James M. Wagman, Attorney at Law
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A texting and driving traffic violation requires legal help


Since distracted driving has become so prevalent a safety issue in New York and across the nation, law enforcement has stepped up its attempts to tamp down on the activity. For people who are accused of texting and driving or taking part in other behaviors with a device behind the wheel, being cited for a traffic violation in this category can be problematic. There can be a fine and other penalties if the driver is found to have been committing this type of traffic violation. It is critical for a driver to understand the importance of a strong defense against these charges.

In recent years, as more people have smartphones with a seemingly endless number of features, legislators have taken steps to penalize those who are violating the law against using a smartphone or other device when driving. Being cited and found guilty can result in points on the driver's license as well as fines. While many might simply accept the penalties, this can lead to raised insurance rates and if the driver accrues enough points on his or her license, the loss of driving privileges. Defending against the allegations is imperative.

When charged with texting and driving after June 2013, a driver will have five points on his or her driver's license. The fine for a first offense can range from $50 to $200. A third offense within 18 months will result in a fine of $450. For people who do not have full driving privileges yet - those with learner's permits - a texting and driving citation can lead to a driver's license suspension for 120 days. For people who drive professionally such as truck or taxi drivers, simply holding the phone can be sufficient to a presumption of using it while driving. People might think they can use their device when stopped at a red light - even this is not true.

When cited for a traffic violation related to using a phone while driving, the defense is key. There could have been a justifiable reason for the person to be using the phone while driving. There might have been a mistake made by the officer during the traffic stop. Or there could be evidence that the driver was not texting nor reading texts at the time. Regardless, having legal assistance is the first step for a defense of distracted driving allegations or any other traffic violations.

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