“I’ll take a No. 3 combo with a Coke and five points on my driver’s license, please,” said no one, ever. Unfortunately for one Canadian man, however, a distracted driving ticket did in fact come with his not-so-happy meal. Back in 2015, A.J. Daoust got a $287 ticket for texting while in line at a Tim Horton’s drive thru lane.
But that’s Canada – it can’t happen to drivers in New York, can it? Not from our perspective. As unsafe as texting in a drive-through may seem, moving violations under New York’s Vehicle & Traffic Law apply to any car which has its engine running on what is considered a “public roadway.” There have been several cases in the past few decades that have ruled that parking lots are not public roadways and that police officers are not permitted to issued citations to drivers in those locations. A drive thru lane at McDonald’s is more or less part of the parking lot, so a driver should not be able to be ticketed there for a New York traffic infraction.
However, that doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to not get one. The fact that this has been argued several times, from as far back as 1978 to 1991 and as recently as 2003 means that theoretically an officer could try it. And if does happen to you, then you’d be within your rights to fight it, but it might be a good idea to hire an attorney who is well-versed in New York traffic law to help you. This might even be a case where you could lose at trial which would necessitate an appeal as in the cases cited above.
A distracted driving ticket such as cell phone use or texting while driving costs up to $150 for a first offense plus a mandatory NYS surcharge of $88-$93. A conviction comes with five points on your license instead of french fries. If you or someone you love has been ticketed for distracted driving or any other traffic ticket in New York, contact an attorney who can supersize your chances of beating the charges and avoiding the calories, er, consequences. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced traffic ticket attorneys with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.