Cell Phone Ticket in New York

by Adam Rosenblum

Have a question about your cellphone ticket? Post a comment at the bottom of this page and we will get back to you as soon as we can. For a free consultation with our attorneys call us at 888-883-5529 .

How to Fight a Cell Phone Ticket in New York

One of the most common questions we get is how to fight a New York cell phone ticket. This is a multi-faceted answer that depends on the circumstances of your case. There are two basic ways to handle a New York cell phone ticket: at trial, or via a plea bargain settlement. In general, if a cell phone ticket can be negotiated down to a 0-point parking ticket, we would advise our client to take it. Though a fine of up to $150 will be assessed, it is a small price to pay to prevent points from accruing on the person’s driving record.

How to Beat a Cell Phone Ticket in New York

There are a few ways you can beat a New York cell phone ticket: Taking the ticket to trial and being found “not guilty” by the judge via a motion to dismiss (if there are certain errors that make the ticket legally defective or insufficient, for example) If you schedule it for trial and the officer doesn’t show and the judge decides to dismiss the case for lack of prosecution.

ebookThe first way can be a real long shot because if the facts are in dispute and especially if it’s your word against the officer’s word, most of the time the judge will accept the officer’s word over yours (after all, you are a little biased, aren’t you?).

The second way can be very effective, but only under the right circumstances (after all, most tickets are accurately written or contain minor defects that don’t render the ticket invalid).

The third way is a long shot because even if the officer fails to show, the judge can, and most likely will, reschedule the trial. Contrary to popular belief, there is no rule, law, or policy that requires a judge to dismiss a ticket simply because the officer fails to show up for trial. A judge is free to reschedule the trial at will. These reasons serve to reinforce our general belief that if a reduction to a 0-point offense can be negotiated, that is the best option.

New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1225-c and 1225-d

New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) contains two distinct laws related to use of portable electronic devices while driving:

  • VTL 1225-c Use of Mobile Telephone
  • VTL 1225-d Use of Portable Electronic Devices (includes texting while driving)

Remember, a VTL 1225(c) ticket is entirely different than a VTL 1225(d) ticket. 1225(c) is a cell phone ticket (“c” for cell) while 1225(d) is an electronic device ticket (“d” for device).

If you received a 1225(c) ticket, the officer is alleging that you were actually engaged in a call at the time he observed you. For 1225(d) tickets, it is irrelevant whether you were engaged in a call or not. If you were texting or using an app, you can be given a 1225(d) ticket.

What many people don’t realize is that a 1225(d) ticket can also be given for devices other than phones. A GPS, MP3 player, camera, or other hand-held electronic device also counts under the 1225(d) law.

New York State Resident With a Cell Phone Conviction in New York

If you hold a New York State driver’s license and were to be convicted of driving while using a cell phone or texting while driving, NY DMV will add 5 points to your driver’s license. As you already know, points on your license can lead to increased auto insurance and ultimately to a license suspension if you accrue 11 points within 18 months. What you may not know is that you can fight your cell phone ticket – and beat it, or get it reduced.

Out-Of-State Resident With a Cell Phone Conviction in New York

Even if you do not live in New York State, New York will create a driving record based on your name, date of birth, and mailing address and points for violations that you have been convicted of in New York will add up. If you get 11 points in New York State within 18 months, you will lose your right to drive in New York State regardless of whether you hold a New York license or a driver’s license from another state. Not only that, chances are a cell phone ticket conviction in New York will appear on your home state’s driver’s license. If your home state assesses points like New York does, points will accrue and you can be looking at an auto insurance hike and a license suspension if you accrue enough points. Click here for more information regarding out-of-state residents.

Traffic Violations Defense

For a free consultation about experienced and vigorous defense of your New York cell phone ticket or any other traffic violation, call 1-888-883-5529, or contact us to tell us about your case.
We can produce results. But don’t take our word for it. See our reviews from our past clients.
Note: New York increased the penalties for cell phone tickets to 5 points as of 6/2013.

