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New York Traffic Violations Legal Blog

What does texting and driving actually mean in New York?

Smart phones have become a staple in New York residents' backpacks, purses, and pockets. It is rare to find a person who has never used one of these powerful handheld devices and many people own them for use in their personal and professional lives. For all the convenience that phones have added to individuals' lives, they have also been targeted by lawmakers as potential distractions to individuals who get behind the wheels of vehicles.

In New York, a person can receive significant fines if they are caught texting and driving. However, in some cases, a person may be accused of this infraction when they are not sending text messages. This post will outline what conduct is prohibited in New York when it comes to using a cell phone in a car, but readers should seek their own advice concerning their particular legal challenges.

Can I be sent to jail for speeding?

Under the law, a New York driver is speeding if they operate their car above the posted speed limit in a particular area or zone. Therefore, a person driving 27 miles per hour in a 25 miles per hour zone is speeding, but it is a stretch of logic to suggest that this person should face the same penalties as someone who drove 90 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour speed zone.

For this reason, the penalties for speeding are assessed based on how far above the speed limit the driver was going. In New York, a person who speeds less than 10 miles per hour over the posted limit may be sentenced to up to 15 days in jail; they may also be filed up to $150. However, if a driver speeds more than 10 miles per hour over the posted limit, they may be sentenced to jail for up to 30 days.

Mistakes and problems can affect field sobriety tests

As some readers may not know, field sobriety tests are physical assessments that law enforcement officials implement to determine if drivers are operating their vehicles while intoxicated. Many jurisdictions, including New York, use several standardized tests to examine drivers' sobriety and, despite the relative common application of these assessments, mistakes are sometimes made. When problems arise in the field sobriety testing process, individuals may be wrongly accused of driving while drunk.

For example, one test that is often used to assess a driver's sobriety is the one leg stand. This seemingly simple test requires a subject to stand on one leg and hold their balance before switching to the other side. However, several different factors can impact its results.

Representation for individuals facing alleged traffic violations

The Fourth of July is a popular time of year for New York residents to pack up their vehicles and take road trips for vacations with family and friends. While most people enjoy relaxing outings with the people who mean the most to them, some individuals fall into the unpleasant experience of being stopped by law enforcement officials for driving infractions. Because of these alleged acts, drivers can receive tickets, citations and possibly be arrested for committing traffic violations.

Traffic violations can take on many forms and can be punished in different ways. Depending upon how many speeding tickets, moving violations or drunk driving charges a person has on their record, their sanctions may be much worse than those of others. To avoid the consequences of traffic violation convictions and to protect their driving records, individuals who are stopped this holiday week may choose to consult with defense attorneys about their legal options.

What is a moving violation?

Readers of this blog may have received a ticket for a moving violation. Moving violations differ from non-moving violations for exactly the reason they sound: they occur when a vehicle is in motion. Unlike non-moving violations, which may be cited for illegal parking or illegal vehicle modifications, moving violations occur when drivers break the laws that govern safe driving practices.

Traffic violations can take on many forms. One of the most common moving violations that drivers are ticketed for are right-of-way violations. If a driver has the right of way on a roadway, then other drivers must yield to them. A driver with a protected turn signal or green light, or a driver who is turning right generally has the right of way over drivers making other driving actions. If a driver turns in front of or overtakes another driver's right of way, then the first driver may have committed a moving violation.

Speed limits change on controlled highways

One of the few places that a New Yorker can legally drive 65 miles per hour is on a controlled highway, and only then if the location where they are operating their vehicle is posted as having such a limit. In the state of New York, highways and interstates can have different speeds in different places and it is up to drivers to know and recognize when speed limits change.

For example, in a rural setting the speed limit on an interstate could be 65 miles per hour since the threat of traffic and other road hazards is relatively low. However, if a driver stays on that interstate as it passes through a congested metropolitan area that speed limit may decrease and a driver who is operating at 65 miles per hour could be doing so in violation of the law.

Texting regulations apply to commercial carriers

Many states including New York have penalized texting and driving as a form of distracted driving. Legislators hope to protect individuals from harm by making it illegal for motor vehicle operators to use smartphones and other hand-held electronic devices while they are driving. Prohibitions against texting and driving extend beyond personal drivers though; commercial drivers can face serious penalties if they are found to be texting and driving in their rigs.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration a commercial driver may lose their specialized license if they violate the entity's texting and driving regulations. The prohibition is broad and applies to all hand-held device use. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration defines using a hand-held device as holding a device in one's hand, dialing by pressing more than one button or reaching out of one's seat to locate a device.

Fight speeding tickets to preserve your driving record

A person's driving record is the list of traffic offenses and citations that they have amassed over time when behind the wheel of a car. A person who is convicted of speeding, failing to yield, running red lights or other traffic offenses may have a number of items included on their New York driving record. As a person collects offenses on their record, points against them will accumulate.

The Driver Violation Point System tracks the convictions for driving offenses that a person secures. As a person's points total increase, the possible penalties against them also increase. If a person's points total exceeds a threshold level, then they may lose their license.

You can be ticketed for driving below the speed limit in New York

Many times, often due simply to the flow of traffic, a person in New York may drive above the posted speed limit. While they may feel justified in doing so, the fact remains that speeding is against the law in New York and those who violate the speed limit can be ticketed.

Some people may feel it is prudent, then, to drive slower than the speed limit. After all, there should be no problem with that, right? Actually, a person could be issued a speeding ticket in certain circumstances, even if he or she was driving below the posted speed limit.

Don't believe everything you see about traffic violations

People in New York may have seen an image on Facebook or another social media account that has gone viral, depicting a ticket for distracted driving in the state of New York in the amount of $850. Despite the fact that this image has been shared nearly 250,000 times, it serves as a prime example that you cannot believe everything you see.

That is because the entire image is fake. The image appears to show a distracted driving traffic ticket indicating that such an infraction would result in a $850 fine. However, upon closer inspection one can see that some of the words on the ticket have varying colors and are of different degrees of sharpness. Moreover, the section of law cited on the ticket actually is not related to distracted driving at all. Finally, a distracted driving ticket in New York will not result in a $850 fine. The maximum fine for distracted driving in the state is $400 less, at $450.

Call 212-257-8321 to receive a free, no-obligation ticket evaluation from The Law Office of Craig Bondy or reach us by email.

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