How to Beat a Cell Phone Ticket in NY

Man using a smartphone while driving a car


New York has some of the strictest cell phone use driving laws in the nation. It seems that even thinking about your phone is illegal, especially in NYC under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero Initiative. Cops are constantly on the lookout for any driver who is texting or talking on their phone without a hands-free device, and the penalties are severe.

Being ticketed for cell phone use in New York can cost you up to $200 and 5 points on your license — a big hit when it comes to insurance payments. Sure, texting or talking while driving is dangerous. But these penalties can be overwhelming for many people. Here are just a few ways to fight — and beat — a cell phone ticket in NY.

1. Go to Court

As with any kind of charge against you, you are free to take your case to court. However, doing so does carry its risks. Most of the time, there is no video evidence that you were ever on your phone while driving. Often, the judge will hear your testimony, then the officer’s. Naturally, these will be differing accounts, and the judge will more often than not side with the officer.

There is a common tactic to schedule the trial, then hope the officer doesn’t show up. If they don’t, the theory is that the case is thrown out, since there are no witnesses. While this sometimes work, judges also have the option to just reschedule the case over and over until the cop can show up. As such, you could have to take multiple days off of work, and even then, you may still be found guilty.

2. Have the Case Thrown Out

While waiting for the cop to not show up to court isn’t exactly the best way to have your case thrown out, there are other ways to have your ticket dismissed. If the officer makes a major error on the original ticket, it may be grounds to have the case dismissed. A common issue is jurisdiction. If you received a ticket in Orange County from a Putnam County officer, for example, the just may see it as illegitimate.

However, you must have a solid reason to get your case dismissed. A clerical error, such writing down the license plate number wrong, likely isn’t going to persuade any judge. If you are not experienced in traffic court and laws, your best bet is to consult with an attorney who is. They can examine the case and determine whether there are any fatal flaws.

3. Have the Charge Reduced

Clearly, it is difficult to completely defeat a cell phone ticket. As such, your best bet is to have the charges reduced. A traffic ticket attorney can work with the prosecutor to have the ticket reduced to a non-moving violation. Though you will still have to pay a fine, it will be a smaller amount. In addition, you will get fewer points on your license — if any at all.

Regardless of the circumstances of your citation, you need to consult with an attorney to make sure you are making the best choices for your case. If you’ve been issued a cell phone ticket in New York, contact the attorneys at Feifer & Greenberg today for a free consultation.