CELL PHONE Tickets FAQs
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New York City has a population of more than eight million people. The entire state’s population is 19 million people. That’s a lot of drivers and in the case of NYC and some of the other more heavily populated cities it’s often a lot of drivers in a relatively small area. Add to this more technology and reliance on smartphones and It’s easy to see the potential dangers of distracted driving and why distracted driving laws and enforcement have both increased over the years.
Texting while driving causes 1.6 million accidents each year, according to the National Safety Council. It’s estimated that 25% (or 1.4 million) of all accidents are caused by cell phone use.
At Feifer & Greenberg, we understand the different types of distracted driving violations as well as well as the different ways various courts handle cell phone and texting tickets. Feel free to call us anytime to speak with a New York cell phone ticket lawyer and learn more about your case.
IS A CELL PHONE TICKET A MOVING VIOLATION IN NY?
There are two categories of cell phone tickets in NY. The first is for the individual who is talking on the phone and the second covers “portable electronic devices” in general and includes texting and generally using your phone for other purposes like checking email, GPS, etc. These tickets are most certainly considered “moving violations” and can add points to a driving record as well as adversely affect automobile insurance rates.
CAN I EVER USE MY CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING IN NY?
While you may want to make a quick call or shoot a quick text letting family know you’re on your way or pull up your navigation app, there are limited times you are permitted to do so while operating a vehicle. You may use your device while you are stopped but note that this exception does not apply to commercial drivers. You may also use your device in certain emergency situations. If you must use your phone, be careful–it’s a potentially dangerous and costly mistake.
HOW MUCH IS A CELL PHONE TICKET IN NY?
If you are convicted of a cell phone ticket in New York, your fine may be as low as $50 but it can certainly be significantly more depending on your past driving history, the particular circumstances and where (which court) you are pulled over.
On top of any fines, NYS tickets will always have some surcharge added and if any driver accumulates 6 or more points a Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee (DRA) will be charged. The DRA starts at $300 for 6 points and $75 for each additional point over 6 will be added. DRA is paid directly to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and is separate from the ticket fine.
HOW MANY POINTS IS A CELL PHONE TICKET IN NY?
A cell phone ticket in New York is one of the only violations we can think of that has seen it’s point value rise on multiple occasions over the years. Tickets issued prior to February 16, 2011 had no points at all. Tickets issued between February 16, 2011 and October 4, 2011 carried 2 points. Tickets issued between October 5, 2011 and May 31, 2013 carried 3 points. All such tickets issued on or after June 1, 2013 carry the current value of 5 points. If a driver reaches 11 points on their license a suspension is possible so it’s pretty clear how big of a hit to a driving record a single cell phone ticket can be.
DOES A CELL PHONE TICKET GO ON YOUR RECORD?
Yes, all cell phone tickets or other moving violations become part of your driving record. Employers can see convictions and insurers can see convictions and of course if too many points are accumulated from these convictions (11 points in an18 month period is the rule of thumb) then that person may be subject to license suspension. The consequences of just a single ticket or two can in some cases be severe.
SHOULD I FIGHT A CELL PHONE TICKET?
If you were wrongfully given a ticket, then you should absolutely consider contesting your summons. Even if you felt you may have had a momentary lapse when the officer observed you driving, you still have the right to challenge the particulars of the case and make the People establish their case against you in court. Due to the potentially severe consequences, it’s always worth exploring your option. Feifer & Greenberg are experienced NY traffic ticket lawyers who focus on these types of cases and are always
willing to offer free consultations if people aren’t exactly sure what they are facing or what they may be able to do about it.
CAN I PAY A CELL PHONE TICKET ONLINE?
You’ll always have the option to just plead guilty if you decide that this is what you want to do. Courts like this–it’s less work and more money for them. Whether you can pay online or not depends on the court and the situation. Some courts have online payment as an option, some will accept by mail and some may require you to come in person if that’s their procedure or if a driving record isn’t a good one. We understand that some people won’t want to spend any time or lawyer fees fighting a ticket but we urge everyone to know exactly what they are pleading guilty to and what the consequences are before they decide to take such an action. At very least, it’s worth a phone call to a firm like ours.
HOW CAN I GET A CELL PHONE TICKET DISMISSED?
If you received your cell phone ticket in any of New York City’s five boroughs, plea bargains to negotiate your ticket down to a lesser charge are not allowed. At the NYC Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) there will be a hearing for a cell phone ticket that will end either guilty as charged or case dismissed. Of course our goal here would be to get the case dismissed.
A judge in a typical cell phone hearing/trial is looking for a few main points such as whether the car in question was in motion and whether the device was in the operator’s hand. There are also a number of smaller points and observations that must be made and established. There’s always a legitimate chance that a cell phone ticket will be dismissed after a hearing.
However, if you received your ticket anywhere else in New York, an experienced cell phone ticket lawyer may be able to reduce your cell phone ticket to a lesser charge, either one with fewer points or preferably a non-moving violation altogether like a parking ticket. This might be a better option than proceeding to a full trial in many courts.
Fighting a cell phone ticket in NYC is different from other locations in New York due to the regulations put in place by the Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB). Any tickets received within the five boroughs of NYC do not allow plea bargains, must provide clear and convincing evidence instead of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and allow hearsay as admissible evidence.
Cell phone tickets in NYC and all of NYS are a potentially serious moving violation that should be handled with some degree of care. Feifer & Greenberg’s experienced cell phone ticket lawyers in NY are here to evaluate your case for free right now. Call today at (888) 842 – 5384.