Cell Phone Ticket in New York

Have a question about your cellphone ticket? Post a comment at the bottom of this page and we will get back to you as soon as we can. For a free consultation with our attorneys call us at 888-883-5529.

How to Fight a Cell Phone Ticket in New York

One of the most common questions we get is how to fight a New York cell phone ticket. This is a multi-faceted answer that depends on the circumstances of your case. There are two basic ways to handle a New York cell phone ticket: at trial, or via a plea bargain settlement. In general, if a cell phone ticket can be negotiated down to a 0-point parking ticket, we would advise our client to take it. Though a fine of up to $150 will be assessed, it is a small price to pay to prevent points from accruing on the person’s driving record.

How to Beat a Cell Phone Ticket in New York

There are a few ways you can beat a New York cell phone ticket: Taking the ticket to trial and being found “not guilty” by the judge via a motion to dismiss (if there are certain errors that make the ticket legally defective or insufficient, for example) If you schedule it for trial and the officer doesn’t show and the judge decides to dismiss the case for lack of prosecution.

ebookThe first way can be a real long shot because if the facts are in dispute and especially if it’s your word against the officer’s word, most of the time the judge will accept the officer’s word over yours (after all, you are a little biased, aren’t you?).

The second way can be very effective, but only under the right circumstances (after all, most tickets are accurately written or contain minor defects that don’t render the ticket invalid).

The third way is a long shot because even if the officer fails to show, the judge can, and most likely will, reschedule the trial. Contrary to popular belief, there is no rule, law, or policy that requires a judge to dismiss a ticket simply because the officer fails to show up for trial. A judge is free to reschedule the trial at will. These reasons serve to reinforce our general belief that if a reduction to a 0-point offense can be negotiated, that is the best option.

New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1225-c and 1225-d

New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) contains two distinct laws related to use of portable electronic devices while driving:

  • VTL 1225-c Use of Mobile Telephone
  • VTL 1225-d Use of Portable Electronic Devices (includes texting while driving)

Remember, a VTL 1225(c) ticket is entirely different than a VTL 1225(d) ticket. 1225(c) is a cell phone ticket (“c” for cell) while 1225(d) is an electronic device ticket (“d” for device).

If you received a 1225(c) ticket, the officer is alleging that you were actually engaged in a call at the time he observed you. For 1225(d) tickets, it is irrelevant whether you were engaged in a call or not. If you were texting or using an app, you can be given a 1225(d) ticket.

What many people don’t realize is that a 1225(d) ticket can also be given for devices other than phones. A GPS, MP3 player, camera, or other hand-held electronic device also counts under the 1225(d) law.

New York State Resident With a Cell Phone Conviction in New York

If you hold a New York State driver’s license and were to be convicted of driving while using a cell phone or texting while driving, NY DMV will add 5 points to your driver’s license. As you already know, points on your license can lead to increased auto insurance and ultimately to a license suspension if you accrue 11 points within 18 months. What you may not know is that you can fight your cell phone ticket – and beat it, or get it reduced.

Out-Of-State Resident With a Cell Phone Conviction in New York

Even if you do not live in New York State, New York will create a driving record based on your name, date of birth, and mailing address and points for violations that you have been convicted of in New York will add up. If you get 11 points in New York State within 18 months, you will lose your right to drive in New York State regardless of whether you hold a New York license or a driver’s license from another state. Not only that, chances are a cell phone ticket conviction in New York will appear on your home state’s driver’s license. If your home state assesses points like New York does, points will accrue and you can be looking at an auto insurance hike and a license suspension if you accrue enough points. Click here for more information regarding out-of-state residents.

Traffic Violations Defense

For a free consultation about experienced and vigorous defense of your New York cell phone ticket or any other traffic violation, call 1-888-883-5529, or contact us to tell us about your case.
We can produce results. But don’t take our word for it. See our reviews from our past clients.
Note: New York increased the penalties for cell phone tickets to 5 points as of 6/2013.

