Texting And Driving Illegal In New York Under VTL 1225-D

89 Comments

Texting And Driving Illegal Under VTL Section 1225-D

Note: The texting an driving law was changed on July 12, 2011.  For information on the new law, go to “Texting And Driving In New York (Finally) Made Illegal“.

As of November 1st, 2009, New York motorists will no longer be able to read, write or send text messages while driving. Driving and playing games on your phone or other device is also prohibited. Finding that text messaging is an unsafe distraction to drivers, the New York Legislature enacted Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1225-D imposing a $150.00 upon those who text and drive.

Section 1225-D will not apply if you are using your phone for a medical, fire or police emergency. Police officers, peace officers, firemen and authorized emergency vehicle operators are exempt from the law.

Under Section 1225-D, there is a rebuttable presumption that a person holding such a device in a conspicuous manner while operating a motor vehicle was using it in violation of the statute. This presumption will make it harder for motorists to defend themselves from 1225-D traffic tickets.

One solution for motorists who cannot wait to read their tweets is to download a free Blackberry application called DriveSafe.ly which will automatically broadcast your incoming text messages and emails.

The actual law read as follows:

S 1225-D. USE OF PORTABLE ELECTRONIC DEVICES.

1. EXCEPT  AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED  IN THIS SECTION, NO PERSON SHALL OPERATE A MOTOR VEHICLE
WHILE USING ANY PORTABLE ELECTRONIC DEVICE WHILE SUCH VEHICLE IS IN MOTION.

2. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING  TERMS  SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING MEANINGS:

(A) “PORTABLE ELECTRONIC DEVICE” SHALL MEAN ANY HAND-HELD MOBILE TELEPHONE,   AS  DEFINED  BY  SUBDIVISION  ONE  OF  SECTION  TWELVE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE-C  OF  THIS  ARTICLE,  PERSONAL  DIGITAL  ASSISTANT (PDA), HANDHELD  DEVICE WITH MOBILE DATA ACCESS, LAPTOP COMPUTER, PAGER, BROAD-BAND PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICE, TWO-WAY MESSAGING DEVICE, ELECTRONIC GAME, OR PORTABLE COMPUTING DEVICE.

(B) “USING” SHALL MEAN HOLDING  A  PORTABLE  ELECTRONIC  DEVICE WHILE VIEWING,  TAKING  OR  TRANSMITTING  IMAGES, PLAYING GAMES, OR COMPOSING, SENDING, READING, VIEWING, ACCESSING, BROWSING, TRANSMITTING, SAVING OR RETRIEVING E-MAIL, TEXT MESSAGES, OR OTHER ELECTRONIC DATA.

3. SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO (A) THE USE OF A PORTABLE  ELECTRONIC  DEVICE  FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF COMMUNICATING WITH ANY OF THE FOLLOWING REGARDING  AN  EMERGENCY  SITUATION:  AN
EMERGENCY  RESPONSE OPERATOR; A HOSPITAL; A PHYSICIAN’S OFFICE OR HEALTH CLINIC; AN AMBULANCE COMPANY OR CORPS; A FIRE DEPARTMENT, DISTRICT OR COMPANY; OR A POLICE  DEPARTMENT,  (B)  ANY  OF  THE  FOLLOWING  PERSONS  WHILE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES: A POLICE OFFICER OR PEACE OFFICER; A MEMBER OF A FIRE DEPARTMENT, DISTRICT OR COMPANY; OR THE  OPERATOR OF AN AUTHORIZED EMERGENCY VEHICLE AS DEFINED IN SECTION ONE HUNDRED ON OF  THIS CHAPTER.

4.  A  PERSON  WHO HOLDS A PORTABLE ELECTRONIC DEVICE IN A CONSPICUOUS MANNER WHILE OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE IS  PRESUMED  TO  BE  USING SUCH DEVICE. THE PRESUMPTION ESTABLISHED BY THIS SUBDIVISION IS REBUTTABLE
BY  EVIDENCE  SHOWING  THAT THE OPERATOR WAS NOT USING THE DEVICE WITHIN THE MEANING OF THIS SECTION.

5. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED AS AUTHORIZING  THE  SEIZURE  OR FORFEITURE OF A PORTABLE ELECTRONIC DEVICE, UNLESS OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY LAW.

6. A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE A TRAFFIC INFRACTION AND SHALL BE PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF NOT MORE  THAN  ONE  HUNDRED  FIFTY DOLLARS, PROVIDED,  HOWEVER,  THAT  A  SUMMONS  FOR  OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION SHALL ONLY BE ISSUED WHEN THERE IS REASONABLE CAUSE  TO  BELIEVE  THAT  THE  PERSON  OPERATING  SUCH MOTOR VEHICLE HAS COMMITTED A VIOLATION OF THE LAWS OF THIS STATE OTHER THAN  A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION.

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89 Comments. Leave new

  • I have received a 1225D on 08/26/15 4:10 PM for texting and Driving in Queens County, NY but I am from Nassau County, NY. The Sprint call log is showing that I was not texting or calling between 2:50 PM and 4:34 PM on 08/26/15. What should be the outcome of my not guilty plea.

