Distracted driving is a relatively new buzzword, and with good reason. There have always been distractions to remove your eyes from the road, of course. However, the prevalence of mobile phones in our daily lives has proven to be a common and dangerous enough distraction to prompt new laws banning their use while driving.
This means that in New York and many other cities in the U.S., police can ticket you for using your cell phone or other mobile device while driving a vehicle. You can get a cell phone ticket for speaking on the phone or dialing a number behind the wheel. You can also get a ticket for cell phone use if police catch you using email or texting while driving.
What’s more, a New York City cell phone ticket now adds five points to your driver’s license. This makes mobile phone use the second most serious (and costly) moving violation in the state. Only speeding at 21 mph or higher above the speed limit carries a higher penalty than cell phone use while driving.
If a police officer thinks he or she has seen you using your cell phone while driving, there’s likely to be a ticket coming your way. Whether you were supposedly texting, talking or simply looking at your screen, the ticket—and the potential five points on your license—is the same. Of course, that’s only if you’re found guilty of the offense.
If you simply pay the ticket, you are admitting guilt. In this way, you are ensuring that your auto insurer will raise your premiums and that he state will add five points to your driver’s license for a minimum of 18 months. You very well could be throwing money away—a fair amount of money, at that.
Current fines in New York for cell phone tickets are as follows:
A cell phone ticket will drain your pocketbook in several other ways. Aside from the fine, there’s the increase in insurance premiums, which may vary from one insurance company to another. Each insurer sets their own standards for assessing your driving record, which means you may face an increase in premiums lasting longer than the 18 month period used by the DMV.
Additionally, if you accumulate six points—and remember, improper cell phone use is a five point ticket—you’ll also have to pay New York’s driver assessment fee each year for the next three years. This can cost you a minimum of $300, and goes up with each additional point on your license.
Also, if you don’t pay your ticket—or declare your intent to fight the ticket— by the due date, you will incur fees for late payment. This is in addition to the fine itself.
Should you accumulate 11 points on your license in an 18-month period, you face a suspension, or even a revocation, of your license. In that case, there will be fees associated with getting your driver’s license reinstated.
The law does allow drivers to use a mobile phone for the sole purpose of communicating an emergency situation to any of the following:
Other than cell phone use for an emergency situation, your defenses to this moving violation can vary depending on circumstances and legal definitions. This is where working with an experienced New York cell phone ticket lawyer can be crucial in escaping the steep costs associated with this moving violation.
Your attorney can raise questions before the judge. Questions such as:
Remember, you are innocent until either you admit guilt or a court of law finds you guilty of this or any other moving violation. Don’t try to defend a cell phone ticket alone. Attorney James Medows can help.