The AB-47, Distracted Driving amendment to CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 23123.5, Driving Offenses, allows the DMV to assess one negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) point to your CA motor vehicle driving record (MVR).
Before AB-47, when a driver received a cell phone use ticket, they paid the approximately $150 fine at the Bakersfield Courthouse and went on about their business. If they received a second, they paid about $260, but still, there was no real teeth to the penalty.
In addition to being hazardous for the driver, cell phone use or any activity that distracts the driver has increased the number of auto accidents. It had become too easy for a driver to use their cell phone while driving, divert their attention from the road, and, in many cases, cause serious accidents with property damage, injuries, and deaths.
However, some truly were not using their phone when they got a cell phone use ticket.
Many sitting in traffic or at a red light thought it was OK to:
- Talk on the phone
- Check or send a text message
- Use their GPS navigation to find a store or business address
It is not. Before you pick up that phone, you must be off the road and parked. So, pull over or better yet, get it mounted if it’s not part of your vehicle’s communication system.
“(c) A handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device may be operated in a manner requiring the use of the driver’s hand while the driver is operating the vehicle only if both of the following conditions are satisfied:
(1) The handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is mounted on a vehicle’s windshield in the same manner a portable Global Positioning System (GPS) is mounted … on or affixed to a vehicle’s dashboard or center console in a manner that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road.
(2) The driver’s hand is used to activate or deactivate a feature or function of the handheld wireless telephone or wireless communications device with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.”
Therefore, a $20 mount could save you a $150 fine for a first-time cell phone use ticket.
What Is the Best Defense for a Cell Phone Use Ticket?
There is no perfect answer to this question. As with any traffic ticket, it depends on the circumstances.
We could consider and use various strategies to organize your defense. One strategy we might employ is to demonstrate that your cell phone use was within the parameters of the traffic code, your phone was mounted, or you were dialing 911 in case of an emergency.
A driver under 18 cannot use a cell phone while driving, regardless of its configuration, but a law enforcement officer cannot use that as a primary reason for a stop. They cannot assume you are too young to use a cell phone while driving or even that you were using a cell phone. Maybe you were singing along with the car stereo.
However, it must be genuine. We will not participate in a ruse or allow you to perjure yourself.
We might be able to negotiate a non-moving violation with a fine only or gain a dismissal, though there are no promises. Only the traffic court judge can promise a dismissal.
Our knowledgeable and experienced (over a decade in CA traffic courts) attorneys can help you avoid harsher penalties.
Contact Bigger & Harman in Bakersfield, CA
Since AB-47 was enacted in July ’21, drivers must take a different view of cell phone tickets. When ticketed, consulting a traffic ticket defense attorney like those at Bigger & Harman could save you nearly $2,000 in increased auto insurance premiums over the three years it would remain on your driving record.
Our Central and Eastern California Kern County ticket attorneys at Bigger& Harman, APC, have over ten years of experience defending traffic tickets. We will use our experience to assist you because we know what it takes to challenge a ticket successfully.
It’s imperative not to get a second conviction or paid fine for cell phone use while driving. However, since we have no way of knowing which ticket will be easier to defend, your best option is to dispute every cell phone ticket in Bakersfield Courthouse.
Call the Bakersfield Traffic Law Team of Bigger & Harman, APC, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The Bankrate.com article, Average cost of car insurance in CA for 2023.
CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 23123.5, Driving Offenses.
CA AB-47, Distracted Driving.