    Reply
    • Chowdhury,

      I cannot tell you the outcome “should” be but can tell you that your call log does not establish that you were not violating the law. A violation of 1225D occurs when you are “using” an electronic device while in motion. “Use” is defined as a broad way and covers much more than not making a call.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I was recently written a ticket for using a mobile device while driving however I was in line at a stop sign and I picked my phone up for a moment just to check a notification. The officer who saw it radioed another officer who pulled me over down the road so I was unaware what I was being pulled over for in the first place and didn’t have a chance to explain myself to the officer who didn’t even see what happened. Is there any room for me here to possibly get this dropped? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Jake,

      You can possibly get this reduced if it was issued outside of the Traffic Violations Bureau (NYC and Rochester traffic courts). if so, you should plead not guilty. In the TVB, they do not drop cases.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I was given a violation of 1225D today. I am from MA and simply picked up my phone to look at the maps to see where i was exiting. While I now know that trying to look at the maps eye level as opposed to looking down is a violation, I am concerned on if these points transfer to my MA record? Will they affect my insurance? And do I plead guilty or not when I am out of town and showed the officer it was navigation and not talk/text (which he noted on the violation)? It was an innocent mistake and I had a completely clean record up until this.

    Reply
    • Gabrielle,

      A NY conviction will transfer to MA but only if MA has an analogous law and only to the extent MA will penalize you had this offense occurred there. The effect on your insurance depends on a few variables including whether and how MA penalizes drivers for such offenses (if any) and your driving record.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Katie Griffin
    April 10, 2016 6:12 pm

    I have hearing aides so I could not hear my GPS. And I had it up to my ear so I can hear. It was my phones GPS. So could the judge . Disimss my case

    Reply
  • Two Questions Law of the state rather then the section?

    And can you operate and use a gps in your hand?
    I have a summons for 1225d

    Just reasoning I do not use my vehicle for commerce
    therefore I was traveling not operating is that a good defence

    Reply
    • Ken,

      Answers in bold.

      And can you operate and use a gps in your hand? No, not legally in NYS.

      Just reasoning I do not use my vehicle for commerce therefore I was traveling not operating is that a good defense. I have no idea what this means. You can try to re-ask it in a more understandable fashion.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Does the new law intend that portable ham radios, commercial radios, CB radios, or radio mics are included as an electronic device? Such devices do not access the internet, email, or texting service. “BROAD-BAND PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICE” I assume means broad-band internet? (in which case the radios do not fall under.) Any thoughts?

    Thanks

    Rick

    Reply
    • Ricky,

      Below the applicable statutory language. As I read it, the law does not encompass “portable ham radios, commercial radios, CB radios, or radio mics”.

      “PORTABLE ELECTRONIC DEVICE” SHALL MEAN ANY HAND-HELD MOBILE TELEPHONE, AS DEFINED BY SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION TWELVE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE-C OF THIS ARTICLE, PERSONAL DIGITAL ASSISTANT (PDA), HANDHELD DEVICE WITH MOBILE DATA ACCESS, LAPTOP COMPUTER, PAGER, BROAD-BAND PERSONAL COMMUNICATION DEVICE, TWO-WAY MESSAGING DEVICE, ELECTRONIC GAME, OR PORTABLE COMPUTING DEVICE.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I jsut received a 1225D in NYC Queens, the ticket states “use of portable device while in motion(Right hand)” I was making a right turn and the police officer pulled me over. Giving that it was 10pm at night with raining weather, the police probably have mistaken my Car’s GPS as a device in my hand. I have a clean record and I took pictures of the road’s condition for proof. Do I have any chance to be find not guilty?

    Reply
    • Jason,

      You are not allowed to hold any electronic device in your hand while driving including a GPS. You can still fight this case but the “GPS defense” will not likely work.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • My wife got a ticket that states 1225 code violation in queens NY..but the actual violation she had was she disobeyed the traffic device/avoid traffic violation since she went to the gasoline station at the corner and avoid the traffic to get into the intersection.I was her passenger that time and I know what happened.Plus she don’t have phone service that time since we don’t activate our Metro PCS phone service for almost 3 months.How could we fight for this.

    Reply
    • Jed,

      You can fight this traffic ticket by pleading not guilty. The court will schedule your wife for a hearing where she can present her defense. By the way, avoiding an intersection, carries 2 points and roughly a $150 fine. Good luck!

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I received a Distracted Driving ticket in Chautaqua County NY and live in PA. If I plead not guilty, what defense do I have and is there any hope they would reduced the charge? Also would these points transfer to my PA license.

    Reply
    • Cathy R,

      Without more information, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what defense(s) you might advance. With that said, if you plead not guilty, in Chautaqua County, you can likely negotiate this down to a less serious charge. Good luck.

      In regard to a transfer to PA, points from a NY conviction do not transfer to PA (however, a NY conviction will be reported to PA).

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Eugene Falik
    March 17, 2014 1:58 am

    It will be interesting to see 47 USC (Federal Communications Act) section 333 (prohibits interference with a “licensed use”) used as a defense.

