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What New York law says about texting and driving

New York state law forbids drivers from operating a motor vehicle while using a cellphone or other portable mobile device. Drivers are not allowed to have a conversation, send a text message or transmit images while a car is in motion. An exception is typically made for those who are calling 911 for assistance. Individuals who are found to be in violation of the state's cellphone law could pay a fine as well as have points added to their licenses.

Those who accrue 11 or more points in 18 months could have their licenses suspended. For a first offense, an individual could be subject to a fine of between $50 and $200. For a second offense that occurrs within 18 months of the first offense, a driver could pay a fine of up to $250. A third subsequent offense within 18 months would result in a fine of at least $50 and as much as $450.

Junior and probationary drivers who are convicted of using their cellphones while driving for the first time will have their licenses suspended for 120 days. A second offense could result in losing a permit or probationary license for up to a year. Commercial truck owners must have policies in place that prohibit drivers from using a phone while operating their vehicles.

Drivers who receive cellphone tickets may be allowed to dispute the facts of the case in court. An individual might assert that he or she was making an emergency call just prior to a traffic stop. It may also be possible to assert that the phone was not in a defendant's hand while in use. A legal professional may be able to help a driver obtain a plea deal or have the ticket dismissed.

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