275 thoughts on “Cell Phone Ticket in New York

  1. Hi, my son got a cell phone ticket for looking down at possibly a cell phone the officer said.
    The phone was in his pocket. I have his phone records, no calls or texts. he got a 1225(d). the officer even explained to him how to reduce it. We want 0 points out of this since he did
    absolutely nothing wrong. Will we need a lawyer for this? It is zip code 13417 new York mills ny near utica

    mark morrelae on
    • As 1225(d) tickets are alleging improper use of an electronic device, the proof you have obtained may not be sufficient. There are many ‘uses’ of a cell phone that do not produce documented records. However, this matter can nevertheless be contested or negotiated.

      RLF Attorneys on
  2. Hello,

    I received 3 tickets during a traffic stop in January 9in Malverne: censed operator, and inadequate lights (headlight out). Because the officer was particularly rude and nasty to me, I met with the village deputy mayor and the Chief of police on the matter, after which they reviewed the officer’s body/dash cam footage- of course, they claim he wasn’t rude, etc. However, the footage evidently reveals that 1. phone is in my hand, resting near the steering wheel but you cant tell if its being “used” (I was NOT on a call, and I have pulled my AT and T record for that day/month and calls, textor data usage appears). I actually have a dock- the phone was in my hand because IT SLIPPED OUT AND I CAUGH IT (which isn’t on the video). 2. The officer looked up my license in his car, but couldn’t find the code for failure to exhibit documents, so he just put the unlicensed operator in despite pulling up my valid license on his computer while I waited. Finally, the officer filled out the ticket indicating that I must appear in court for the headlight but not the other 2 violations, and according to my cursory search, the cell violation and the unlicensed operator both require appearance. The officer gave me no instructions verbally when he handed me the paperwork and walked away. I a have a prior cell violation still active on my record and I am in my final year of the driver responsibility fee, due in November. Ive mailed in my NG plea and I am scheduld June 24 in village court for the conference (I’ve postponed this twice). Please tell me where I stand? Thank you.

    Janet Garlick on
    • In order to provide a detailed answer to your question, please contact us for a free consultation. I would like to clarify the specific charges alleged against you.

      RLF Attorneys on
  3. Hi,

    This past Jan I was pulled over in Oysterbay, NY while driving to work. I noticed the cop behind but didn’t think any of it until he pulled me over and asked if i know why and of course i said no i did know. he stated that it was because i was texting while driving and i was not. nor did i have my phone in my hand. I am in the Military so my driver license is in texas and my car registration is in PA. How can i plead not guilty and win if his only argument was that he “observed me looking down” which he did not state to me at all or imply how he figured i was texting and driving. i already made the initial court appearance and plead not guilty. and just got my second summons. how can i fight this to prove my innocence when in fact i was not driving and texting. i know more over that its his word against mine and his will win. i need help.

    cassandra plaza on
    • Cassaandra – you may contact us for a free consultation to discuss potential strategies to win your case. The burden of proof is on the police officer here – they must prove that you were violating the statute. Proper cross examination can result in the dismissal of the charges against you.

      RLF Attorneys on
  4. Just got a ticket in queens, NY I understand that is a TVB court and hard to defend I guess the most we can do is to delay court appearance How much would you charge to defend?. My phone record shows a missed call right before he wrote the ticket I can argue I did not use the phone

    John Sanatore on
  5. today as i was driving through NY i got pulled over for using my cell phone as a gps while i had headphones making it a hands free device. i showed the officer my latest texts and phone calls and he still proceeded to give me the cell phone tickets i am a resident in NJ and i already have 6 points on my license as an 18yr old should i plea not guilty on the court date to get the points deducted.

    Nathaniel Messano on
    • Nathaniel – while you should plead not guilty, the strategy utilized will depend on which court is handling your case. Additionally, points may not transfer to NJ for this violation.