    Reply
  • I have read through the comments and just want to clarify something. I just to a ticket in NY with violation 1225D for looking at my google maps on my phone while driving. I am concerned about points transferring to NJ but have read that there isn’t any points for such a violation in NJ. So can you confirm that the points actually won’t transfer to my NJ license if I am to plead guilty and pay the fine for the ticket?

    Reply
    • Chris K,

      Points from a NY texting ticket will NOT transfer onto your NJ license because NJ currently does not assign points for this violation. New York, however, will keep a record on you and assign 5 points for a conviction to this charge.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Got a texting ticket because said officer saw me holding my phone going through an intersection I am a nj resident and a fire captain I was attempting to pull over to respond to an emergency email regarding the fire dept. Does this cover me under the exception? Or do I take a plea. Also within the 15 days do they need to receive my plea or it just has to be post marked within 15 days

    Reply
    • Joseph,

      Assuming this ticket was issued in New York City, you should know that they do not plea bargain such cases. If you plead not guilty, then the only outcomes can be guilty or not guilty. Further, a texting ticket carries 5 points in NY (although it carries 0 points in New Jersey).

      I doubt that an “emergency email” defense will work but you should still raise it (if you elect to fight).

      Good luck!

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I recently received a ticket in Queens for violating 1225d – I had Google Maps on my phone (which I was holding) and listening over blue tooth -officer told me the device had to be mounted. I have since purchased a mount. If I plead guilty to this ticket (fine is $138) will points transfer to my CT license and will insurance be notified? I see 5 points are assessed in NY – does this transfer to CT? Is there any way to plea this ticket down? Thanks.

    Reply
    • CT Driver,

      The 5 NY points will not transfer onto your CT license. In New York City, they do not plea bargain traffic tickets. They are only adjudicated “guilty or not guilty” (nothing in between).

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • thorougly upset
    November 18, 2013 1:29 pm

    I was pulled over in February, 2013 for vtl 1225-D 01. I plead not guilty because I was stopped at a light and I was not on the phone It was being used as a radio connected to my car. I told the Officer what if I wanted to make the same motion to play my radio? He said that its a sketchy area and that he’s been giving tickets for this reason alot at that stop. At the conference in suffolk county, I produced my cell phone records but I was basically told to just pay 185 and take the 3 points. At that point I was feeling really pushed and asked if I could get a lawyer. They gave me a date for a pre-trial conference. I’m not sure how far to go with this. I really don’t feel its right to have to pay for something that I wasn’t doing or is comperable to something we all do when we use our car radio. But the thought of having to pay a larger fine scares me too. I really can’t afford it.

    Reply
  • I am a NJ driver and I just received a 1225 D ticket in Brooklyn, NY. My GPS fell off my windshield when I was driving and I picked it up real quick. In the commotion I could not hear what directions the GPS said so I brought the GPS closer to my ear to hear what it said and of course I got pulled over and received a 1225D ticket. Since I am out of state and it was not a cell phone will I receive points on my licence if I plead guilty and pay the ticket?

    Reply
    • Kelly,

      If you plead guilty, you will be assessed 5 points on your privilege to drive in New York with your NJ license.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
      • Thank you for your response. Can you please explain what ” privilege to drive in NY” means. Does this mean I will be given 5 points on my NJ license?

        Reply
        • Kelly,

          Privilege drive means that you can only drive in NY as long as you obey NY’s laws. If you violate them, you can be suspended (just like a NY driver). NY will keep track of points that you accumulate here with your NJ license and will take action against your privilege to drive here if you, for instance, accumulate too many points. A suspension in NY would transfer to NJ. In regard to points, NJ will impose 2 points onto your NJ license for each out-of-state conviction as long as NJ would impose points had the offense occurred in NJ.

          Matthew Weiss

          Reply
  • My son just received a ticket under 1225D for using an electronic portable device. The device in question is his IPOD which he was changing music in the car. Reading the law I don’t see where a IPOD falls under any of the definition of electronic portable device. The only thing my son can do with it is play music through the vehicle speakers. Should we fight this ticket??

    Reply
    • Upset father,

      Under Vehicle and Traffic Law 1225-d(2)(a), the phrase “Portable electronic device” means “any hand-held mobile telephone, as defined by subdivision one of section twelve hundred twenty-five-c of this article, 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”. An iPod falls within this definition as it is a “portable computing device” (and possibly other items in this definition).

      With that said, your son should plead not guilty and fight this ticket. This is the only way for him to possibly get a more favorable outcome. Hopefully, he can plea bargain his case down in the court in which his case is scheduled.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Hi Matthew,

    I got a ticket for cell phone use yesterday. The office said he was going easy on me and that I won’t be getting 3 points but will just have to pay the fine when he handed me back the ticket and my documents.

    Now on the ticket itself, it has the charge of 1225C2A. If I send in a guilty plea, will it still be possible to have the charge reduced by the court or am I stuck with it regardless of what the office told me since I plead guilty to the charge? Would it be a good idea to state the officer’s comments in the statement of explanation area of the guilty plea on the ticket? Or should I just plead not guilty and go to court to make sure that it is reduced in person or is that not recommended.

