When it comes to convenience, nothing really beats a cell phone. Everything important in your life is literally in the palm of your hand: family, friends, work, entertainment, and more. While you can access these things at will, you should refrain from ever doing so while driving in the state of New York.
Like many other states, New York broadly prohibits the use of a cell phone or portable electronic device while driving.
Specifically, the following activities are prohibited while driving in New York:
- Talking on a handheld device
- Writing or reading text messages and emails on a mobile device
- Viewing images or webpages on a mobile device
- Playing games or watching videos on a mobile device
An important exception: It is not a violation to drive while talking on the phone with a 911 dispatcher or emergency responder about an emergency.
What Are the Consequences of Violating New York’s Cell Phone Laws?
If you get pulled over for a reason similar to those listed above, you may be issued a traffic ticket and subject to a fine and surcharge.
If you are fined, you can expect to owe an amount dependent upon your previous offenses:
- First offenses can result in a fine of up to $200
- Second offenses within 18 months of the first can result in a fine of up to $250
- Third or subsequence offenses within 18 months of any prior offense can result in a fine of up to $450
If the device used during the violation was a cell phone, an additional surcharge of up to $93 can be issued depending upon where the traffic violation occurred. In addition to the base fine and surcharge, you will probably also have to pay court fees whether or not you contest the violation.
How a Cell Phone Ticket in New York Can Affect Your Driving Record
In addition to fines and fees, drivers ticketed just once for using a cell phone or portable electronic device will incur five points against their driving record.
In New York, getting 11 points on your driving record within 18 months can result in a suspension of your license. This means that just two cell phone violations – plus any other moving violation – is enough to lose your license.
You can prevent a license suspension or accruing points against your record by taking a DMV-approved Point and Insurance Reduction Program course after your violation – or avoid getting a violation in the first place by leaving your phone undisturbed while driving.
Get Legal Assistance Today!
At Stites Law, we can help you fight your traffic ticket if you were cited for using a cell phone while driving. We know that sometimes perfectly lawful behavior can be misinterpreted by a police officer as fiddling with a cell phone or fumbling with an electronic device. If you believe you were improperly ticketed and need help fighting against fines and points on your driving records, reach out to us today for a free initial consultation.