Ramsay Law Firm Sues Minnesota Department of Public Safety

02/22/17 / Jay Kolls

A class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday claims plaintiffs weren't told that interlock devices they were required to install had been equipped with GPS tracking devices.

The suit was filed against the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and three manufacturers of the interlock devices.

Several KSTP stories are included as exhibits. 

The plaintiffs claim they were forced to install new ignition interlock systems in their cars, but were not told by DPS or the interlock manufacturers that the new devices have GPS tracking capabilities. 

Under Minnesota law, DUI offenders -- in some cases -- have the option of using the ignition interlock system as part of their sentences after conviction. 

The interlock system requires drivers pass a breathalyzer test before their cars will start with the ignition interlock. 

But the plaintiffs contend they did not agree to GPS tracking capabilities within the interlock devices as part of their sentences. 

"We believe the U.S. Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear in previous rulings that GPS tracking by the government is unconstitutional, and there are only limited instances where it is allowed," said Dan Koewler, an attorney representing the plaintiffs. "And in those instances a search warrant is required." 

And, Koewler said, "there is no evidence from DPS that shows they are taking measures to ensure the collected GPS data, which records every move made by the ignition interlock user, is being stored with adequate protection.  

"We think this is unlawful search under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution," Koewler said. 

A DUI offender and GPS interlock user who did not want to use her name said, "This is not what I agreed to as part of my conviction and sentence, and if I am paying for my mistake then I think they should have to pay for their mistake." 

Right now, there are two bills moving through the state Legislature that would end the GPS tracking capabilities in the ignition interlock program.

One of the interlock makers has also sued DPS over this issue. 

KSTP contacted DPS for comment, but the agency said it does not comment on lawsuits. In past stories, DPS has said it is not collecting and storing the GPS information on DUI offenders, and has no intention of using the data. 

The agency said collection and storage of the GPS data is handled by the interlock manufacturers.

Source: KSTP Channel 5

DWI defense that you can trust. Hundreds of satisfied clients chose Ramsay Law Firm since 1995 - contact us and find out why.