Tips For Fighting A Texting-While-Driving Citation

Law Blog

With so much attention being given to distracted driving issues, many drivers are facing citations for texting while driving or not using a hands-free device. However, what can complicate matters is the use of a phone's GPS or mapping system. If you were issued a ticket for texting while driving or for distracted driving because the officer believed you were texting but you were simply using your phone's GPS, you may be able to fight it. Here's what you need to know.

The Wording Of The Statute Matters

The first thing you need to understand is that the wording of the distracted driving statute matters in this case. You will likely need a traffic violation attorney to help you interpret the letter of the law, but understanding the fundamentals is a good place to start.

Essentially, some distracted driving and texting-while-driving laws are written in such a way that they clearly define the violations as exclusively texting while driving or making a phone call while driving without a hands-free tool. 

In those cases, using your phone's GPS is not a violation of that law; therefore, your ticket would legally be considered invalid.

You Need Evidence

It's all well and good to know that you were issued a traffic violation for something that you didn't actually do. However, if you cannot prove it, you still won't have a case. Your traffic violation attorney will review the situation and help you understand what you need for evidence to fight the ticket.

For example, you will likely need to have proof that you were not texting or making a phone call at the time that the ticket was issued. Your cell phone provider can send an activity log that will detail the times and dates of all of the phone calls and texts made on your phone. This can clearly show the judge that you were not calling or texting anyone at the time of your citation.

There Are Grey Areas

If the laws clearly define any kind of phone use as prohibited when driving, you may still be able to fight the ticket. Your attorney may be able to argue a hands-free use of a map application is essentially the equivalent of using a car's integrated GPS and mapping system. This may be enough to have the ticket dismissed, but only if the judge is open to the consideration. Your attorney can help you sort it out.


5 August 2019