The cell phone ticket in California sure got a lot more complicated after 1 July 2021, when AB-47, Distracted Driving amended CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 23123.5, Driving Offenses, to require the DMV to assess negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points for a second conviction or paid fine.
Before AB-47, you could simply pay the fine, and there were no NOTS points. Now, when you get a cell phone ticket, you should consult a traffic attorney before you pay the fine, even the first ticket, because it might be easier to challenge the first than a second.
What the CA Traffic Code Says About Using a Cell Phone
Some drivers assume that they can answer their cell phone or text because they are stuck in traffic or sitting at a red light. Although there are several exceptions, usually, you must be off the road, with the vehicle in park, or use a hands-free device like those built into your car’s communication system or a mounted phone with the swipe of one finger.
Likewise, if you were calling emergency services, a traffic attorney can clear that up by showing your phone records to the judge. There are many other technicalities and defenses you can use, and a knowledgeable and experienced traffic attorney is the best option.
You might think you can defend yourself in court, but the truth is that most attorneys in other branches of law hire a traffic attorney to resolve their tickets. Traffic court can be intimidating, don’t risk it. It could cost you as much as $2,000 in increased insurance premiums if you get tongue-tied or stage fright.
However, those drivers under 18 are not allowed to use a cell phone while driving, even a hands-free device.
Section 23123.5 of the CVC states, “A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving.”
As stated above, there are exceptions to the traffic code, and you should discuss your specific situation with a traffic attorney. Not only could an attorney save you the $150 for a first offense or the $260 for a second, but they could also save your “good driver’s discount” and the 10-12% higher risk that would be added to your auto insurance premium.
That 30-32% increased auto insurance would mean nearly $700 for the average Californian, who, according to Bankrate, pays $2,190 annually. Depending on several factors, your insurance could be cheaper or more expensive, particularly if you have a teen on the policy, in which case, you might already be paying more than $5,000 a year.
For more information about your cell phone ticket and the consequences of AB-47, read our blog post, Getting a Second Cell Phone Ticket Under AB-47 Will Adversely Affect Your Budget.
Bigger & Harman Can Handle That Cell Phone Ticket in Mono County
Call Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the online contact form to set up a consultation.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The 2021 CA Driver Handbook English y Español.CVC 23123.5, Driving Offenses, and AB-47, Distracted Driving.