Home / Traffic Tickets / NY’s New Portable Electronic Device Law – VTL § 1225-d Analysis

NY’s New Portable Electronic Device Law – VTL § 1225-d Analysis

About the Author

Matthew Weiss

Matthew J. Weiss, Esq. graduated Hofstra Law School in 1984. He was Law Review and won the law school’s prestigious Procedure Award. Upon graduation, he became one of the first Hofstra Law School graduates to work at the New York State Court of Appeals (New York State’s highest court) working on various appellate matters.

Comments (325)

Emir - October 21, 2016 10:05 pm

Hello Mr. Weiss,

I was driving earlier today in Flushing Queens to meet with my girlfriend. She called me to see where I was and I picked up as I was approaching a stop sign. To my left at the intersection there was a cop car that I noticed too soon. I pretty much locked eyes with the officer on the passenger side and a few seconds later they pulled me over. Now I’m 19 and this is my first offense, so while I was talking to the officer he was telling me I could fight the ticket he gave me, but I knew I couldn’t win, but he still tried to reassure me saying “You could still fight it, you never know.” So I guess I’m a bit confused as to what I should do, plus I don’t known how many points I’ll get on my license or if I’ll have to pay any additional fees on top of the ticket.

Thanks in advanced,

    Matthew Weiss - October 22, 2016 6:10 am


    Electronic device and cell phone tickets in New York carry 5 points and roughly a $200 fine. In NYC, they are hard to win because the Queens Traffic Violations Bureau does not engage in plea bargaining. This means that, if you plead not guilty, the only possible outcomes are guilty or not guilty. With that said, you have nothing to lose by fighting the case (other than your time to go to court).

    Matthew Weiss

Ginger Miner - October 19, 2016 12:44 pm

I received a ticket July 22, 2016 for operating a motor vehicle while using a portable electronic device. The officer said he saw the phone in my hand and therefore pulled me over. When he reached the vehicle and told me he had pulled me over for using my phone, I showed him the phone. I had broken the internal screen so as the screen was black and it would not recognize touch. I explained that while it may have looked like I was using the phone, I wasn’t and was incapable of doing so. He still wrote me a ticket.

When I went to court for my first appearance, they offered to reduce it to a no hands on the steering wheel which is a 2 point violation and I was not guilty so I did not accept. I asked for a trial. I just went to my trial and quoted the law regarding the “use” of a device and it clearly states what using means. I was not doing any of them as my phone was broken. I had expert testimony for the phone being unusable in the manners stated in the law. I asked the questions to the trooper if he had examined the phone to see that it was not working, he said no. I asked did he allow me to show him that it wasn’t working, he said no. I felt pretty good that I had proven my case.

However, when the closing comments were over the judge said they did show reasonable proof that I was using my phone. I am outraged. I need help. I am prepared to appeal and they told me to simply write a letter to the court to do so. I do not want to go back without some legal representation. If this case is closed and I have no chance to win on appeal, then I will just have to accept that I was failed by the legal system.

    Matthew Weiss - October 19, 2016 8:48 pm

    Ginger Miner,

    I’m sorry to hear that you lost your traffic case and appreciate that you shared your story. Unfortunately, you are not the first to experience the un-level nature of the Traffic Violations Bureau. Suffolk County and Buffalo have already gotten rid of this terrible system and hopefully NYC will follow suit soon.

    Matthew Weiss

Charles - October 18, 2016 10:43 am

I was driving through NYC (Queens) and headed toward Maryland and needed to make a route decision based on traffic on google maps on my girlfriends phone. She looked it up and then held the map in front of my face and I grabbed her wrist/hand to hold it steady while I viewed the map for a few seconds. I did not take control or even touch the device.

The policeman even seemed uncertain about the legitimacy of the ticket and suggested I challenge it. His boss was in the squad car and apparently made the decision despite my explanation.

How should I plea?


    Matthew Weiss - October 19, 2016 9:33 pm


    If the officer testifies that you only held your girlfriend’s hand (not the phone), then you should win this case. It is only illegal for a motorist to “hold” and use an electronic device. If you were not physically holding the device, then you should win.

    Matthew Weiss

Michael Frisbee - September 29, 2016 9:09 am

I got pulled over by a NYS Trooper who saw that I was holding something in my hand. She turned around and pulled me over and ended up writing me a ticket for the use of an electronic device. I try to explain that I did not even have my phone on me, just my son’s phone was in the car and that I had my glasses case in my hand as I had just put on my glasses (I have them for distance but do not legally need to wear them) She did not listen and just kept going on about the fact that I did not look up or notice her since I did not quickly hide the “phone”. I am pleading not guilty but I was wondering how this can be allowed and am I going to be able to fight this against a Trooper’s ticket? I have had a bit of a lead foot in the past, so I can not afford any points to be added to my license.

    Matthew Weiss - September 30, 2016 8:38 am

    Michael Frisbee,

    Yes, you are able to fight this ticket. Whether you will win is another question.

    Matthew Weiss

Ulugbek Musinov - September 28, 2016 8:24 pm

Hello. I was in double parking in Brooklyn and using my phone. I double parked right next to intersection. Right after I finished using Google map, it was green light so I rushed, then the police said you were using your phone while you driving. This was my first time speaking with cop since I am new driver. It happend during 8 month after I got my license. You think I have good chances of being unguilty?

    Matthew Weiss - September 30, 2016 8:32 am

    Ulugbek Musinov,

    From what you write, I do not see a valid defense. You cannot “use” an electronic device while operating a moving vehicle under NY law.

    Matthew Weiss

Jordyn - September 14, 2016 2:36 pm

i Just got pulled over today in WNY for the 1225d law and i was coming to a red light so i was switching the song. i am worried about the points on my liscense. i told the officer i was changing the song. does this mean i have to plead guilty to the charge ? the money isnt the issue its the points on my liscense and making my insurance go up a ton

    Matthew Weiss - September 14, 2016 8:57 pm


    You should plead not guilty. Even if you may be guilty, if you plead not guilty, you may be able to negotiate this down to a less serious offense.

    Good luck!

    Matthew Weiss

Bikal M Gurung - August 21, 2016 7:37 pm

Hi Matthew Weiss:

I just got a ticket for holding a cell phone while driving in NYC. Actually, my friend wanted to play a song. So, I just passed her my phone so she could play the song. Can this be disputed? I am willing to pay the fine. I am more scared about the points. If I don’t hire the attorney, can I reduced to another offense with no points in the court by paying just the fine. Please give me the best advice.

Bikal Gurung

    Matthew Weiss - August 22, 2016 10:10 pm

    Bikal M Gurung,

    In NYC, they do not reduce traffic tickets. If you plead not guilty, then the only possible outcomes are guilty or not guilty.

    Matthew Weiss

Jessica Delvalle - August 8, 2016 11:47 am

Hi Mr. Weiss,

I recently got a ticket for an electronic device in NY. I was getting off the highway and stuck behind cars at a red light. I went to turn the gps off of my phone since I sort of knew where I was, when the cops came from my right side and pulled me over. Do I have any chance of getting this dismissed? 5 points is crazy! Or should I plead guilty and try a reduce points course?

    Matthew Weiss - August 8, 2016 3:36 pm

    Jessica Delvalle,

    If this ticket was issued in NYC, the it will be hard to beat. Otherwise, you should plead not guilty and, on your court date, you likely can negotiate this down to a less serious charge. Regardless, if you have any other points on your record, then I recommend that you fight this electronic device ticket (even if issued in NYC).

    Matthew Weiss

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