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What to Know About Cell Phone Ticketing in New York State

A woman driving and texting on her cell phone

New York State takes distracted driving very seriously. Cell phone use while driving is an issue that has only become more and more prevalent in our society, as technology evolves and what we can access on our smartphones has become greater and greater.

Points on Your License

Only a few years ago, tickets for cell phone use while driving resulted merely a fine, but very quickly the penalty for such offense has escalated to five (5) points on your driver’s license. It is a significant traffic offense.

Violation Fees

Not only will a ticket for cell phone use cost you points on your license, but it will also cost you a little something from your piggy bank as well. A conviction for cell phone use of any kind while driving in New York State will cost you $50 to $150 for the first offense; between $50 and $200 for the second offense if within 18 months; and between $50 and $400 for a third offense within 18 months. Drivers found to be using their cell phone will driving will also be required to pay an additional surcharge of either $88 or $93 dependent upon where the violation occurred. Also, this can quickly make the motorist obligated to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee (see below).

Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee

Drivers who accumulate six (6) or more points within 18 months as a result of traffic convictions are required to pay an additional fee called the Driver Responsibility Assessment fee. This is a fee of $300 plus an addition $75 for every point after six. The fee is in addition to the court surcharges and fines otherwise associated with the ticket. This fee is paid directly to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

An Affect on Insurance

Another concerning result of points on your driver’s license is the accessibility of this information to insurance companies, who occasionally pull their customers’ driving records. They may increase their rates when new convictions occur. One study in particular even showed that a single cell phone ticket could cost you a rate increase of 20 percent.

Police are now paying close attention to drivers who are talking, texting, holding their phone in their hand, or even simply looking down and appearing distracted by something other than the road, while their vehicle is in motion.

Types of Cell Phone Tickets

There are different types of cell phone tickets in New York. Two laws form New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) relate to the use of portable electronic devices while driving. These include:

VTL 1225(c) Use of Mobile Telephone; and
VTL 1225(d) Use of Portable Electronic Devices (this includes texting)

While a VTL 1225(c) ticket is issued for a driver who is engaged in a phone call, VTL 1225(d) not only applies to texting while driving, but many other devices including things such as GPS, iPad, MP3 player, and camera. Essentially holding the device while driving constitutes “use” under the law.

Hire an Attorney

A cell phone ticket conviction can have serious consequences on multiple aspects of your life, often costing you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Hiring an attorney to assist in getting the ticket reduced or dismissed will likely save you money, and your privilege to drive. Contact us today!

Posted in: Distracted Driving