    Reply
    • Vlad,

      You should plead not guilty and go to court once you have a date scheduled. In most NY traffic courts you can negotiate this charge down to a less serious charge.

      Good luck!

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
      • Thanks Matthew,

        I’m just confused about how the officer said I won’t be getting points. I was under the impression that he wanted me to just mail it in and pay the fine and that I would be agreeing to a less-serious charge off the bat. If the ticket shows the violation and I plead guilty, would it matter what the officer said to me before handing me the ticket? Would I automatically get hit with the charge or can they reduce it internally without me going to court?

        I’m concerned if I plead not guilty and he shows up, could the outcome be worse? Could it be that he complains that he said it would not result in points and get mad that I didn’t just send it in like he said I should do?

        Reply
        • Vlad,

          The officer intentionally or mistakenly gave you incorrect information. A cell phone ticket carries 3 points. I promise.

          If you plead not guilty, it is extremely unlikely that the outcome will be worse.

          Matthew Weiss

          Reply
  • I was recently pulled over right before entering the holland tunnel when the officer got out of his vehicle and approached my vehicle he saw my cell phone on my lap and seen that it was on google navigation which has voice by turn navigation and then issued me a 1225d ticket.. i read a couple articles and seen that the device must be in your hand which it wasn’t i feel i was the victim of a cop who racially profiled me an needed the meet his quota for the end of the month.. Would this be worth fighting?

    Reply
    • Isaac,

      I love this question! Thanks for submitting it.

      Under VTL 1225-d, “Using” means holding a portable electronic device while viewing, taking or transmitting images, playing games, or composing, sending, reading, viewing, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving or retrieving e-mail, text messages, or other electronic data. Arguably, placing your device on your lap qualifies as “holding”. I just wrote a post explaining how stopped can mean moving under this statute so I can likewise anticipate that a judge would construe “holding” to include placing it on your lap. Lap placement keeps the device within your reach and eyeshot, somewhat within your control and can be distracting to drivers. These factors could lead a judge to liberally interpret “holding” to include putting your device on your lap.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
      • Ok it places it within my reach and eye sight but im not physically touching it so arguably im not holding it and placing a gps on your windshield puts it within your reach an eyesight also and can be distracting… If i plead guilt and pay am i also facing points on my license? If so i midas well try to fight it if it’s gonna be the same outcome

        Reply
        • Isaac,

          A conviction to this ticket carries 3 points and roughly a $150 fine. Good luck fighting it. I hope you win and would ask that you report back the outcome to us.

          Thanks

          Matthew Weiss

          Reply
  • Pharmacy intern
    March 1, 2013 7:40 pm

    I just got this ticket and I dont understand.
    I was standing at a red light, heard the tapping on my window, and lo and behold: the flashlight was beaming in my face. Was holding the phone, looking at the time because it was taking me way too long to get home. A picture of a medication was open, in case that makes a difference (was just introduced to a few medications that I’d only heard of before today).

    I can bring forward my phone record for the day: didn’t send/receive/view any calls or texts until i got home about 40 mins after the ticket.

    I have a phone use violation on my record from at least a year ago – was actually on a call and the cop pulled me over, will that work against me? I dont want another violation on my record for a lousy technicality.

    Please advise?

    Reply
    • Pharmacy Intern,

      Unfortunately, if you are holding a phone while operating a moving vehicle, you are inviting a police officer to issue you a ticket. The law requires that you use a hands-free device. With that said, you should plead not guilty and hopefully you’ll be able to negotiate a plea bargain to a less serious charge.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I was pulled over today – wasn’t sure why until he said it was because I was looking down. I said “oh, I just missed my exit” and showed him my gps. He asked which exit I missed, and gave me directions. He did ask for my license but I assumed it was just a routine check before he sent me on my way. Next, he hands me my license with a folded piece of paper – which I read after he left. You see, I had my phone hooked up to blue tooth which gives me GPS through audio. When I passed my exit, I realized the audio wasn’t working. I looked down and saw the phone was asleep and swiped my finger to “wake it up”. I never went in to detail about the fact I have bluetooth b/c I thought it was water under the bridge when he gave me new directions. My ticket says 1225C2A – I’m not sure what that is. Would you know? And could you tell me how badly it can affect my record (I am completely clean) and whether there’s a chance I could fight this? Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • Katrina,

      A ticket for violating VTL 1225c2a is one for using a cell phone without a hands-free device. It states that “no person shall operate a motor vehicle upon a public highway while using a mobile telephone to engage in a call while such vehicle is in motion.” Using” means holding a mobile telephone to, or in the immediate proximity of, the user’s ear. From what you write, you have an argument but the law also creates a presumption of use for those caught simply holding their device while driving. This means that the burden will be on you (not the officer) to disprove “use”.

