The penalty for driving while using a cellular phone or any portable electronic device (i.e. Tablet, GPS device) is now 5 DMV points. Your first step in preserving your rights is to contact an experienced traffic attorney. An experienced traffic attorney can review the facts surrounding the incident and make an informed decision as to the best way to proceed.
In Suffolk County, it is possible with the help of an attorney to have the underlying charge, pursuant to Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) 1225(c) or (d) reduced from the 5 points to a reduced charge. This reduction can help reduce the potential significant increase a conviction under this statute would have for your auto insurance premium. It is also important to note that 6 points of your record during any 18 month period will result in a DMV-imposed Driver Responsibility Fee starting at $300.00 ($100 for 3 years) and increase depending on the number of points over and above the 6. If convicted under this charge in Suffolk County, total fines (including mandatory surcharges and administrative fees) total $293.00.
Furthermore, if you have a prior conviction of driving while using a mobile device, there may not be an opportunity for the prosecution to offer a reduction and may insist that the motorist plea to the charge. However, there are several methods by which an experienced traffic attorney can cross-examine the officer which may raise doubt as to whether the offense was committed. There can be issues as to length of time the officer observed you, where the device was located in proximity to your person, or whether there was some medical emergency that necessitated the use of said device.
It should be noted that if the motorist has an acceptable driving record (as per the prosecutors in SCTPVA), it may be possible for the motorist to enroll in a distracted driver diversion program in Suffolk County. This program is run through the SCTPVA via EAC. Should the motorist attend and successfully complete the program, it may be possible that an experienced traffic attorney can achieve a reduction of the charge to zero points. But the motorist must be sure to comply with the strict directives of the Court, otherwise the plea reduction can be rescinded.
If you require an experienced traffic attorney, please call The Law Offices of Michael W. Alpert at (516) 280-7288 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.