the movement or location of another person or object through the transmission of any signal, including, without limitation, a radio or electronic signal. These devices are often very small and can be stuck inconspicuously underneath a car’s bumper so that the driver never notices it.
Note that law enforcement can lawfully track vehicles if done in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, Nevada Constitution, and state laws.1
2. What are the penalties in Nevada?
The punishment for “unlawful installation of a mobile tracking device” increases with each successive conviction:
|Unlawfully installing mobile tracking device on vehicle
|Misdemeanor: Up to 6 months and/or up to $1,000
|Gross misdemeanor: Up to 364 days in jail and/or $2,000
|Third or subsequent offense
|Category C felony: 1 – 5 years in Nevada State Prison and up to $10,000 2
3. How do I fight the charges?
Here at Las Vegas Defense Group, we have decades of combined experience fighting stalking-related charges. Depending on the circumstances of the case, five potential defenses to Nevada charges of “unlawful installation of a mobile tracking device” are:
- You did not act knowingly – for example, you were suffering from a medical episode at the time.
- You did not put the device on a motor vehicle – for example, you placed it on a bike.
- The vehicle belonged to you – this can be proven through a deed or DMV records.
- The vehicle’s owner or lessor knew or consented to the tracking device – this can often be proven through recorded communications.
- The police found the device through an unlawful search and seizure – for example, they did not get a valid search warrant, or they did not have a legal reason to search without a warrant.
Typical evidence in these cases includes:
- surveillance video showing the alleged placement of the device, which may be too grainy to make a positive ID;
- eyewitness accounts;
- the device itself; and
- texts, voicemails, or other communications between you and the car’s driver.
4. When can the record be sealed?
Charges for “unlawful installation of a mobile tracking device” that get dismissed can be sealed immediately. The waiting period to seal a conviction turns on the class of crime:
|Record seal waiting period in Nevada
|1 year after the case ends
|2 years after the case ends
|Category C felony
|5 years after the case ends 3
Learn more about sealing Nevada criminal records.
5. Related offenses
Harassment (NRS 200.571) is knowingly threatening someone with harm so they reasonably fear the threat will be carried out. It can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the case.
5.3. Violating a restraining order
Violating the terms of a protective order (NRS 33.100) can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the case. Installing a mobile tracking device on the protected party’s car would violate the terms of most restraining orders.