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NYC Cell Phone Ticket Lawyer

A ticket for using your cell phone while driving may just be the most frustrating kind of ticket you can receive. But you don’t have to give in and pay the fine. Call an NYC cell phone ticket attorney to find out how to fight back.

Distracted driving is a relatively new buzzword, but there have always been distractions to remove your eyes from the road. 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, 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 drivers license. This makes mobile phone use the second most serious (and costly) moving violation in the state. Only speeding at twenty-one miles per hour or higher above the speed limit carries a higher penalty than cell phone use while driving.

Definition of Improper Cell Phone Use While Driving in New York

It’s illegal to talk and text on the phone while driving in New York—anything else? You bet. Pretty much any activity you could do on the phone while driving is illegal under New York’s cell phone laws. It’s also illegal to use any other electronic device while driving, such as a computer or tablet.

Here’s a look at what New York considers improper electronic device behavior while operating a motor vehicle:

  • Talking on a mobile phone
  • Playing games or accessing apps
  • Taking photos, viewing them, or transmitting them
  • Reading, composing, sending, scanning, opening, saving, or transmitting any electronic data while driving, such as emails, text messages, or websites

Paying a Mobile Phone Ticket Means You Admit Guilt

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 the state will add five points to your drivers license for a minimum of eighteen months. You very well could be throwing money away—a fair amount of money, at that.

Costs of a Cell Phone Ticket in New York

Current fines in New York for cell phone tickets are as follows:

  • First offense: $50 to $150
  • Second offense within eighteen months: $50 to $200
  • Third and subsequent offenses within eighteen months: $50 to $400

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 its own standards for assessing your driving record, which means you may face an increase in premiums lasting longer than the eighteen-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 it 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 eleven points on your license in an eighteen-month period, you face a suspension, or even a revocation, of your license. In that case, there will be fees associated with getting your drivers license reinstated.

Additional NYC Cell Phone Laws

In addition to the cell phone laws outlined above, you should be aware of some additional laws, especially if you or a family member is a junior driver (teen driver) or you drive a commercial vehicle.

The laws for junior drivers are as follows:

  • The first conviction on a cell phone traffic infraction can result in a drivers license or permit suspension for 120 days.
  • The second conviction within six months of the license or permit reinstatement will result in revocation of the license or permit for at least one year. This applies to probationary licenses, as well as class DJ or MJ licenses or learner permits.

The NYC cell phone law as it pertains to commercial vehicle drivers or motor carriers is as follows:

  • Motor carriers must not require or permit their drivers to use cell phones while operating motor vehicles.
  • Commercial vehicle drivers can’t use a device that requires more than a single button to be pushed to answer the call.
  • Commercial vehicle drivers are not permitted to use their cell phones while temporarily stopped, such as at a light, stop sign, or other temporary stop.
  • If a commercial vehicle driver holds a phone close to or in the general vicinity of his or her ear, that driver is presumed to be using the mobile device.
  • If a commercial driver is seen holding a portable electronic device in a “conspicuous manner,” he or she is presumed to be using that device.

Defending Against a Cell Phone Ticket in NYC

The law does allow drivers to use a mobile phone for the sole purpose of communicating an emergency situation to any of the following:

  • 911
  • Any emergency response operator
  • A police or fire department
  • A hospital, doctor’s office, or clinic
  • An ambulance company or dispatcher

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, including the following:

  • What constitutes “use” of a cell phone? Is it only speaking, or is it simply looking at your phone?
  • How certain is the officer that he or she actually witnessed you using your mobile device on a public road?
  • Were you engaged in the call while the vehicle was in motion?

To fight your ticket in court, you must first plead not guilty to the cell phone infraction you’ve been accused of.

You can submit a not guilty plea by entering it into the correct area of your ticket and mailing it to the Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB). You can also plead not guilty and schedule your court hearing online, or you can do this in person at the TVB office.

Once your hearing is scheduled, you must be prepared to fight your case in court. You will need to bring evidence with you to prove your case. What kinds of evidence will you need?

  • Witness statements from passengers or others who can tell your side of the story.
  • Diagrams of the incident scene (e.g., a layout showing that the officer couldn’t possibly have had a good view of you inside the vehicle, meaning you could have been holding anything in your hand—not just a cell phone).
  • Photo or video evidence that supports your version of events.

Contact a Cell Phone Ticket Attorney in NYC

Remember—you are innocent until you either admit guilt or a court of law finds you guilty of this or any other moving violation. Don’t try to defend against a cell phone ticket alone. Attorney James Medows can help.

Lawyer up, and take advantage of my experience and determination. Call or text the Law Office of James Medows at 917-856-1247. My cell phone is my business line. I’ll do my best to help you when you need me.

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