Cell Phone Ticket in New York

by Adam Rosenblum

Have a question about your cellphone ticket? Post a comment at the bottom of this page and we will get back to you as soon as we can. For a free consultation with our attorneys call us at 888-883-5529 .

How to Fight a Cell Phone Ticket in New York

One of the most common questions we get is how to fight a New York cell phone ticket. This is a multi-faceted answer that depends on the circumstances of your case. There are two basic ways to handle a New York cell phone ticket: at trial, or via a plea bargain settlement. In general, if a cell phone ticket can be negotiated down to a 0-point parking ticket, we would advise our client to take it. Though a fine of up to $150 will be assessed, it is a small price to pay to prevent points from accruing on the person’s driving record.

How to Beat a Cell Phone Ticket in New York

There are a few ways you can beat a New York cell phone ticket: Taking the ticket to trial and being found “not guilty” by the judge via a motion to dismiss (if there are certain errors that make the ticket legally defective or insufficient, for example) If you schedule it for trial and the officer doesn’t show and the judge decides to dismiss the case for lack of prosecution.

ebookThe first way can be a real long shot because if the facts are in dispute and especially if it’s your word against the officer’s word, most of the time the judge will accept the officer’s word over yours (after all, you are a little biased, aren’t you?).

The second way can be very effective, but only under the right circumstances (after all, most tickets are accurately written or contain minor defects that don’t render the ticket invalid).

The third way is a long shot because even if the officer fails to show, the judge can, and most likely will, reschedule the trial. Contrary to popular belief, there is no rule, law, or policy that requires a judge to dismiss a ticket simply because the officer fails to show up for trial. A judge is free to reschedule the trial at will. These reasons serve to reinforce our general belief that if a reduction to a 0-point offense can be negotiated, that is the best option.

New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1225-c and 1225-d

New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) contains two distinct laws related to use of portable electronic devices while driving:

  • VTL 1225-c Use of Mobile Telephone
  • VTL 1225-d Use of Portable Electronic Devices (includes texting while driving)

Remember, a VTL 1225(c) ticket is entirely different than a VTL 1225(d) ticket. 1225(c) is a cell phone ticket (“c” for cell) while 1225(d) is an electronic device ticket (“d” for device).

If you received a 1225(c) ticket, the officer is alleging that you were actually engaged in a call at the time he observed you. For 1225(d) tickets, it is irrelevant whether you were engaged in a call or not. If you were texting or using an app, you can be given a 1225(d) ticket.

What many people don’t realize is that a 1225(d) ticket can also be given for devices other than phones. A GPS, MP3 player, camera, or other hand-held electronic device also counts under the 1225(d) law.

New York State Resident With a Cell Phone Conviction in New York

If you hold a New York State driver’s license and were to be convicted of driving while using a cell phone or texting while driving, NY DMV will add 5 points to your driver’s license. As you already know, points on your license can lead to increased auto insurance and ultimately to a license suspension if you accrue 11 points within 18 months. What you may not know is that you can fight your cell phone ticket – and beat it, or get it reduced.

Out-Of-State Resident With a Cell Phone Conviction in New York

Even if you do not live in New York State, New York will create a driving record based on your name, date of birth, and mailing address and points for violations that you have been convicted of in New York will add up. If you get 11 points in New York State within 18 months, you will lose your right to drive in New York State regardless of whether you hold a New York license or a driver’s license from another state. Not only that, chances are a cell phone ticket conviction in New York will appear on your home state’s driver’s license. If your home state assesses points like New York does, points will accrue and you can be looking at an auto insurance hike and a license suspension if you accrue enough points. Click here for more information regarding out-of-state residents.

Traffic Violations Defense

For a free consultation about experienced and vigorous defense of your New York cell phone ticket or any other traffic violation, call 1-888-883-5529, or contact us to tell us about your case.
We can produce results. But don’t take our word for it. See our reviews from our past clients.
Note: New York increased the penalties for cell phone tickets to 5 points as of 6/2013.

339 thoughts on “Cell Phone Ticket in New York

    • Vanessa – While I would need to see the ticket before giving a more certain answer, generally judges are hesistate to dismiss cases for clerical errors.

      RLF Attorneys on
    • Using an electronic portable device while operating a motor vehicle is a 5 point offense in NY. This jurisdiction is generally strict with cell phone violations. If you would like to discuss your options, you may reach us at 888-883-5529 for a free consultation.

      RLF Attorneys on
  1. I received a 1225D today in the City of Oswego. I did not receive a supporting deposition. I don’t know what he saw but it took him almost 10 from when I last “used my phone” until he pulled me over. I only assume it’s what he saw because I was navigating my way home. I finally got into 104w bound and knew exactly where to go after that so I decided to take me phone out of the window mount and turn the gps off to conserve battery and most importantly to me, data. I even second guessed myself because he said he saw me on the phone so after he pulled me over, I entered to page to “clear apps” and nothing was there. Therefore, I was not using my phone for any other purpose. In fact, I answered a call over the Bluetooth in my car and was in mid conversation when I was getting pulled over. I had no need to be on my phone at that point. Could he have mistaken my snack or drinks in my hand as my phone? How should I proceed?