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  • Sarah
    September 25, 2017

    I received a 1225D today in the City of Oswego. I did not receive a supporting deposition. I don’t know what he saw but it took him almost 10 from when I last “used my phone” until he pulled me over. I only assume it’s what he saw because I was navigating my way home. I finally got into 104w bound and knew exactly where to go after that so I decided to take me phone out of the window mount and turn the gps off to conserve battery and most importantly to me, data. I even second guessed myself because he said he saw me on the phone so after he pulled me over, I entered to page to “clear apps” and nothing was there. Therefore, I was not using my phone for any other purpose. In fact, I answered a call over the Bluetooth in my car and was in mid conversation when I was getting pulled over. I had no need to be on my phone at that point. Could he have mistaken my snack or drinks in my hand as my phone? How should I proceed?

    • RLF Attorneys
      September 27, 2017

      Sarah – There are two statutes that are relevant here – one prohibits speaking on a telephone, the other forbids the improper use of an electronic portable device. It appears that you may have been in violation of both of these laws. I therefore suggest that you contact us to discuss your options. You may reach us for a free consultation at 888-883-5529.

  • Mike
    September 18, 2017

    I received a 1225d ticket today. I am a volunteer firefighter and I have a responder app on my phone which sounds the same as other apps going off. It sounded and all
    I did was look at it for one second to make sure it wasn’t an emergency call. Unfortunately the officer saw me at that second. Doesn’t part 3 under the 1225D law cover me and make me exempt from the ticket ? What’s the chances of beating it. It was a young rookie cop that wouldn’t even listen to my reasons.

    • RLF Attorneys
      September 26, 2017

      he issue with the argument you are presenting is that you are admitting to the underlying offense in question. The further problem is that you were admittedly unaware whether it was an emergency call. Therefore, I would generally suggest avoiding this line of argument, and rather questioning whether the officer is able to meet their burden of proof here.

  • Rick
    September 12, 2017


    I got a cell phone ticket from an officer who didn’t see the offense but heard it across his radio. The Officers where doing a detail where they had one officers hiding some where and a few officers in the street motioning over drivers for various offense. I wasn’t on my cell phone and usually rest my hand on my head. They car I was driving had blue tooth. I told him that but he said I was either talking or texting. Going to trial with it. He didn’t see the alleged offense and I have the right to face my accuser of who I don’t know who it is. Does aspect of teamwork and the officer who wrote the ticket invalidate the ticket? Also should I print out my cell phone records from my carriers website?

    • RLF Attorneys
      September 14, 2017

      First and foremost, what offense you are actually being charged with is vital. There are two types of cell phone tickets – one is given for speaking on a phone, the other is for the ‘improper use of a portable electronic device.’ If you are charged with the second of these offenses, (1225(d)), then any cell phone records you produce will not be relevant.

  • John
    July 24, 2017

    Hi, I wanted to pose a question regarding a violation I received on a tunnel entrance in NYC. My passenger asked me to take off my phone from its dashboard stand so she could exchange power cords and as I removed it, I pointed at a cop while my phone in my hand who promptly noted what he believed was a cellphone use violation. However the phone screen was off, not being used in any form, and the phone was always at arm’s length from my ear.

    Would this still qualify as “immediate proximity” as defined in VTL Sec 1225c which would allow the officer to assume cellphone use? Would bringing my passenger to the court hearing assist in my chances of dropping the ticket? Thanks so much and look forward to your response.

    • Chris Chris Han
      December 8, 2017

      John – the short answer is – there is no clear answer. While technically it does not appear that you were violating the exact definition of 1225(c), the officer may testify otherwise.

  • Taylor
    July 17, 2017

    I received a ticket for being on a mobile device.
    The trooper provided a deposition, and I had told her that I was messing with my window control panel because it was broken and my window will not roll down and she stated that I had my phone out in my right hand in front of me for viewing with a black case. And I told her it was in my pocket. And she then stated that I pulled my phone out of my right pocket with a black case.. I did have my phone in my hand but I was not texting and driving. I don’t know why I didn’t just tell her that but I got nervous. What do I tell the judge with a plea of not guilty but with the supporting deposition?

    • RLF Attorneys
      July 20, 2017

      Taylor – You still have the option to plead not guilty. In New York, it is a violation to be holding a portable electronic device in your hand while driving. However, depending on which court is handling the ticket, it is possible to get this ticket reduced or dismissed. Contact us for a consultation to discuss how to contest this ticket.

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