Cell Phone Tickets, General
Written By: Benjamin Goldman, Esq.
While most people know (or should know) that you cannot text and drive, the parameters of what you can and cannot do on your phone are not well understood. With a range of cell phone accessories on the market, such as windshield holders and car Bluetooth, drivers may think they are complying with the law when they are actually not. The rules also vary from state to state. New York State is considered one of the most serious cell phone rule states. Law enforcement in New York State also rigidly enforce cell phone laws and issue cell phone tickets.
The New York State legislature takes cell phone violations while driving very seriously. It is one of the highest point tickets available, with an automatic 5 points being issued after conviction. There are thousands of speeding tickets given every day that can result in lower points than a first-time cell phone ticket.
The nature of the statute is incredibly expansive. In addition, once it has been established that a motorist was simply holding their electronic device, the statute imposes the burden on a defendant to prove they were not using their phone. This actually means that you will be presumed guilty and will have to prove yourself innocent. It’s a concept that is understandably unfamiliar to American citizens. It also leads to notoriously tough tickets to beat because it is hard to prove a negative. Bringing your cell phone bill to court to prove you were not on a phone call at the time the ticket was issued is almost meaningless. Everyone, including the judge, knows that the majority of phone usage is not an actual phone conversation.
For this reason, you should never be caught holding your phone – even if it is to quickly change a song, check driving instructions, or hold it up for a call. You should definitely never be caught committing more time-consuming tasks like texting or taking pictures. What has been found permissible under this statute are the following very limited circumstances: emergency calls and using windshield mounts. If you are an authorized EMT and are working on an emergency response in your official capacity, you can also assert that as a defense.
In the event that you have received a cell phone ticket, do not plead guilty. Pleading guilty will do nothing to help and get you, as mentioned above, an automatic 5 points and hundreds of dollars in fines. Contact an attorney today that knows how to handle these tickets and preserve your rights.