Cell Phone Penalties Increased

Cell Phone Tickets

Use of a mobile phone or portable electronic device has become a pretty serious offense in New York State.  A violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1225(c) or 1225(d) will carry a fine of between $50 and $150 (plus the mandatory state surcharge of $85), and five points will be assessed to your driving record.  If you are convicted a second or third time in 18 months, you could face a fine of up to $400.00.

The fine is nothing compared with the points.  Five points on your license doesn’t leave much room for error, since motorists face a driver responsibility assessment if assessed six or more points in an 18 month span.   That assessment of $300 is applied even if your license is from another state, and failure to pay it will result in suspension of your driving privileges.   If you accrue 8 or more points, you may face a suspension or revocation hearing and lose your privileges on that basis as well.

As for your insurance premium, time will tell how companies will deal with a five point violation, but most industry experts agree that a single point can result in an increase of as much as 30 percent while posted on your license. Although New York only posts points to a motorist’s record for 18 months, if your coverage period overlaps, your premium could be affected for three years.

A point reduction (or safe driving) course will help, but only after you are convicted, meaning after you pay your fine and surcharge, and some states will not allow you to use a point reduction course to remove points accrued out of state.

Everyone would agree that writing a text while driving is dangerous but the law is not limited to texts.  Any use of a phone or an electronic device that is capable of messaging or internet access is an infraction, and use is defined as merely holding the device in your hand.  By definition, if you pick up your phone to dial, even with a hands free system for sound, you’ve broken the law.

If you have been charged with one of these violations, it is crucial to protect your rights.  The best way to do that is to hire an experienced, reputable attorney that can work to get the charge reduced.  Please contact us for a free consultation.  We handle matters across Western New York.