      With this said, given your clean record, this ticket alone is not a big deal. It carries 3 points and roughly a $100 fine, and will not hurt your auto insurance rates.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Timothy Rapuano
    January 2, 2013 6:33 pm

    Hi, I received a ticket in Queens for § 1225-d. I am a NJ driver. If I plead guilty to this ticket, will my license also be assessed points in NJ? Has there been much success in attorneys bringing this matter down to 0 points?

    Thank you,
    Tim

    Reply
    • Timothy,

      In New York City, there are no deals or plea bargains. If you fight this ticket, it will be either guilty or not guilty (nothing in between). However, because New Jersey does not assess points on your license for this charge, no points from a NY conviction will transfer onto your NJ license for a NY “texting and driving” ticket.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
      • Timothy Rapuano
        January 3, 2013 3:14 pm

        thank you for your help, I appreciate it!

        Reply
      • Timothy Rapuano
        January 27, 2014 1:35 am

        Matthew, Hi. I just received another 1225D yesterday in manhattan for texting an driving. I was at a light, when the policeman walked up to my car and tapped on the window. Immediately afterward I began using a dash mounted cell phone holder so I can view Waze hands free. This also discourages me from using the phone. It’s been 2 days and I’ve stuck with the program quite well. While I am proud of my rehabilitation, I still have the matter of the ticket. I read somewhere that the law changed and the points are up to 5 now! Last time I plead guilty and paid the ticket. If I do the same, will these points transfer to my NJ abstract? If so, would legal counsel be able to convert the ticket into something that would not transfer to NJ? Thank you so much for your advice. Timothy.

        Reply
        • Timothy,

          Yes, this is now a 5-point ticket in NY. Because NJ does currently assign points for such a violation, no points will transfer onto your NJ license if you are convicted. It is a lot of NY points to get at one time so, if you drive in NY often, then you should fight this ticket. Legal counsel may be able to help. Feel free to call us for a free consultation.

          Matthew Weiss
          212-683-7373

          Reply
  • i work for a TV station in Buffalo, and we would like a clarification please.
    The law refers to the vehicle “being in motion”.
    So….is it legal or illegal to use your cell phone to take a picture
    while stopped at a red light?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Kevin O,

      My legal opinion is that VTL 1225-D makes it illegal to use a cell phone to take a photo (text, read an email, etc) while stopped at a red light. “In motion” means that the car is in drive or park. To legally take a photo in New York, one must pull over and first place the vehicle in park. Fee

      Matthew Weiss
      888 Red Light

      Reply
  • I got pulled over and issued a violation 1225D for using an PED=Portable Electronic Defice. Basically I was in process of initation a call by pressing the quick dial button on the phone menu on my I-Phone (was returning call from my wife). When the officer gave me the summons I questioned him on the law and he told me I could not hold a PED while driving. So I asked if I could use my cars touch screen to dial and he said yes if ok even though I have to lean forward and type into it to make the call! Bottom line I only used the PED to initiate the call and was using my Hands Free speaker to speak with my wife! I want to fight this any opinions?

    Reply
    • Scott,

      If you want to fight (which I recommend) that your only option is to plead not guilty. If you do, you can try and negotiate this down to a less serious charge or take it to trial.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I received a ticket under 1225D. I was driving and my uncle called me, I head a headset in my hear, I only swiped my screen to accept the call and put the phone back in the cup holder. The police officer saw me swiping and assumed I was using the phone. Is it illegal to just accept calls. When I asked him this question, he just said that i can’t use my phone and ran back into his car as if trying to avoid me. So is it or is it not legal to accept a call on my phone? I did have a wired headset in my hear. I am planning on pleading not guilty, either myself or through a traffic lawyer.

    Reply
    • Asp,

      This ticket carries 3 points and roughly a $200 fine. Under NY law, there is a presumption of illegal use when an officer observes you holding an electronic device (includes iPhones and Android devices) while operating a motor vehicle. You, therefore, have the burden of proving at court that you weren’t using it. I wrote a post entitled “Can I check my cell phone while stopped at a light?“. It should answer your questions about swiping.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Wow, the cop said it doesn’t carry any points. I’m definitely going to fight it. I’m going to give you a call, may need your help.

    Reply
    • Del Fred,

      It is unfortunate that your officer conveyed incorrect information. Feel free to call us anytime Monday-Friday (9 am to 6 pm). Or just email or fax us your ticket including a return phone number.

      Matthew Weiss
      212-683-7373
      212-726-0135 fax
      [email protected]

      Reply
      • Todd Brecher
        May 25, 2012 4:07 pm

        I received a ticket today for violating 1225-D. I was in my wife’s car rather so didn’t have my usual hands free set up, then had to address a crisis that came up at work so was emailing and was basically caught red-handed. I basically tried to throw myself on his mercy by admitting my fault and explaining the situation. The officer was trying to be nice and wrote the ticket under 1225-D instead of 1225-C b/c he was also under the mistaken impression that this didn’t carry any points. Unfortunately, his supporting deposition includes my very clear admission of guilt. I really want to avoid the points as I have had a number of minor violations in past couple years. Wondering what my chances of fighting this successfully and getting 0 points are in these circumstances? Thanks.