      RLF Attorneys on
  6. I was driving a commercial vehicle en route to my next stop, when my work phone alerted my battery was low. It is company policy that the phone being on all times while driving. So, the charger was in the outlet, but there is also a case that the work phone goes in to be plugged into the charger, so the phone can charge. The case for the phone was in the middle console and I took it out and was holding the case in my hand. I was about 5-10 minutes for my next stop and was going to charge my phone at my next stop. At no point did I pick up the phone, only had the case for phone in my hand. It was
    raining really hard that day. So, i was ticketed for being in violation of 1225d. I am going to plead not guilty and fight this in court. I currently have a squeaky clean drivers license and hope to get this ticket dismissed. any comments would help

    Chris on
    • Chris, while we would be happy to help you – we need to know where this violation occurred. There are 2 court ssystems in NY, each having markedly different procedures for handling cell phone violations.

      RLF Attorneys on
  7. I received a 1225d ticket in the Bronx. I wasn’t texting g or using any apps. I moved my cell phone from the console to my cup holder. The officer saw it in my hand.
    My husband thinks I should just plead guilty and pay fine. I think I should plead not guilty . Is it automatic points if you send it in guilty? What are my chances of fighting this ticket if I go to trial? Thanks

    Siobhan on
    • 5 points will be assessed against your license if you plead guilty. Contesting this ticket will require a trial – as there is no plea bargaining system in this jurisdiction.

      RLF Attorneys on
  8. Hi! I received a ticket in Suffren area (Montebello Court) for a 1225D ticket – I was using my cell phone for GPS navigation and it had fallen off the mounting device so I was putting it back in. Additionally, the ticket was written with the wrong address, wrong car, and said my car was registered in the wrong state (NY not PA). Any advice on fighting it?

    Kathryn on
    • Kathryn – general clerical deficiencies will not typically result in the dismissal of a ticket. However, if the officer is unable to prove that you were using your phone in a manner prescribed by the statute, then the case against you will be dismissed. If you would like to discuss further strategies, you may reach us at 888-883-5529 for a free consultation.

      RLF Attorneys on
  9. I’m from PA and was coming home through NY. I was unaware of the cell phone law as we do not have this law in PA. I know ignorance is not a defense and PA laws mean nothing in N.Y. It’s a 6 hr drive from home so a court hearing is not feasible (missed work, tolls, gas, etc…) I’m just curious as to what amount do you think this will add up to? Do points go on my PA license? And why do you have to plead guilty ion order to find the amount of the fine? My PA license is clean. Thank you.

    Mike on
    • Mike – the penalty for a cell phone violation is approximately $293.00, along with 5 points against your NY driving record. While points may not transfer to PA, the violation will – thus potentially increasing insurance rates.

      RLF Attorneys on
  10. handheld device ticket while stopped in traffic on the long island expressway. i called and left my contact info as well. first ever offense for anything at 36.

    James LaManna on
    • This is a 5 point violation which can cause a spike in your insurance rates, even for a first offense. We will contact you for a consultation to discuss your options and how we can help you fight the ticket.

      RLF Attorneys on
    • In New York, you can be issued a cell phone ticket for “holding your electronic device” while driving. This is a 5 point violation which carries a $138 fine. Contact us at 888-883-5529 for a consultation to discuss your options.

      RLF Attorneys on
  11. I entered an address into my phone for GPS while stopped at a red light and was putting it back in the holder. The officer said he saw the phone in my hand. I explained what i was doing. I received a ticket for 1225D. I graduated college in 6 weeks and have a great job lined up where i need a clean license to be hired. what’s the best way to fight this? thank you

    Midge on
    • This is a 5 point violation which can cause a significant insurance hike. Depending on which court is handling your ticket, you may be able to get the penalties reduced or dismissed entirely. An experienced traffic ticket attorney can help you obtain the best result on your case.

      RLF Attorneys on
  12. Kevin ,I just recieved a 1225c2a …. the officer stated he witnessed the device in my hand … not near my mouth or ear ….. I explained my dash lights malfunction and I was using the flashlight for the guages…. is this the wrong ticket ?

