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What Happens if I am Caught Texting While Driving in New York State?

Texting while driving is among the most common traffic infractions our firm sees. If you are reading this post, you are most likely wondering what the penalties are for texting while driving in New York State. Please continue reading and speak with our New York traffic violations attorney to learn more about these penalties and how our firm can help you fight them. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What are the penalties for texting while driving in New York State?

New York State is one of the toughest states on those who text or otherwise illegally use cell phones while driving. In fact, New York was the first state to make holding a cell phone while behind the wheel illegal way back in 2001. That being said, when someone is charged with a cell phone violation in New York State, they will face a wide array of penalties, including points on their license. Unfortunately, in most cases, these points contribute to additional penalties, such as skyrocketing insurance premiums, and, in the worst cases, license suspensions. For example, cell phone violations come with automatic 5 points on your license, and if you have already accumulated a certain number of points on your license, you may face a license suspension, which can have a drastic effect on your life. Additionally, for a cell phone violation, you will most likely also face the following fines:

  • First offense: $50-$200, with a surcharge of up to $93
  • A second offense within 18 months: $50-$250, with a surcharge of up to $93
  • Third or subsequent offense within 18 months: $50-$450, with a surcharge of up to $93
  • Probationary or junior drivers with a Class DJ or MJ driver’s license or learner’s permit who receive a cell phone violation: In these cases, these drivers will automatically have their driving privileges suspended for 120 days upon conviction. If you are caught doing this a second time within six months of the first conviction, you will most likely have your driving privileges revoked for at least one year after the initial suspension.

Finally, you should understand that if you get any additional points on your license within 18 months of your cell phone violation ticket, you may also be subjected to the Driver Responsibility Assessment, which is a $100 annual fine for three years.

Are there any exceptions to cell phone use while driving?

There are a few. If you can prove that you were using a cell phone without hands-free technology to contact emergency services regarding a serious accident on the road, a fire, a reckless driver, or any other safety risk, you may not receive a ticket.


Kevin T. Conway has over 30 years of experience as a Spring Valley criminal attorney handling DUI, DWI, traffic violations, violent crimes, sex crimes, illegal gun possession, shoplifting, and juvenile crimes. Attorney Conway is also experienced in commercial law matters, zoning law, and estate planning. If you need a Rockland County criminal lawyer, contact our Spring Valley office for a free consultation.

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