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Massachusetts G.L. c. 265, §47: GPS Monitoring of Persons Convicted of Sex Offenses

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, Section 47 provides that any adult who is convicted of a sex crime and placed on probation is required to wear a global positioning system device (GPS device) “at all times for the length of his probation for any such offense.”

The crimes requiring probationers to wear GPS devices include:

  • Indecent assault and battery on a child under 14
  • Aggravated indecent assault and battery on a child under 14
  • Indecent assault and battery on a mentally retarded person
  • Indecent assault and battery on a person over 14
  • Rape
  • Forcible rape of a child under 16
  • Aggravated forcible rape of a child under 16
  • Rape and abuse of a child
  • Aggravated rape and abuse of a child
  • Assault with intent to commit rape
  • Assault of a child with intent to commit rape
  • Kidnapping of a child
  • Enticing a child under the age of 16 for the purposes of committing a crime
  • Enticing a child under 18 via electronic communication to engage in prostitution, human trafficking or commercial sexual activity
  • Trafficking of persons for sexual servitude
  • Enticing away a person for prostitution or sexual intercourse
  • Drugging persons for sexual intercourse
  • Inducing a minor into prostitution
  • Living off or sharing earnings of a minor prostitute
  • Second and subsequent adjudication or conviction for open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior
  • Incestuous marriage or intercourse
  • Disseminating to a minor matter harmful to a minor
  • Posing or exhibiting a child in a state of nudity
  • Dissemination of visual material of a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct
  • Possession of child pornography
  • Unnatural and lascivious acts with a child under 16
  • Aggravated rape

Massachusetts sex crime defense attorney Stephen Neyman has achieved outstanding results for individuals accused of sex offenses and probation violations, including violations involving GPS monitoring devices.

Geographical Zones of Exclusion

G. L. c. 265, §47 requires the commissioner of probation to establish defined geographical exclusion zones that include “[t]he areas in and around the victim’s residence, place of employment and school, and other areas defined to minimize the probationer’s contact with children”. If the probationer enters one of these zones of exclusion, the GPS device location will immediately be transmitted to local authorities and to the commissioner of probation. If the probation officer or the commissioner have probable cause to believe the probationer violated his terms of probation, the probation officer may request this issuance for an arrest warrant for the probationer or issue a notice of surrender to that person.

Fees Incurred for GPS Device

The statute specifically addresses the question of who is responsible for paying for the GPS device:

The fees incurred by installing the device, maintaining and operating the global positioning system device, or comparable device, shall be paid by probationer. If an offender established his inability to pay such fees, the court may waive them.

Therefore, under G. L. c. 265, §47, the probationer is required to pay the fee for wearing the GPS device. This fee may be waived if the probationer can show he cannot afford to pay for the device.

Defending G.L. c. 265, §47 Violations

Violations can occur when the probationer is unaware he is in an excluded zone. In other words, it is not unusual for someone to find himself in court answering to a probation violation simply because he made a mistake, walking or driving by an excluded area. Accidents or mechanical errors with the GPS might result in you being back in court, and it is extremely important to have an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer on your side.

Exceptions to GPS Monitoring of Sex Offense Probationers

There are some situations where G. L. c. 265, §47 does not apply. The judge is not required to impose GPS monitoring if the defendant was placed on pre-trial probation or if the defendant received a continuance without a finding (CWOF).

This statute does not apply to individuals who committed the qualifying sex offense and were placed on probation before the date the statute went into effect. In a probation “modification proceeding,” a judge does not have the discretion to impose GPS monitoring as an additional condition of probation unless a judge finds a violation of a condition because GPS monitoring and geographic exclusions are so punitive as to increase the severity of the original terms of probation.

G.L. c. 265 Section 47 does not apply to juveniles who have committed a qualifying sex offense. The rationale for excluding juveniles from this statute is that they are viewed as children in need of aid, encouragement and guidance. Because the statute does not specifically reference that it applies to juveniles, the Massachusetts legislature did not intend it to apply to juveniles.

Sex Crimes Attorney in Massachusetts 617-263-6800

Massachusetts sex crimes defense attorney Stephen Neyman routinely represents clients who have been accused of sex offenses and probation violations. Attorney Neyman routinely achieves outstanding results for clients and has been doing so for decades. If you have been charged with any crime in Massachusetts, contact the Law Office of Stephen Neyman, P.C. at 617-263-6800 or send us an email.

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