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  1. #1
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    Default Can Police Find You Through a Cell Phone

    Hello, my son is a fugitive from justice on a very minor misdemeanor bench warrant for FTA. I believe police have asked the neighboring state where he lives to arrest and extradite him (about 3 hours away), but the police have been unable to locate him since they do not know his whereabouts. My question is can police pin down his location via cell phone triangulation, and would the police actually go through the expense and hassle of doing this? Is this common? Right now he turns his cell phone off and uses it only for a few minutes a day. He keeps moving on a daily basis so it will be hard for police to find him.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can Police Find You Through a Cell Phone

    every phone manufactured in the last several years has location finding abilities. It was required by the government so a person using the 911 services would be locatable without having to use the triangulation method, which is terribly inaccurate. The newer GPS based system locates the phone within a few feet.


    Hello, my son is a fugitive from justice on a very minor misdemeanor bench warrant for FTA.
    Of course, there is the original charge he is wanted for as well.

    expense? what expense? it is automatic and there is no additional charge for this.
    I am not an attorney and any advice is not to be construed as legal advice. You might even want to ignore my advice. Actually, there are plenty of real attorneys that you might want to ignore as well.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can Police Find You Through a Cell Phone

    thank you. as to the expenses, i mean it costs money for the police to send people to extradite someone back to another state. it's a three hour trip by car, one way. it also costs the state that is asked to arrest the person man hours for the police to track down and arrest the person wanted in another state. given that it is a minor misdemeanor that would only result in a small fine (charge of lying to police about date of birth)), it doesnt seem prudent to extradite from out of state for this offense. waste of time and money and man hours. it would cost the agencies more to bring this person to justice than they would get in fines.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can Police Find You Through a Cell Phone

    Quote Quoting kpn
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    waste of time and money and man hours. it would cost the agencies more to bring this person to justice than they would get in fines.
    ALL criminal prosecutions cost more than a state would ever receive in any sort of compensation. They are not a money making proposal. They are simply to enforce the laws.
    I am not an attorney and any advice is not to be construed as legal advice. You might even want to ignore my advice. Actually, there are plenty of real attorneys that you might want to ignore as well.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can Police Find You Through a Cell Phone

    true, but then why dont states generally extradite for misdemeanor of traffic offenses when the person is found many states away? it would be too much of a hassle and cost too much.

    bobby knight, the famous ncaa basketball coach, has an outstanding arrest warrant in Puerto Rico for assault, for example, but PR chooses not to extradite given the impracticality of the case.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can Police Find You Through a Cell Phone

    Quote Quoting kpn
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    Hello, my son is a fugitive from justice on a very minor misdemeanor bench warrant for FTA. I believe police have asked the neighboring state where he lives to arrest and extradite him (about 3 hours away), but the police have been unable to locate him since they do not know his whereabouts. My question is can police pin down his location via cell phone triangulation, and would the police actually go through the expense and hassle of doing this? Is this common? Right now he turns his cell phone off and uses it only for a few minutes a day. He keeps moving on a daily basis so it will be hard for police to find him.

    Thank you.
    COULD they locate him via cell phone? In most cases, no. Unless you are in a big city with multiple cell towers from which to triangulate, the police would only get a very rough area in which to search. Some phone manufacturers have true GPS capabilities, and those could be used, but very few are true GPS devices.

    As for the police commonly doing this ... For a low level misdemeanor? Nope.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can Police Find You Through a Cell Phone

    Thank you sir, I appreciate your response.

    I know that's how they found OJ back in 1994 when he was fleeing police in his SUV. He was on the phone and they found him and began a slow pursuit.

    Also, there was a case where a woman crashed her car off a road into a deep ravine, invisible to passers by, and the police, after suspecting her husband of abducting her for a week, used cell phone triangulation off her almost dead cell phone battery to locate her crashed car and body, under heavy bush. she was still alive miraculously.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can Police Find You Through a Cell Phone

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
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    COULD they locate him via cell phone? In most cases, no. Unless you are in a big city with multiple cell towers from which to triangulate, the police would only get a very rough area in which to search. Some phone manufacturers have true GPS capabilities, and those could be used, but very few are true GPS devices.

    As for the police commonly doing this ... For a low level misdemeanor? Nope.

    - Carl
    here is a snippet from a website concerning GPS locators built into phones.

    Some companies, such as Cingular, adopted technology that locates a cell phone by analyzing how its signal is picked up by different cell towers. Others, including Verizon, Sprint, and Nextel, decided to install a GPS receiver in every cell phone.
    I know of very few, if any phones that still use triangulation to locate a phone due to the inaccuracies inherent in that system. All I have seem in the past couple of years are GPS capable and the accuracy is amazing.

    Carl, I live in a very small town and I can locate my phone within a relatively small area. Try searching using

    "google latitude"

    it may amaze you. Big city, small city, no difference. GPS doesn;t care what size city you are in.
    I am not an attorney and any advice is not to be construed as legal advice. You might even want to ignore my advice. Actually, there are plenty of real attorneys that you might want to ignore as well.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can Police Find You Through a Cell Phone

    It can't be THAT amazing, because no one has told law enforcement about it.

    There are a lot of factors that come into play including the type of phone, the service provider, permutation of towers (multiple cells), etc. Finding A SINGLE individual on a street or block using simply a cell phone signal happens on TV but rarely in real life. And, when it does, there tends to be a team or a task force hunting for the guy.

    And the problem with Google Latitude is that it works on a limited number o phones, and your friends have to accept it ... I doubt that Johnny Q. Dirtbag is going to agree to receive the cops' signal.

    A lot of technology works great on TV, but there are numerous obstacles to the real world application of a good deal of it.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Can Police Find You Through a Cell Phone

    Quote Quoting kpn
    View Post
    I know that's how they found OJ back in 1994 when he was fleeing police in his SUV. He was on the phone and they found him and began a slow pursuit.
    They tracked the travel of his signal from tower to tower. Even if a person is no on the phone, the phone sends a signal to the towers effectively pinging them telling them it's there and they can be tracked in that way. But, absent GPS, locating a person within a matter even of several yards is nearly impossible. The pseudo "GPS" on my iPhone is lucky to get it right within a 1/4 mile!

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

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