Should I Plead Guilty to a NY Electronic Device Ticket?

Summary

You should NEVER plead guilty to any traffic violation without first seeking the advice of a traffic lawyer. This is especially true for an Electronic Device ticket. Electronic Device convictions are particularly damaging to your driving record and have very serious ramifications.
Pleading guilty to any moving violation traffic ticket adds points and moving violation convictions to your driving record which can result in increased insurance premiums, DMV fees and potential driver's license suspensions.

Texting & Driving

Never Plead Guilty to an Electronic Device Violation

The Law governing Electronic Device Tickets

New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law ("VTL") contains two sections that prohibit the use of cell phones and electronic device while driving.   VTL 1225-c governs the use of Cell Phones and VTL 1225-d governs the use of Portable Electronic Devices. Electronic Devices include cell phones as well as PDA's, laptops, and gaming devices used 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.

In this article we will discuss the law governing the use of Electronic Device Tickets.  To read about the law governing the use of Cell Phones, please refer to my Blog, "Should I Plead Guilty to a Cell Phone Ticket?"

Electronic Device Law - New York VTL 1225-d

NY VTL 1225-d(1) states that "no person shall operate a motor vehicle while using any portable electronic device while such vehicle is in motion."  The statute further defines many of the terms used in its prohibition against the use of mobile telephones including:

  • "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, 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.
  • "Using" shall mean 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.

As such, in New York, you may not use any Electronic Device while operating a motor vehicle.

 How Many POINTS is an Electronic Device Ticket in New York?

5 points are added to your license for a Electronic Device violation conviction or guilty plea.

Suspensions:  Note that If you receive 11 points in an 18-month period, your driver license will be suspended.  To learn more, see About the NY State Driver Point System.

What is the FINE for an Electronic Device Ticket in New York?  

Violation Minimum/Maximum
1st offense $50/$200
2nd offense within 18 months $50/$250
3rd offense within 18 months $50/$450

In addition, a surcharge of $88 or $93 is added to the fine depending upon the court.

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What are the PENALTIES for PROBATIONARY & JUNIOR LICENSE drivers who receive an Electronic Device Ticket?

Violation Penalty
1st conviction Suspension of the license or permit for 120 days
2nd conviction within 6 months of restoration of permit, probationary or junior license Revocation of at least one year

CDL Drivers & Electonic Device Tickets?

VTL 1225-d contains additional provisions pertaining specifically to the operators of commercial motor vehicles who use an electronic device.

  • a motor carrier must not allow or require their drivers to use cell phones or texting devices while driving
  • a mobile telephone used by a person who operates a commercial motor vehicle shall not be deemed a "hands-free mobile telephone" when the driver presses more than a single button to dial or answer the phone
  • a commercial vehicle driver is not allowed to make a phone call or use a texting device while the vehicle is temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays
  • a commercial vehicle driver who holds a mobile telephone to, or in the immediate proximity of, an ear while the vehicle is temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays is also presumed to be engaged in a call
  • a commercial vehicle driver who holds a portable electronic device in a conspicuous manner while the vehicle is temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays is presumed to be using the device

In addition to fines assessed for the conviction of an Electronic Device violation, Commercial Drivers are also subject to FMCSA regulations and its additional penalties as follows:

  • No driver may use a hand-held mobile telephone or engage in texting while driving a CMV.  The only occasion where either is permissible is when drivers are communicating with law enforcement officials or other emergency services.
  • Penalties for texting or using a hand-held mobile phone can reach $2,750, as adjusted for inflation, for drivers and $11,000, as adjusted for inflation, for employers who allow or require drivers to text or use a hand-held mobile phone while driving. Second and third offenses result in driver disqualifications for 60 and 120 days, respectively.

 What are the possible DEFENSES to an Electronic Device Ticket?

There are very limited circumstances where Electonic Device use while driving is permissible:

  • The use of a hands-free electronic device
  • Commercial drivers are not operating a commercial motor vehicle while operating a portable electronic device when such vehicle is stopped at the side of, or off, a public highway in a location where such vehicle is not otherwise prohibited from stopping by law
  • The use of an electronic device 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
    • a fire department
    • a police department
  • The use of an electonic device by police or peace officers, members of the fire department or an operator of an emergency vehicle.

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You Need an Experienced Electronic Device Ticket Attorney

The laws governing the use of an Electronic Device while driving are complex and the penalties are significant.  It can add 5 points to your driving record, the fines are costly and the effects on your insurance premium can be severe.  As such, it is important that you consult with an experienced Electronic Device Defense Attorney who knows the governing statutes and the best way to defend your charges in order to get them reduced or dismissed.

Veltry Law, PC has been successfully defending Electronic Device Tickets for over 30 years.  We know what needs to be done in order to protect your license as well as your future.  With our Money-Back Guarantee you can rest assured that we are confident in our ability to get your charges reduced or dismissed.   We will go to court on your behalf and fight to reduce the points, minimize the fines and avoid an increase in your insurance rate.

Please feel free to visit our website or call Veltry Law, PC 24/7 for a free consultation.

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