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What to Know About Receiving a Texting Ticket in NY

texting while driving

At times driving can be extremely frustrating. When you’re stuck in stop-and-go or slow traffic, you may feel boredom beginning to set in. But while it may be very tempting to reach for your cell phone to send a text, peruse the Internet, or check your email, it is illegal in the state of New York.

Under New York State law you cannot use a hand-held mobile telephone or portable electronic device while you drive. Illegal activity includes holding a portable electronic device and:

  • talking on a handheld mobile telephone
  • composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving electronic data such as e-mail, text messages, or webpages
  • viewing, taking, or transmitting images
  • playing games

What Happens If You Text and Drive?

With the exceptions of reporting an accident, a safety hazard, or a personal emergency, if you use any portable electronic device while driving, you can incur a traffic ticket, subjecting you to both a fine as well as a surcharge.

If you are convicted of the use of a cell phone or portable electronic device, you will also receive points on your driving record. Any individuals who receive 11 points within a period of 18 months can have their license suspended. Those who are convicted of these violations on or after November 1, 2014 will receive a minimum fine of $50. However, individuals who are convicted of their first violation can receive a maximum fine of $150; those who are convicted of a second offense within 18 months can receive a maximum fine of $200; and those who are found to have committed this violation for a third (or subsequent) time within a period of 18 months can receive a maximum fine of $400. The maximum surcharge for any and all violations is $93.  

Individuals convicted of these violations (on or after June 1, 2013) will receive five points on their driving record.

Penalties for probationary and junior drivers with a Class DJ or MJ driver license or learner permit

As for probationary and junior drivers (those with a Class DJ or MJ driver’s license or learner’s permit), as of November 1, 2014, a first conviction of cell phone use while driving will result in a suspension of their permit or license for 120 days. Should this not be enough to deter them and they receive a second conviction within six months after the first suspension ends, the driver will have their probationary license or learner’s permit revoked for a minimum of one year

Commercial Vehicle Drivers and Motor Carriers

As of October 28, 2013, a motor carrier is obligated to prohibit their drivers from using cell phones or electronic devices while they drive. These drivers may not use such devices even while the vehicle is temporarily stationary with the engine on. While “hands-free mobile telephone” access is allowed, it is not considered as such if the driver must press more than one button in order to do anything with the phone (answer it, place a call, etc.). It should be noted that if the driver of a commercial vehicle so much as holds a cell phone in the immediate proximity of his or her ear, or holds it up in an obvious manner, while the vehicle is temporarily stationary due to traffic or other momentary delays, then he or she is presumed to be on a call.

Defending Against Cell Phone Tickets

Just because you have received a cell phone ticket does not mean that you are guilty. You still have the option of fighting your ticket should you believe that you are innocent of the charges against you. However, it’s important to contact a knowledgeable and experienced traffic ticket attorney as soon as possible, as a failure to respond within the allotted 15 days can result in a license suspension. 

Having legal representation will ensure that:

  • Witness statements will be taken into account
  • Cell phone records can be submitted into evidence
  • It can be proven that a law enforcement officer actually saw you touching the phone

AutoTrafficTickets.com Helps Those in New York Who Wish to Challenge a Ticket for Failure to Yield

If you or a loved one has been issued a cell phone traffic ticket in NY and wish to challenge it, AutoTrafficTickets.com can help. We will ensure that any witness statements and cell phone records will be accounted for, and your rights will be defended. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Traffic Tickets