If you are like most people, then chances are good that you have your cell phone with you 24/7. It's a fantastic way to stay in touch with friends, family and even the office. Your cell phone also is extremely convenient in case of an emergency.
Cell phone use has become so common and prevalent that people think nothing of talking or texting while they are behind the wheel. At one time, this practice was legal, but that's not the case anymore.
Today, cell phone tickets in New York are incredibly common. Don't be embarrassed if you got caught texting and driving. Deal with the situation head-on by contacting a cell phone ticket attorney in New York.
Having a legal professional defend your case is more affordable than you think, especially when you consider the consequences of pleading guilty.
Before you plead guilty, pay a fine and deal with having points added to your driving record, consult with an attorney. It may be possible to have the charges against you reduced or dropped.
How Much Does a Cell Phone Ticket Cost in NY?
Getting a ticket for texting or talking on the phone while driving can be upsetting. However, it's nothing compared to the continued fallout from that single incident.
When calculating how much is a ticket for texting and driving, the most obvious cost is the fine associated with the citation. State law dictates that a person who is convicted of a first offense is fined between $50 and $150.
If that same person receives a second similar citation within 18 months of the first infraction, they may be fined between $50 and $200. A third offense during that same time period may result in a fine of no less than $50 and no more than $400.
Surcharges for Texting or Calling While Driving
Don't forget that any driver who's convicted of this infraction also is subject to a surcharge of $88 or $93. Accordingly, you must account for this extra cost when you're considering whether or not you should simply plead guilty.
Many of the citations that are written by the police result in points being added to the driver's record. The number of points added increases with the seriousness of the infraction.
Because officials consider talking on the phone or texting while driving to be a particularly serious offense, each guilty plea will add five points to the driver's record. This is one of the highest point values that is assessed for a single driving infraction.
If you already have points on your record or if you are looking at a second or third offense for cell phone use while driving, then having another five points added to your record could be devastating.
Keep in mind that each texting and driving conviction that you receive adds another five points to your record. If this happens two or more times during an 18-month period, then you may even be facing the suspension or revocation of your driving privileges.
Can you afford to not get behind the wheel for the next several months or longer? If not, then it's imperative that you work with a qualified attorney to see if the charges against you may be reduced or dropped.
The Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee
Any driver who accrues six or more points within a single 18-month period also is subject to the Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee, which also may be called the DRA.
Consider that a conviction for cell phone use while driving adds five points to your record. If you have a speeding or other ticket on your record from six months ago, then you are now eligible for the DRA.
This is a particularly expensive penalty. It costs a flat fee of $300. Added to this is a $75 charge for each point in excess of six.
Your Insurance Rates Will Increase
The law requires that all drivers carry insurance. Periodically, insurance carriers run a check on their clients' driving histories. When a new conviction appears, it usually results in being assessed higher insurance premiums.
Because convictions for using a cell phone while driving are considered serious, they can result in a sizable increase in insurance rates. Studies suggest that some drivers have seen their premiums rise by as much as 20 percent after being convicted of driving while texting.
Keep in mind that you'll have to keep paying those higher rates, possibly for years, until that ticket falls off of your record. This means that this isn't a one-time expense but rather an ongoing cost that may affect your day-to-day living expenses.
Hire a Traffic Ticket Lawyer to Help
You have options when it comes to fighting a NY cell phone ticket. The first of these is the DIY approach.
If you go this route, you'll plead "not guilty" on the ticket, and the court will set a trial date. You personally appear before the judge with the hope that you can present evidence that will lead the judge to find you not guilty.
This is an incredibly risky proposition. Any ambiguous facts are likely to be found in favor of the officer who wrote the ticket. Plus, too many people say the wrong thing and end up incriminating themselves.
Another approach to fighting a traffic ticket is to have a trial set and then hope that the officer doesn't appear. Drivers mistakenly believe that this will cause the judge to dismiss the case. However, the judge is far more likely to simply reschedule the trial. This means that you're probably just postponing the inevitable conviction.
Other drivers try to file a motion to dismiss. These are highly technical documents that rely on the presence of missing or erroneous information in the ticket. Proving the grounds for a motion to dismiss is virtually impossible for the average person who isn't intimately familiar with the relevant laws.
This leaves you with your last and best option: Hiring an attorney. In many cases, it is possible for a skilled NY traffic ticket lawyer to negotiate with the court to have the charges against you reduced. This means paying a smaller fine, facing fewer points and maintaining the cost of your car insurance.
Legal representation is more affordable than you think, and considering how severe the penalties can be for a conviction on cell phone use while driving, it's wise to save yourself a lot of time, money and trouble by working with an attorney.
New York Texting & Cell Phone Tickets Facts
The most recent year for which data is available on traffic tickets in New York is 2018. In that year, some 197,593 tickets were written throughout the state for violations of the law against using electronic devices while driving.
That number represents 5.5-percent of all tickets written statewide in that year. Most of these tickets were issued in New York City, which has particularly strict ordinances against the use of cell phones and other devices while behind the wheel. Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Westchester rounded out the top five for the year.
Since most of these tickets were issued in NYC, it follows that the NYPD would be responsible for writing 57-percent of cell phone tickets and 67-percent of device use tickets in that year.
State troopers, on the other hand, wrote just 16-percent of device-use tickets and 18-percent of cell phone tickets in the same year.