        Reply
        • Todd,

          Your chances of success depend on the court. However, in many courts, you can negotiate this ticket down to a 0-point ticket.

          Feel free to call us with any questions.

          Matthew Weiss
          212-683-7373

          Reply
  • If i plead guilty for “improper use of electronic device” under violation 1225d will I get points? Should I fight it?

    Help. Thanks

    Reply
  • So, my boyfriend got pulled over for powering on his ipad so that he could listen to an audio book during a long drive. He was not speeding or anything else. The officer gave him a ticket for violating VTL-1225D. and told him that he had to go to court. The ticket says that if he pleads guilty or is found guilty, he could face a suspension of his license – can that be possible??

    Reply
    • Beeps137,

      If your boyfriend has an otherwise clean record, then it is extremely unlikely that he will be suspended for this one ticket (assuming he timely answers it and otherwise meets the court-set dates). I recommend that he plead not guilty and appear in court. If he does, he or his NY traffic lawyer likely can negotiate this down to a 0-point ticket.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Andrew Herzman
    August 3, 2011 10:36 pm

    Does NY Law requires a police officer to personally witness the cell phone infraction?

    Reply
    • Andrew,

      Generally, under NY law, the police officer must personally observe the traffic violation in question. If he didn’t see it, it is VERY tough (if not impossible) for him to prove it occurred.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
      • Andrew Herzman
        August 3, 2011 10:46 pm

        What if a civilian takes a picture of you holding a phone and sends it to the police along with your license number?

        Reply
        • Andrew,

          In my opinion, t the civilian would have to testify and make out the case against you (all the elements of a cell phone violation). A photo alone is not sufficient to make out a case and mot admissible without authentication.

          Matthew Weiss

          Reply
          • Andrew Herzman
            August 3, 2011 11:10 pm

            So, it is possible to have to go to court, even if an officer personally didn’t observe the traffic violation?

  • Effective July 12, 2010, the law prohibiting texting and driving has been made much more restrictive.

    https://www.nytrafficticket.com/blog/index.php/2011/07/12/texting-and-driving-in-new-york-finally-made-illegal/

    Reply
  • Hello few days ago I was driving and stopped at an intersection. It was red light and I felt a rumble in my pocket of a text message. I checked it and replied while viewing if the light changed to green. I finished and it turned green so I accelerated straight. On my right as I went I noticed a police car on my right side and I knew it wouldn’t end well. I pulled over and he gave me a ticket for OP MV-Mobile phone. While I recall I wasn’t moving at a red light. My friend was talking to the police about this and he told me that ‘texting at a red light is legal’. So my court is tomorrow 930 am bad time to ask but can I avoid this ticket? Is it illegal to text at a red light in Syracuse NY? What should I tell them?

    Reply
    • 888redlight
      July 1, 2011 11:10 pm

      As long as you weren’t on the cell phone or committed a separate moving violation at the same time, your actions would not be illegal in New York. Using a cell phone while operating a vehicle illegal and so is texting and driving when another, separate moving violation is simultaneously being committed.

      Reply
      • What do you mean? I wasn’t driving while texting. I was siting at the red light replying to a text while peering at the light if it turned green. It turned green and i put my phone down then took off. what should i say to the court for my defense?

        Reply
  • Looking for Help
    May 31, 2011 3:49 pm

    Hi. I recently got a ticket for using a cell phone while driving. I was in NYC, in traffic, moving slower than walkers on the sidewalk, waiting to get into the Holland Tunnel. In fact, I was stopped at a red light when the cop tapped on the passenger side window. I was using the phone; however, the speaker phone was on and I was holding the phone down by the cup holder in my car’s center console (right next to the gear shift). I was surprised the cop even saw the phone. In any event, the fine is $130 and 2 points. I’ve tried researching the NY Laws and have found several variations on Article 33 Miscellaneous Rules Section 1225-c. Use of mobile telephones. First it defines “using” as c) “Using” shall mean holding a mobile telephone to, or in the immediate proximity of, the user’s ear. Well, I was definitely not “using” the phone according to this definition as it was not to or in the immediate proximity of my ear. Additionally, it defines “hands free” as (e) “Hands-free mobile telephone” shall mean a mobile telephone that has an internal feature or function, or that is equipped with an attachment or addition, whether or not permanently part of such mobile telephone, by which a user engages in a call without the use of either hand, whether or not the use of either hand is necessary to activate, deactivate or initiate a function of such telephone. Technically speaking, speaker phone would be such an “internal feature”. Lastly, it states that in order to be ticketed you have to be on a “public highway” in this section – 2. (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, no person shall operate a motor vehicle upon a public highway while using a mobile telephone to engage in a call while such vehicle is in motion. Well, I wasn’t on a public highway (at least not yet anyway). I’ve decided to fight the ticket because I think I have a few “technical outs”. Does anyone have any thoughts or advice on whether or not I’ve got a chance? Also, does anyone know where I can find the actual “law” that is on the books?

    Reply
    • 888redlight
      June 1, 2011 2:08 pm

      Looking for help.