    Sarah on
    • Sarah – There are two statutes that are relevant here – one prohibits speaking on a telephone, the other forbids the improper use of an electronic portable device. It appears that you may have been in violation of both of these laws. I therefore suggest that you contact us to discuss your options. You may reach us for a free consultation at 888-883-5529 .

      RLF Attorneys on
  2. I received a 1225d ticket today. I am a volunteer firefighter and I have a responder app on my phone which sounds the same as other apps going off. It sounded and all
    I did was look at it for one second to make sure it wasn’t an emergency call. Unfortunately the officer saw me at that second. Doesn’t part 3 under the 1225D law cover me and make me exempt from the ticket ? What’s the chances of beating it. It was a young rookie cop that wouldn’t even listen to my reasons.

    Mike on
    • he issue with the argument you are presenting is that you are admitting to the underlying offense in question. The further problem is that you were admittedly unaware whether it was an emergency call. Therefore, I would generally suggest avoiding this line of argument, and rather questioning whether the officer is able to meet their burden of proof here.

      RLF Attorneys on
  3. Hi

    I got a cell phone ticket from an officer who didn’t see the offense but heard it across his radio. The Officers where doing a detail where they had one officers hiding some where and a few officers in the street motioning over drivers for various offense. I wasn’t on my cell phone and usually rest my hand on my head. They car I was driving had blue tooth. I told him that but he said I was either talking or texting. Going to trial with it. He didn’t see the alleged offense and I have the right to face my accuser of who I don’t know who it is. Does aspect of teamwork and the officer who wrote the ticket invalidate the ticket? Also should I print out my cell phone records from my carriers website?

    Rick on
    • First and foremost, what offense you are actually being charged with is vital. There are two types of cell phone tickets – one is given for speaking on a phone, the other is for the ‘improper use of a portable electronic device.’ If you are charged with the second of these offenses, (1225(d)), then any cell phone records you produce will not be relevant.

      RLF Attorneys on
  4. Hi, I wanted to pose a question regarding a violation I received on a tunnel entrance in NYC. My passenger asked me to take off my phone from its dashboard stand so she could exchange power cords and as I removed it, I pointed at a cop while my phone in my hand who promptly noted what he believed was a cellphone use violation. However the phone screen was off, not being used in any form, and the phone was always at arm’s length from my ear.

    Would this still qualify as “immediate proximity” as defined in VTL Sec 1225c which would allow the officer to assume cellphone use? Would bringing my passenger to the court hearing assist in my chances of dropping the ticket? Thanks so much and look forward to your response.

    John on
    • John – whether this will be seen as ‘immediate proximity’ will largely depend on what exactly the officer says. Thus, the outcome on your case will be highly fact sensitive. While you may bring a witness to court with you, I have generally found that their testimony does not aid in your case.

      RLF Attorneys on
  5. I received a ticket for being on a mobile device.
    The trooper provided a deposition, and I had told her that I was messing with my window control panel because it was broken and my window will not roll down and she stated that I had my phone out in my right hand in front of me for viewing with a black case. And I told her it was in my pocket. And she then stated that I pulled my phone out of my right pocket with a black case.. I did have my phone in my hand but I was not texting and driving. I don’t know why I didn’t just tell her that but I got nervous. What do I tell the judge with a plea of not guilty but with the supporting deposition?

    Taylor on
    • Taylor – You still have the option to plead not guilty. In New York, it is a violation to be holding a portable electronic device in your hand while driving. However, depending on which court is handling the ticket, it is possible to get this ticket reduced or dismissed. Contact us for a consultation to discuss how to contest this ticket.

      RLF Attorneys on
  6. Hello,

    I received a violation of 1225D today in SUllivan. I was driving along and picked up my phone for ~3 seconds to check my GPS and change a song. What are the chances that this could bargained down?

    Van on
    • Xaverius – Each county differs in their policy regarding available plea offers for cell phone violations. If you would like to discuss in further detail, you may contact us for a free consultation at 888-883-5529 .

      RLF Attorneys on
  7. I recieved 1225d this morning while using a gps on my phone. I was moving about 5 miles per hour, not that it matters. Whats the chances of getting out of the points?

    Chuck Tice on
  8. I received a 1225d ticket. However I was not in violation. I was in my vechile, stopped at a red light (in traffic which was backed up for a mile), with my vehicle in park. My vechile was not in the driving gear nor was I operating the vehicle at the time my cellular device was seen in my hand from a police officer who pulled up beside me. The reason my cell phone was in my hand was because I was receiving multiple phone calls from my mother who was in a state of emergency from feeling faint from waiting outside on a corner for me to pick her up after her chemotherapy treatment.

