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Texting Tickets

New York VTL Section 1225.D. prohibits the use of a portable electronic device while driving, A conviction for Portable electronic device violation carries 5 points. Texting while driving falls under this provision, however this section of law covers substantially more than just texting. In addition to prohibiting texting, VTL 1225.D prohibits a motorist from holding a portable electronic device, composing emails, reading text from the device, playing games, sending, browsing, accessing, transmitting, retrieving electronic data, saving data, and viewing emails or webpages while driving. It also prohibits and transmitting images while driving.
Under New York Law portable electronic devices includes hand held mobile telephones, laptop computers, PDA’s, pagers, electronic games, broadband personal communication devices, portable computing devices and two way messaging devices.
Under this section of law you cannot use your cell phone as a GPS unless the cell phone is mounted to the vehicle or affixed to the vehicle surface. 
Cell phones may be used, providing they are used along with a hands free device which allows the operator of the vehicle to speak without using either hand.
There is an exception to law regarding phone calls to the police, fire department doctor’s office, hospital, or ambulance regarding an emergency.
For the most part, the penalties for a conviction for using a portable electronic device and the penalties for cell phone violations are basically the same, however a court may view the offenses differently in terms of a pretrial offer. A conviction for a portable device violation carries a minimum fine of $50 and a maximum fine of $150 for first time offenders. A conviction for a second portable electronic device violation within 18 months carries a fine of up to $200, and a conviction for a third portable electronic device violation within 18 months carries a maximum fine of $400. In addition there is also a surcharge that the court is required to impose upon conviction of either $88 or $93 depending on the court.
Those who possess a probationary license, a junior driver’s license with a class DJ or MJ or a learner’s permit are subject to additional penalties upon conviction to portable electronic device violation. A conviction with any of these types of licenses, or a learner’s permit will result in a driver’s license suspension, or suspension of the learners permit for 60 days for the first offense. A second conviction within 6 months will result in a revocation of at least 6 months for a probationary license and 60 days for a Class DJ or MJ driver’s license or learner’s permit.
In New York, the law imposes very harsh penalties for those who are convicted of a portable electronic device violation while operating a commercial motor vehicle with a CDL license. 
Recently, a number of courts in Nassau County, including the Nassau County Traffic and Parking Agency in Hempstead and The Lynbrook Village Court have changed the way in which cell phone tickets and portable electronic device tickets are being prosecutor. Essentially these courts are taking a harder position with regard to these tickets.   
If you received a ticket for texting or using an electronic portable device in Nassau County, it is best if you consult with an attorney.


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