In New York, using your cellphone while driving can be considered distracted driving, a violation that can carry serious long-term consequences. Keep reading to understand New York’s distracted driving laws and what to do if you are accused of distracted driving. Beyond just distracted driving penalties, if you injure or kill someone while illegally using your phone and driving, your charges can escalate quickly. Without help from a criminal defense attorney, your offenses could cost you your future.
New York Law
Under New York law you cannot use a hand-held mobile telephone or portable electronic device while you drive. Illegal activity includes
- talking on a handheld mobile telephone
- composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving electronic data such as e-mail, text messages, or webpages
- viewing, taking, or transmitting images
- playing games
- accessing social media sites, posting to social media, or reading social media posts.
If you use a portable electronic device while you drive (except to call 911 or to contact medical, fire or police personnel about an emergency), you can receive a traffic ticket and be subject to a fine and a surcharge.
Conviction of a cell phone use, portable electronic device use, or a texting violation will also result in points being added to your DMV driving record. If you receive 11 points in an 18 month period, your driver’s license may be suspended, according to New York State DMV.
New York law defines a handheld device as a cell phone, personal digital assistant (PDA), laptop, pager, video game console, or any other portable computing or communications device, according to I Drive Safely.
Penalties for Breaking Distracted Driving Laws in New York
Violations for using a handheld device illegally while driving carry a $50 to $200 fine for a first offense, a $50 to $250 fine for a second offense within 18 months, and a $50 to $450 fine for a third or subsequent offense within 18 months. A cellphone ticket will also add five points to the motorist’s driving record.
Depending on the circumstances, these violations could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if the texting-while-driving offense leads to the death of another person, homicide-by-vehicle charges are another possibility.
And these base fines can increase if you are charged with other violations.
What if You Cause an Accident While On Your Phone?
If you kill or injure someone because you were using a handheld device illegally, you could face much higher fines, years of jail time, and years of license suspension. Distracted driving can result in far worse penalties than even high fines or prolonged jail time. You could have to live the rest of your life knowing you killed or seriously injured someone because of a text or social media post.
Even if you are innocent, or believe you are innocent, don’t assume that the courts will believe your story. Get help from a criminal defense attorney before telling your story to law enforcement! And if you know you are at fault, don’t give up!
Texting while driving is a serious offense and can even result in criminal misdemeanor charges. If you are texting while driving and you kill someone, you can expect to be charged with vehicular homicide or manslaughter with an aggravating factor, says StackExchange. You should contact a criminal defense lawyer if you are involved in a charge of texting while driving. It is especially important to seek advice from a lawyer if the offense resulted in great injury or the death of another driver. Also, if the charge is a second or repeat offense, you should obtain legal representation as the punishment will be more severe than first-time charges, according to LegalMatch.
Your Rights If You Are Accused of Crimes or Traffic Violations
Are you facing charges of vehicular homicide or manslaughter in White Plains, New York? It could be that you are totally innocent but need help telling your side of the story. Or, maybe you are at fault but need help evaluating and utilizing the defenses available to you. Remember that injuring or killing someone as a distracted driver is a serious offense in New York. Your future could be at stake! You could be facing years (even decades) or jail time, enormous fines, and long-term loss of driving privileges. But remember, you have the right to experienced legal assistance! If you are accused of distracted driving, vehicular homicide, or manslaughter, there are defenses available to you. Don’t waste time getting help from the aggressive criminal defense attorney you need! Contact Darren DeUrso at 914.772.8614 or online.
188 East Post Road, Suite 300
White Plains, NY 10601