Everyone’s holiday budget is different. Regardless of whether you have an abundance of cash to spend on gifts or have to scrimp and save, it’s best to avoid unnecessary expenses around this time of year. That makes it all the more important you do what you can to avoid getting hit with a traffic ticket. A cell phone ticket in NY in particular—whether for making a call without a hands-free device or for texting while driving—can be far costlier than you think. Below are just a few ways that a cell phone ticket can wreck your holiday budget.
- The fine. A New York cell phone ticket can result in a fine averaging $138-150.
- The surcharge. Every moving violation in NY, including a cell phone ticket, requires you to pay a state surcharge, which costs between $88 and $93.
- The DRA. One of the biggest potential costs of a cell phone ticket is the Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA). This applies to any driver who has six or more points on his or her license. A cell phone ticket in NY carries five points, which means if you already have one or more points on your license, you will be required to pay the DRA. The DRA costs $100 per year for three years, plus $25 per year for three years for each point over six. For example, if you already have three points on your license for a red light violation, the DRA after the cell phone ticket will cost you $450 over three years. That alone could eat up half or more of a holiday shopping budget!
- The insurance impact. As a New York driver, you are likely to see your auto insurance rates increase if you pay or are convicted of a cell phone violation. Unfortunately, there is no way to know just how much your insurance will increase. Each insurer has its own formula. The exact increase will depend on your past driving history, your age, the number of violations currently on your driving record and the severity of those violations. Even your income level can determine how much your rates will go up. No matter what the case, it’s likely to restrict your holiday spending for several years.
A Second Offense is Much Worse
One cell phone ticket can be expensive, but the penalties for a second cell phone ticket in 18 months are much worse. The fine for a second cell phone ticket in NY can cost as much as $200, plus another $88 to $93 NYS surcharge. Then there is the impact of the points from a second cell phone ticket. A second offense adds another five points on top of the five points from your first offense. Those 10 points would require you to pay a DRA of $600 over three years.
Moreover, with 10 points on your license, you would be only one point away from a suspended license (a NY driver license is automatically suspended at 11 points). A suspended license would add even more costs, on top of the inconveniences of not being able to drive during the holiday.
How to Fight a Cell Phone Ticket in NY
Fighting a cell phone ticket can be difficult but it is not impossible. The exact defense you would use depends on the circumstances surrounding the offense, how much the officer was able to observe (i.e. did he see you holding the phone for several seconds or was it a brief glimpse of you holding the phone?). Regardless, your best bet will be to hire an experienced attorney who can attempt to either get the ticket dismissed or reduced it to a zero-point violation. In the latter case, you may still end up paying a fine, but you will avoid the biggest budget-busters—the points, the DRA, the risk of a suspension and the insurance increase.
Don’t let a cell phone ticket ruin your holiday plans. If you or someone you love has been charged with cell phone use, texting while driving or any other traffic violation, speak with an attorney right away. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled traffic ticket attorneys with experience fighting all types of driving-related offenses. Get a free consultation by calling 888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm today.