    I understand that this may not be seen as an emergency by all but it may (and should) to most. With that said, is it worth defending myself along with her present in court to the judge by pleading not guilty. Do you believe this is worth defending with both facts to prove that I am not guilty? Or is it a waste of time because the judge doesn’t have a soul and will believe the “good ole cops word” anyway?

    Seamus on
    • Seamus, From the information you have provided, I believe the most efficient way of handling this issue is by attending the court hearing. I strongly suggest you contact my office as I would like to clarify a few facts surrounding this ticket that are crucial to the outcome. —- (eh?? idk I might of half assed this one)

      RLF Attorneys on
  9. I was driving my wife, my two kids, and two of their friends to a drive in movie whose route led us through a town notorious for speeding traps. So I was intentionally mindful of my speed.

    I have a 2016 vehicle equipped with hands free mike and speaker that automatically engages to my iPhone 6 when Bluetooth is on (and it always is). I put my phone in a holder on the dashboard, and there it sat for all but a minute on our drive (I’ll explain).

    I get pulled over, the young officer comes to my window and asks if I know why he pulled me over (I knew i wasn’t speeding), and honestly answered, “No, I don’t.” He said, “I saw you talking on your phone.” I said, “No I wasn’t. I’m using it for directions.” Then I took the phone out of the holder and showed him the direction screen on the phone.” He said, “I saw you.” He said, “you can’t even touch it while you are driving.” I said, “I’m, it’s hands free,” and pointed to the speaker and mike above me built into the ceiling of the vehicle. I replied, “I’m not going to argue with you”, and gave him my license. He asked, “Do you have a clean license?” To which I honestly replied, “Yes, I do.” Showing him I wasn’t talking by taking my phone out of it’s dash holder was the only time it was out of the dash holder.

    He came back with my license and said “Yeah, it’s pretty clean.” No, it is very clean except for an out-of-state speeding ticket (Virginia) when I was stupidly rushing to the airport to make a flight home; I missed the flight. He explained the ticket and my options and I assured him I would be showing up on the court date. Then he did this weird thing, he stuck his head and shoulders into my window (to the point I had to recoil back) so he could see the kids and told them, “you see this kids, never talk on your phone while your driving.” Crickets. The kids (all in 7th grade) were wide eyed and stunned as they knew I was not on my phone.

    I read and practice to never argue with an officer for a traffic stop as that is not the court. However, after driving away, my wife and I tried to figure out why he thought I was talking on the phone. I was talking a lot, because there were 5 other people in the car, so I’m sure he saw my lips moving. However, what was I holding in my hand that he thought was a phone an d then it dawned on me. The only two things I could remember holding while driving were my sunglasses and (bingo) a small hard black plastic water proof container made for holding change, cash, a credit card, keys, etc., when you are going in the water. It’s got a thin rope that you can wear around your neck or tie to your bathing suit. It is almost exactly the size of a cell phone. The reason I had it with us was for my son to use at the drive-in (they have an arcade and mini golf) to hold money I give him to wear around his neck. He has ADHD and loses everything, and money spills out of his pockets at this drive in because in addition to a play ground they have huge inflatables that kids bounce, climb and slide on before the movie. I was holding it in my right hand near my face telling my son (who was in the seat behind me) to take it and keep his money in it. I’ll bet I wasn’t holding it for more than 10 seconds, but I’m positive now that must be what he saw, and with my mouth moving, assumed it was a phone.

    My iPhone has the “Hey Siri” function, so I don’t even have to touch it when it is in the holder, I just say “Hey Siri,” and the phone comes on, and then I just say Siri, get me directions to the Sxlxex Lxkx Drive-in.

    I was not on my phone talking (call records vs the time of ticket demonstrate this.” The phone was in use providing directions, but it was in a dash holder and I was using the hands free feature of the vehicle.

    I can’t prove a negative, but I can offer a preponderance of the evidence because in addition to my explanation for his mistake, I have the phone record (no conversation) and the change case. I also have the hands free equipped vehicle, and the dash holder, which if the officer is honest, he will recall I removed it from the dash holder to show him the phone was in use for directions.

    What are my chances?

    Steve Melnyk on
    • Steve, while the points you argued are valid, the violation written on the ticket plays a vital role in whether your cell phone records will suffice or not. In order to further assist you, please provide the violation number listed on the ticket.

      RLF Attorneys on
  10. Hello! I have received a violation of 1225C2A in Nassau County. The phone was on my right hand, while my left was firmly on the steering wheel, fully attending to the road before me. And since I have no phone holder, I was following my GPS while in my right hand. I was not speaking into the device, but simply holding it where visible at the time the trooper observed me. Does 1225C2A, not apply I’m my case?

    David on
    • David – due to the complicated procedures involved in handling these types of violations in this jurisdiction, I strongly suggest you contact us to discuss further. You may reach us at 888-883-5529 .

      RLF Attorneys on

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