    Kevin on
    • Kevin – from the information you have provided, it appears that the violation more appropriate for this situation is VTL 1225(d) – improper use of an electronic portable device.

      RLF Attorneys on
  13. My 16 yr old son rear ended someone when he took his eyes off the road for a second and looked over at his cell phone that was on the passenger seat next to him. The girl he rear ended told the officer he was on his cell phone (it was dark and she initially said she never saw him coming) and my son told the officer he glanced over at the seat with his phone on it (without a parent present). He was issued a ticket for Operating a MV while using a portable electronic device (1225D). The DA offered to plea it down to a 2 point moving violation. Should we take the plea or fight it at trial?

    Aimee D on
  14. I was not on a call or texting but was in the process of shutting it off and received a ticket.
    The officer said he realized I was not texting or making a call and wrote the ticket with the working ” operating a vehicle while holding a phone” with the code 1225-D1
    what is the difference between 1225-D and 1225-D1 ?
    What is the $ for this violation and are there points for this violation ?

    Alphonse DiAmbrosio on
    • You are facing a 5 point ticket for using an electronic portable device while operating a motor vehicle. The distinction truly arises between 1225(c) – talking on a phone, and 1225(d) – using a device.

      RLF Attorneys on
  15. i just received a ticket this am for violation of 1225c2a. the ticket which is a computer printout clearly states the time of infraction was 5:56 AM. the infraction actually occurred at 8:30AM. is this enough of a mistake it legally insufficient? or to cross the officer and get him to admit parts of the ticket wrong especially if his tour didn’t start till after 6AM?(im not sure when his tour started just guessing)

    brian on
    • While this is a valid argument to bring up while contesting your ticket, the ultimate decision will rest with the judge. Please remember that generally speaking, clerical errors are not sufficient to lead to the dismissal of a ticket.

      RLF Attorneys on
  16. Hi I was using the GPS function on my phone when the police officer observed me and issued a 1225D, in his report he stated that I was holding the phone with my right hand, now that is kind of true but the phone was actually attached to my dashboard through a mounting device and I was just stabilizing the GPS, am I exempt from this law because the phone was technically mounted? Court is riverhead ny town court

    Jack on
    • Using a phone while operating a vehicle is a 5 point ticket – which is what you are charged with here. I strongly suggest you contest this ticket, to avoid the fines and / or mitigate the increased insurance rates.

      RLF Attorneys on
  17. Greetings I recently I ticket VTL 1225D this month of February for putting my phone on my gps stand, after reading this does gives my 5 points on my license. How can I beat this ticket ? and how can I importantly get the points of my license if I do not win the case ? Is it still possible to get it removed

    Alfred on
    • Alfred – In order to provide information regarding this 5 point violation, please advise as to the location of the incident. There are 2 court systems in NY that handle cases markedly different.

      RLF Attorneys on
  18. If you get a ticket for cell phone and its a first time do you still have to go to court. Can you just pay the ticket and not have to go to court

    hope on
    • While you typically can plead guilty via mail, we suggest contesting the ticket, as it does carry 5 points onto your NY license, as well as a fine of $243 and additional fees. You can reach us at 888-883-5529 .

      RLF Attorneys on
  19. I was stopped today and received a ticket for being on my cell phone. The kicker is I was on my bluetooth I just had the phone in my hand. I use not using my phone.

    Tracy McManmon on
  20. I was holding a phone, but was NOT using it, and Officer did not dispute that when I said so. Gave me a V225d, which is not legible in the “description/Narrative” box. Also, officer did not print his name and rank. Is this worth fighting?

    Leah on
    • In order to provide an accurate answer, we need to know what court will be handling your case, as the procedure varies greatly.

      RLF Attorneys on
  21. I received a 1225(c) the other day. I was in Brooklyn, calling my doc from a parking space (while the car was in park) on a side street to tell them I’d be late. I pulled out of the space as I was finishing the call, and a cop was right there at the corner. The car was in motion for less than ten seconds before the phone was down, and I was pulled over for those ten seconds. I want to appeal, but not sure how.

