Common Questions About Cell Phone Tickets

Clients often contact me about their cell phone tickets and tell me that they are not guilty because:

“I was only checking a map”
“I was playing a song”
“I was checking the time”

The truth is that all of these activities constitute a violation of VTL 1225-d, Use of Portable Electronic Devices. In that section, use of a portable electronic device is defined as the following:

(b) “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, or other electronic data.

“Holding” is an element of the offense. That being said, you can touch your phone if the phone is affixed to your vehicle. There are a number of devices that attach the phone to the air vent on your car (for example Kenu Air Frame). These hands free devices are a great way to avoid this increasingly common violation.