So, you are stalled in a traffic jam and you just couldn’t resist
checking your texts or play a game while you wait. I mean you can’t
go anywhere until the traffic moves, why not play a game while you’re
waiting. Traffic jams are the hit parade of the day going in and coming
out of LA every day. But, guess who else has nothing to do but wait for
the traffic to move or write a cell phone ticket because Joe or Josie
Citizen decided to call home while halted by traffic? That’s right,
the California Highway Patrol (CHP) on their motorcycle on the median
or break-down lane are waiting for an infraction. They are bored too and
they get paid to write tickets for you to pay.
Many employers feel very strongly about their employees not using a hand-held
device while driving, particularly while driving one of their commercial
motor vehicles (CMV), although there are no points assessed for a cell
phone ticket, any violation for which you are convicted, you must inform
your employer within thirty days, regardless of whose vehicle you were
using. Therefore, a conviction could put your job in jeopardy in the case
of employers who have a zero-defect mentality.
California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 23123
CVC 23123 applies to cell phone use while driving and states in subparagraph a.,
“A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless
telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured
to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner
while driving.” Subparagraph c discusses the use of the phone to
call emergency numbers, such as law enforcement (LE), the fire department
(FD), medical provider, or other emergency services. Additionally, there
are exceptions for truckers using hand-held devices with a push-to-talk
application, which could be an element of your defense.
A hand-held device can come in handy for many important functions in your
car, but the best option is to get a hands-free device installed, then
you can use it for Global Positioning Services (GPS) and for calls to
home to see if anyone needs anything, or even taking business calls in
route without the distraction of holding the phone to your ear or texting.
The last is a definite no-no while driving. No matter how you feel or
how physical adept you believe you are, texting while driving kills, period.
However, drivers under 18 years of age cannot use the hands-free exception.
Using the “Trial by Written Declaration” Defense
In many cases, this is the best approach to a cell phone ticket. Just email us,
email@example.com a scanned copy of your cell phone ticket and the reason you believe you
should not have been cited with a violation of CVC 23123, such as you
were not using your phone or you were calling for emergency assistance,
etc. and we will give you the legal basis for dismissal that fits your
situation. Everyone has an excuse for why they should not have to pay
a ticket, what the judge wants to read in your declaration is a legal
justification. Your defense could be that you were not driving, you were
stuck in traffic for 40 minutes, put the car in park and checked your
GPS for an alternate route to use once you started moving again. There
are no points assessed because this is not a moving violation so traffic
school will not help. The only option is to fight the ticket or fold and
admit guilt. If you were not guilty, why should you pay?
As stated above, the written declaration is only valid if you decide not
to fight the ticket further, and truthfully for the first-time cell phone
ticket that may be the wisest choice. If the judge did not like the legal
justification on the written declaration, telling him in person will likely
not make him like it any better. In addition, now you must pay court cost
and additional attorney expenses. Whereas that is what we do, we see no
sense of you wasting money to fight a first-time ticket. However, if you
feel strongly about your innocence and want to pursue a court trial, we
will vigorously defend you.
Bigger & Harman, APC
Many other attorneys handle a variety of areas of law, we only represent
clients who have traffic tickets. We spend every day in the courtrooms
in several counties in southern California, Los Angeles, Riverside, San
Bernardino, Kern, and Tulare, to mention a few. We know the judges, the
court clerk, and most of the LE officers who write tickets and often appear
to explain their rationale for their citing an individual for a ticket.
These are the people we meet and greet daily, so when there is a question,
occasionally we can work it out with the LE officer prior to court. Give
us a call today if you have received a cell phone ticket or any unjust
traffic violation you wish to dispute, 661-349-9300. En español,
llame al 661-349-9755.