Texting While Driving

Talking or texting on cellular phones in hand while operating a motor vehicle are two of the types of activities more commonly associated with the activity known as “distracted driving.” As technology has dramatically increased the number of personal electronic devices from which people have come to find themselves inseparable, distracted driving has been blamed for numerous automobile accidents all over the nation.

New York State law makes it a primary offense for any driver to be holding a cellphone while talking or texting and while operating a motor vehicle. Police officers can pull you over if they see you committing one of these violations and issue a ticket that not only can result in steep fines, but also Driver Violation Points being added to your record and possibly leading to Driver Responsibility Assessment fees or even driver’s license suspensions.

Lawyer for Texting While Driving Tickets in Queens, NY

If you were recently cited in New York City for allegedly talking on your cell phone or texting while driving, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel. Law Office can determine whether any police error or other mitigating factors can be used to possibly get the charges reduced or dismissed.

Queens criminal defense attorney Rochelle S. Berliner aggressively defends individuals accused of all kinds of traffic violations in New York City, including Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, and many other nearby communities. You can have her review your case and answer all of your legal questions as soon as you call Law Office to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

New York Texting While Driving Information Center

Back to top

Texting While Driving Laws in New York City

Texting while driving and talking on a cell phone while driving are actually separate violations under New York State law. Talking on a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle is considered a use of mobile telephones in violation of New York Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1225-c, while texting while driving is classified as a use of portable electronic devices in violation of New York Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1225-d.

Under New York Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1225-c, a person is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile telephone to engage in a call while such vehicle is in motion. The term “using” is defined as:

  • holding a mobile telephone to, or in the immediate proximity of, the user's ear; and
  • with respect to a person operating a commercial motor vehicle, holding a mobile telephone to, or in the immediate proximity of, the user's ear, or dialing or answering a mobile telephone by pressing more than a single button, or reaching for a mobile telephone in a manner that requires such person to maneuver so that he or she is no longer in a seated driving position, restrained by a seat belt that is installed in accordance with the code of federal regulations and adjusted in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer's instructions.

An operator of any motor vehicle is presumed to be engaging in a call if he or she holds a mobile telephone to, or in the immediate proximity of, his or her ear while such vehicle is in motion. Such presumptions, however, are rebuttable by evidence tending to show that the operator was not engaged in a call.

New York Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1225-d establishes that no person shall operate a motor vehicle while using any portable electronic device while such vehicle is in motion. The term “using” for this statute means “holding a portable electronic device while viewing, taking or transmitting images, playing games, or, for the purpose of present or future communication: performing a command or request to access a world wide web page, composing, sending, reading, viewing, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving or retrieving e-mail, text messages, instant messages, or other electronic data.”

A portable electronic device is defined as any hand-held mobile telephone, personal digital assistant (PDA), handheld device with mobile data access, laptop computer, pager, broadband personal communication device, two-way messaging device, electronic game, or portable computing device, or any other electronic device when used to input, write, send, receive, or read text for present or future communication. A person who holds a portable electronic device in a conspicuous manner while operating a motor vehicle on a public highway is presumed to be using such device, although this presumption is rebuttable by evidence tending to show that the operator was not using the device within the meaning of this section.

Back to top

Texting While Driving Penalties in Queens

The possible punishments for violations of New York Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1225-c or New York Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1225-d increase with repeat violations. Violations are punishable as follows:

  • First offense —Minimum fine of $50 up to $150;
  • Second offense within 18 months — Minimum fine of $50 up to $200; or
  • Third or subsequent offense within 18 months — Minimum fine of $50 up to $400.

In addition to the possible fines listed above, alleged offenders convicted of texting or talking on cell phones while driving can also be ordered to pay surcharges of up to $93. Furthermore, any improper cellphone violation can also result in the motorist being assessed five (5) Driver Violation Points.

If a driver receives six or more points on his or her New York State driving record in 18 months, that person must pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment fee. If the individual gets 11 points in an 18-month period, his or her driver’s license may be suspended.

Back to top

New York Resources for Texting While Driving Offenses

Cell phone use & texting | New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) — On this section of the DMV website, you can learn more about the texting while driving laws in New York. See how the penalties have increased and learn more about violations for probationary, junior, and commercial drivers. Queens County has three DMV offices:

Jamaica DMV Office
168-46 91st Ave., 2nd Floor
Jamaica, NY 11432

College Point DMV Office
30-56 Whitestone Expwy.
Flushing, NY 11354

Springfield Gardens
168-35 Rockaway Blvd.
Jamaica, NY 11434

Texting while driving: A study of 1211 U.S. adults with the Distracted Driving Survey — View the results of this study involving a national, representative, anonymous panel of 1,211 United States drivers recruited in 2015 to complete the Distracted Driving Survey (DDS). The DDS was an 11-item validated questionnaire examining cell phone reading and writing activities and at what speeds they occur. The study concluded that higher DDS scores—indicating higher rates of cell-phone related distraction—were “significantly correlated to higher self-reported crash rates and are inversely related to age.”

Back to top

Law Office | Queens Texting While Driving Defense Attorney

Were you recently cited for allegedly texting or talking on your cell phone while driving in New York City? Do not pay your ticket without first seeking legal representation. Law Office may be able to get your ticket thrown out and help you avoid costly points being added to your driving record.

Rochelle S. Berliner is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Queens who represents clients in Kings County, New York County, Queens County, Bronx County, and many surrounding areas of New York City. Call or submit an online contact form to have our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.

Back to top