Cell Phone Ticket Challenges You Want to Avoid
Thanksgiving kicks off the start of a busy holiday season and Americans will be traveling to spend time with friends and family. This Thanksgiving, AAA projects 50.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home. With this many drivers on the road, congestion is likely and motorists may be tempted to pick up their phone and use it while driving. Don’t. Here’s why:
Driving while using a cell phone in New York is a 5-point ticket and costs $50 – $450 in fines. In an attempt to deter people from using their cell phones, counties throughout New York have instituted tough penalties. Specifically,  Nassau County has recently instituted the “Distracted Drivers Education Program.” Under the program there is a strict plea bargaining policy with respect to cell phone tickets. If you receive a cell phone ticket in Nassau County, you have four options:

 

Pleading guilty to the original charge will cause you to incur 5-points on your license and a fine of $50-$450, plus applicable surcharges. Challenging the sufficiency of the ticket requires a motion to be submitted to the Court. Recently, the police have become aware of the issues raised in these motions and are more appropriately drafting these tickets, making said challenges more difficult. If you choose to enter into the “Distracted Driver Education Program,” you will be required to admit to using the cell phone, pay a fine of $283-$338, plus applicable surcharges, and then purchase a device for your vehicle and an app for your phone, which costs $125. These devices can detect if you use your cell phone while driving.  The device must be installed for a minimum of 90-days. If, after 90-days, you have not used your cell phone in your vehicle, your 5-point cell phone ticket will be reduced to a parking violation with no points. However,  Nassau County will retain the fines and surcharges you previously paid. If you enter the program, but fail to purchase the device, you will maintain the 5-point cell phone ticket. If you purchase the device but uninstall them prior to 90-days, you will be required to plead guilty to a 4-point moving violation.

Aside from obvious safety concerns there are harsh financial and insurance implications so please think twice before using your cell phone while driving!

       
 

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