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.
The 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.
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Note: New York increased the penalties for cell phone tickets to 5 points as of 6/2013.