      If you can prove them, the first two defenses are worth raising. The last one is a loser as “public highway” includes the approach to the Holland Tunnel. VTL 134 defines “public highway” to mean: “Any highway, road, street, avenue, alley,
      public place, public driveway or any other public way.”

      Since you asked, below is the full text for New York’s cell phone law.

      § 1225-c. Use of mobile telephones. 1. For purposes of this section,
      the following terms shall mean:
      (a) “Mobile telephone” shall mean the device used by subscribers and
      other users of wireless telephone service to access such service.
      (b) “Wireless telephone service” shall mean two-way real time voice
      telecommunications service that is interconnected to a public switched
      telephone network and is provided by a commercial mobile radio service,
      as such term is defined by 47 C.F.R. § 20.3.
      (c) “Using” shall mean holding a mobile telephone to, or in the
      immediate proximity of, the user’s ear.
      (d) “Hand-held mobile telephone” shall mean a mobile telephone with
      which a user engages in a call using at least one hand.
      (e) “Hands-free mobile telephone” shall mean a mobile telephone that
      has an internal feature or function, or that is equipped with an
      attachment or addition, whether or not permanently part of such mobile
      telephone, by which a user engages in a call without the use of either
      hand, whether or not the use of either hand is necessary to activate,
      deactivate or initiate a function of such telephone.
      (f) “Engage in a call” shall mean talking into or listening on a
      hand-held mobile telephone, but shall not include holding a mobile
      telephone to activate, deactivate or initiate a function of such
      telephone.
      (g) “Immediate proximity” shall mean that distance as permits the
      operator of a mobile telephone to hear telecommunications transmitted
      over such mobile telephone, but shall not require physical contact with
      such operator’s ear.
      2. (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, no person shall
      operate a motor vehicle upon a public highway while using a mobile
      telephone to engage in a call while such vehicle is in motion.
      (b) An operator of a motor vehicle who holds a mobile telephone to, or
      in the immediate proximity of his or her ear while such vehicle is in
      motion is presumed to be engaging in a call within the meaning of this
      section. The presumption established by this subdivision is rebuttable
      by evidence tending to show that the operator was not engaged in a call.
      (c) The provisions of this section shall not be construed as
      authorizing the seizure or forfeiture of a mobile telephone, unless
      otherwise provided by law.
      3. Subdivision two of this section shall not apply to (a) the use of a
      mobile telephone for the sole purpose of communicating with any of the
      following regarding an emergency situation: an emergency response
      operator; a hospital, physician’s office or health clinic; an ambulance
      company or corps; a fire department, district or company; or a police
      department, (b) any of the following persons while in the performance of
      their official duties: a police officer or peace officer; a member of a
      fire department, district or company; or the operator of an authorized
      emergency vehicle as defined in section one hundred one of this chapter,
      or (c) the use of a hands-free mobile telephone.
      4. A violation of subdivision two of this section shall be a traffic
      infraction and shall be punishable by a fine of not more than one
      hundred dollars.

      Reply
  • Now that we are almost a year into the new 1225-d, would your advice to Meagan change, since now it carries a 2pt penalty? I have a similar situation:absolutely clean record for my 20yrs driving experience. I’mrecently from IL (with still an IL lic), and was looking at iphone’s map feature to figure out how to get to throg’s neck bridge from great neck. When I stopped after the officer pulled me over, and he asked me for my lic, I asked him why I got pulled over– he said “I’ll tell you once you hand over your license”. After the exchange, he then said “texting is more dangerous than drunk driving”, and I explained and showed him my iphone, that I wasn’t texting, that I was using the map function to find my way. He then asked if my record was clean, which it was, so I replied in the affirmative. He then went to his car, came back and issued me a summons for using a portable electronic device, said I need something that announces turn by turn directions and then asked if he could help me in finding my way back. He NEVER gave me even a warning about another moving violation. Should I fight based on the loophole? Ticket was issued in queens county, near the cross island expy.

    Reply
    • 888redlight
      May 17, 2011 10:56 pm

      Sol,

      I would fight this ticket. If the officer admits that you were using the phone for texting (rather than speaking), you should win. The current law still requires that you commit a second moving violation in order to violated VTL 1225-d.

      Good luck and feel free to call us if you need help!

      Matthew Weiss
      212-683-7373

      Reply
  • I was using my cell phone’s GPS the other day on Staten Island. The cop pulled me over and said he was giving me a ticket for holding my cell phone. I explained to him that I was lost, and I was only using my cell phone’s navigational system – not texting, not talking. He gave me a ticket anyway, and then had the audacity to help me figure out where the hell I was. Is this ticket worth fighting? From what I have read, it seems that using your cell phone’s GPS could be considered illegal, which I did not know. How could I go about fighting this effectively? I feel like its my word against his and I will lose, which would ultimately result in a higher penalty charge. Could I use my cell phone records as evidence I was not on the phone? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Megan,

      This ticket carries 0 points and is, therefore, not worth fighting (especially if you have an otherwise clean record). It certainly is not worth fighting with a traffic lawyer.

      Further, Staten Island is the hardest traffic court in the State and there is no plea bargaining in this court. Therefore, the odds of beating this ticket are low.

