What You Should Know If You Get A Texting And Driving Ticket In NYC

The Challenges Of City Driving

Driving in New York City comes with its own frustrating challenges, especially for visitors. Speeding is usually not the most common vehicle and traffic law offense. When we’re not in a pandemic, City streets are often teeming with stop and start taxis, cyclists, potholes, slow-moving, bumper-to-bumper traffic. Boredom can easily set in, and giving in to the allure of passing some time on the cell can be tempting. According to a global corporation specializing in transportation analytics, New York City recently ranked number 5 in the top ten worst traffic cities in the country.

The Consequences Of Distracted Driving In New York City

Using a handheld electronic device is dangerous and it is illegal in New York. The law is clear, but the specifics can be complicated. While there are many 2 and 3 point violations, being convicted of texting and driving will add 5 points. New York drivers who accrue 6 or more points in an 18 month period will be charged with a Driver’s Responsibility Assessment fee of $300, plus $75 for each point over 6.

The financial impact of receiving an NYC texting ticket while driving is expensive:

  • For a first offense –  a fine of $50 to $200
  • For a second offense within an 18 month period – $50 to $250
  • For a third (or more) violation in an 18 month period – $50-$450
  • In addition to a fine, a surcharge is assessed

Collateral consequences of texting while driving:

  • Increase in the cost of auto insurance. According to the Zebra’s 2020 “State Of Auto Insurance Report”, New York has the 13th most expensive annual insurance premium ($1,704) in the country. Although in some states it is illegal for auto insurance companies to raise premiums for having a cell phone use violation, in New York, one can expect about a 12% increase in annual costs if you have one other moving violation conviction with 36 months. In the worst-case scenario, your insurance carrier could refuse to continue your coverage, leaving you no option but to pay for a high-risk policy.
  • According to CNN Health repeated cell phone use can be addictive.  In October 2019 the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) added the word Nomophobia which is defined as anxiety about not having access to a mobile phone or mobile phone service it would seem that this is a major problem across all age groups. According to Healthline, there are both emotional and physical symptoms associated with Nomophobia including worry, fear, panic, trouble breathing, and feeling faint, dizzy, and disoriented.
  • Accidents caused by distracted driving and the use of electronic devices can cause physical injuries. The expenses associated with these injuries include medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages
  • A conviction can result in a suspended driver’s license

There Is A Difference

A VTL 1225(c) offense in NYC occurs when the driver is “using” a cell phone or smartphone while making a call without a hands-free device. 

A 1225(d) ticket is issued for using any portable electronic device, including some GPS system, MP3 player, PDA, iPad, computer, gaming electronics, pagers, and in some cases a camera. Use is defined broadly to include pretty much anything that your mobile device is designed to do. Basically, using any device that requires reading, writing, or sending and receiving data while driving is considered to be in violation of the law as it is written. In fact, just looking at the screen while driving is a violation of the law.

Compliance with the texting law is not optional. Any physical contact with an electronic device while driving can result in a ticket. In the eyes of the law, perception sometimes becomes reality. Even simply holding the phone can, will result in the burden switching to you to “un-prove” your guilt.

Traffic Violations Bureau

In the city proper (any of the 5 boroughs) texting while driving citations are handled by the TVB (Traffic Violations Bureau.) There are 8 locations, depending on where the violation occurred:

  • Brooklyn South (Coney Island) 2875 West 8th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11224
  • Brooklyn North (Atlantic Center Mall) 2nd Floor, 625 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217
  • Bronx 696 East Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458
  • Manhattan North 159 East 125 Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10035
  • Manhattan South 17 Battery Place, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10004
  • Richmond (Staten Island) West Shore Plaza, 1775 South Avenue, Suite 2, Staten Island, NY 10314
  • Queens North 30-56 Whitestone Expy, 2nd Floor, Flushing, NY 11354
  • Queens South 168-35 Rockaway Blvd, 2nd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11434

You Always Have Choices

If you believe you are innocent of the charges, contact us as soon as possible. Time is of the essence. Failure to respond within a 15-day window can result in a suspension of your driver’s license. An experienced attorney will listen to and evaluate your version of the incident. We understand that there may be legal circumstances for your actions such as:

  • Calling 911 to report an accident or a vehicle in obvious distress
  • Alerting law enforcement about an obvious dangerous roadway situation
  • A personal medical emergency

Having legal representation will ensure that:

  • Witness statements will be taken into account
  • Cell phone records can be submitted into evidence
  • It can be proven that a law enforcement officer actually saw you touching the phone

Navigating New York’s legal system can be daunting. Protect and preserve your driving record with the help of an experienced legal advocate. We are located at 387 Park Avenue South, Suite 549, New York, N.Y. and can be reached by phone at (212) 683-7373.

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