    Sara on
    • The question is whether your car was in operation while you were engaged in a call. How llong you were on the phone unfortunately does not play a part here. You may none-the-less contest this ticket. You may contact us for a free consultation at 888-883-5529 .

      RLF Attorneys on
  22. I recently received an Improper Cell Phone ticket in Brooklyn. I just moved from Massachusetts, where it is legal to be on the phone, and had no idea it was illegal in NYC.

    Moreover, my boss knew I was driving and called me, which he never does. I picked up the phone for 3 seconds thinking it was an emergency of some sorts. It’s my first offense and I really can’t afford to have the points on my license because it would hurt my job. Do you think these reasons are strong enough to fight the ticket?

    Scott on
    • Scott – Unfortunatley, ‘ignorance of the law’ is not an excuse for a cell phone violation. Additionaly, the emergency exception is narrowly tailored, and does not include phone calls from your employer. Notwithstanding this information, it is still possible to contest your ticket.

      RLF Attorneys on
  23. I have a 1225-d ticket. The cop said there’s. No jnsurance points does that mean no liacense points. If there are points how do I fight it

    Keith on
    • Unfortunately, a ticket for this violation will add 5 points to your driving license, and will substantially increase your insurance rates. In order to provide further information, we need to know which court is handling this case, and where you are licensed to drive.

      RLF Attorneys on
  24. i got a cell phone ticket along time ago.i need to know how to fix this .i dont have the ticket number.can you help

  25. I was ticketed in Queens with a 1225(c) Use of Cell phone. I answered my cell phone and put the phone on speaker and placed it on the console while stopped at a red light. After driving for a bit the officer pulled me over. The charge is use of a cell phone while Vehicle in motion but I was not moving when I answered it. I am totally confused because I have not ever done this before. I am a professional bus driver and can not afford to have points on my license.

    Eugena Holman on
    • The argument you present here is an interesting one. While your vehicle was not in ‘motion’ as per the precise language of the statute, courts generally rule that a vehicle is considered in motion if it is in the flow of traffic. You may contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case in further detail. You may reach us at 888-883-5529 .

      RLF Attorneys on
  26. Hi,I was in interview in Utica,NY and in the way to the airport I had my Phone on GPS and I was taking a u-turn.The officer gave me tickets one is using a portable device which I showed him no records of calls and the other he considered my turn is moving from lane unsafely.I want to plead unguilty but he gave me a supporting deposition for both.please advice,I am from CA and can’t get back to NY for court either.thanks

    Joseph on
    • In order to provide further information, please contact me at 888-883-5529 . There are two types of cell phone violations, and the strategy of handling them differs based on the violation type.

      RLF Attorneys on
  27. I got a ticket tonight and the ticket says “improper use of cell phone”
    What does that actually mean. I did admit to the officer I was talking on speaker phone
    which he said is not allowed in nyc…only hands free
    which I was not. I had one hand on phone and other on wheel.
    Should I just pay the ticket..it is $138

    Scott on
    • Scott – in order to provide further information – please advise us which court is handling your case, as the procedures vary greatly. Generally speaking, you are facing a 5 point ticket that carries substantial fines and penalties. I strongly suggest you contest this ticket to avoid these consequences.

      RLF Attorneys on
  28. Adam, I received a VTL 1225D a few days ago. I will admit I was texting but I was stopped at a stop sign while I was texting and had even checked around me before I started to make sure I wasn’t holding up traffic. This if my first offense of this kind and do not have any points on my license. It took place in Orange county. Can I plead bargain and maybe not get any of the points and just pay a fine?

    Derek B. on
    • Derek – Unfortunately, even if you are stopped at a stop sign, an officer can still issue you the ticket because you are still considered to be operating a motor vehicle. However, this is a ticket which carries 5 points and can cause a major spike in your insurance rates. By pleading not guilty, you will have the option to get this ticket reduced.

      RLF Attorneys on

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