      I hope this information helps.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Hi, i was given a ticket for holding a GPS. I was not operating it at the time. While I was driving the GPS device fell off the windshield and I caught it and got off the Henry Hudson Pkwy as soon as I could. While I was holding it, it was not even on, a police officer pulled me over and asked me if I knew why he was pulling me over, I said I did not and then said I was on my cell and I told him that my cell was in my purse and then he asked me what it was I was holding I told him the story and he then said and you don’t have a seat belt on and I said Sir look I do, I did, so he asked for my license and registration and gave me a ticket for operating a handheld device, GPS, the summons came and it says improper cellphone use. I am going to court, what will happen? One quick note the officer asked me after he gave me the ticket, I was a little upset and he said why are you upset you look like you can afford it, I drive a Mercedes. That only made me more upset. Is it against the law to hold a GPS? thank you!

    Reply
    • Laurie,

      It is not illegal to hold a GPS unless you are also committing a separate, other moving violation at the same time. It is illegal to use a cell phone without a hands-free device even if you are not committing any other offense. You should fight this ticket and hopefully the officer will admit to the judge that you were using a GPS (rather than testifying that you were using a cell phone). Goo luck.

      Reply
  • Hi,
    I was giving a ticket in violation of 1225-D. I feel the officers actions are so unjust. The officer was standing on the sidewalk and he walked up to my car while I was at a standstill (Red Light) in traffic. He knocked on my window and ask for my L and R. I turned around b/c at that moment I grabbed my cell phone laying on my passenger seat to read my TM. He then walked to the passenger side of my car to come out of traffic. While searching for my Drivers License he told me I was pulled over for un-authorized use of a cell phone. However I have a ear piece hanging from my ear and my phone was visble on my passenger seat. He then takes my Drivers License and goes into his buggy and write up “two tickets”. he comes out of his buggy and hands them to me and says one is for driving with your wipers on and no head lights and the other is for Texting.
    The officer actions are so unjustified. I feel that when I pulled my car out of traffic to the side I turned my lights off and allowed my wipers to stay on. However he comes with this ticket and did not disclose it when he stated why he pulled me over. He also stated he pulled me over for un authorized us e of a cell phone. I was not texting no one while I was driving. He walked up to my window while I was at a red light and I feel perhaps he initially pulled me over for no head lights and saw the phone on my passenger seat. I dont know but Im going to try and fight the two tickets.

    Reply
    • Cheryl,

      The good news is that neither ticket carries any points. It is worth fighting them both because the cell phone ticket could result in your insurance going up if you have any other moving violation convictions or an accident on your record in the last 36 months.

      The failure to use headlights when your wipers are on is an equipment ticket. I don’t see many of these tickets being issued but it is the law. I previously explained at https://888redlight.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/new-york-to-fix-text-messaging-and-driving-law-loophole/ that VTL 1225-D requires a predicate charge for the officer to issue this ticket and the failure to use wipers charge provided it in your case. Therefore, if you can beat this charge, you should automatically win the 1225-D ticket.

      Incidentally, look at the screen of you phone to read a text message is a violation of the restrictions contained in 1225-D even while stopped in traffic.

      Good luck and feel free to call or write if you have any other questions.

      Matt

      Reply
  • Note: A bill has been introduced to make using an electronic device and driving a primary offense. That is, Section 6 above would be amended to remove the following language:

    “PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT A SUMMONS FOR OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION SHALL ONLY BE ISSUED WHEN THERE IS REASONABLE CAUSE TO BELIEVE THAT THE PERSON OPERATING SUCH MOTOR VEHICLE HAS COMMITTED A VIOLATION OF THE LAWS OF THIS STATE OTHER THAN A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION.”

    If passed, a motorist can violate the law even if he or she doesn’t commit another traffic offense. https://888redlight.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/new-york-to-fix-text-messaging-and-driving-law-loophole/

    Reply
  • It sounds sleazy, but could a cop stop someone and issue 1225c as primary and 1225d as secondary??

    Reply
    • Dear Cell Question, this is a terrific question. For those of you who didn’t read it the question is:

      “It sounds sleazy, but could a cop stop someone and issue 1225c as primary and 1225d as secondary??”

      Another way of posing the question is “Can an officer stop you for using a cell phone without a hands-free device (VTL 1225c) and then add a second ticket for using a portable electronic device while driving (VTL 1225d)?”

      The answer is no unless you are using the cell phone without a hands-free device and the officer also observes you driving and text messaging.

      The new law only applies to drivers viewing, taking or transmitting images, playing games or composing, sending, reading, viewing, accessing browsing, transmitting, savings ore retrieving email, text messages or other data. The use of a cell phone without a hands-free device is not a violation of the above provision. VTL 1225d(2).

      Reply
  • i recently got a traffic ticket for my cell phone and it sucked. I could have used that balckberry feature it would have saved me some dough. Thanks for the update b/c i love using the phone while driving.

    Reply
  • At least I can hear the messages with Drive Safely App on my Black Berry. Thanks for the tip

    Reply

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