Penalties for Holding - Talking - Texting or
Using a Cell Phone in New Jersey
39:4-97.3: Use Of Cellphones and Electronic Devices In A Moving Vehicle Including Ipads, Phones, Computers, Navigation Systems and Texting While Driving.
Use of a Cell Phone While Driving in NJ is considered distracted driving by the NJ MVC. This is because driving requires your full visual, manual and cognitive attention to operate a motor vehicle. Using a Cell Phone while driving in NJ is a no-point offense unless you have two prior offenses. If you have 2 or more prior offenses each time you are ticketed for using a cell phone while driving, you will get 3 points on your drivers license plus up to 90 days loss of your drivers license. However, even if you receive no points for this offense on a 1st or 2nd offense your insurance rates may still increase. Some insurance companies, consider using a cell phone or texting while driving the same as getting into an accident and may charge you as such.
NJ Penalties for Use of a Cell Phone in a MV (car, truck etc.) 39:4-97.3
1st Offense Cell Phone Penalties
Fine of Not Less than $200.00 or more than $400.00
2nd Offense Cell Phone Penalties
Fine of Not Less than $400.00 or more than $600.00
3rd Offense Cell Phone Penalties
3rd or Greater Offense: Fine of Not Less than $600.00 or more than $800.00 plus up to 90 Days Drivers License Suspension and 3 Motor Vehicle Points
Defenses in NJ to 39:4-97.3 Using or Holding A Cell Phone or Electronic Communication Device Include but are not limited to the following:
- The operator had reason to fear for his/her life.
- The operator is using the cell phone to report a fire, or police emergency.
- The operator is using the cell phone to report a traffic accident.
- The operator is using the cell phone to report another vehicle which is being driven either recklessly, carelessly or in an otherwise unsafe manner.
- The operator is using the cell phone to report that another driver appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- The operator is using a cell phone to activate or de-activate a function on the phone.
- More than 10 years has elapsed since your last conviction for this offense is a partial defense to lower the offense number for a cell phone ticket. This will lower a second offense to a first and a third offense to a fourth, etc.
- Good News: Even if you don't have a defense we can still help! Don't Just Plead Guilty to a Cell Phone Ticket get help now and keep your low insurance rates!
What is Considered Using A Cell Phone or Electronic Communication Device in New Jersey?
- A Cell Phone even if off but in your hand
- Text Messaging
- Sending an Electronic Message
- Using an Application/Program
- Using your Cell Phone for Navigation
- Holding Your Cell Phone In Your Hand for an
Understanding Previous Convictions for Cell Phone Ticket Violations in NJ
It is not a defense to a cell phone ticket (39:4-97.3) that you previously just paid the fine for a cell phone ticket because "the penalties were not so severe in the past and that you were not aware of the possible loss of your drivers license." Unfortunately the State can change the law, making previous offense count in the future. However, a step down for your offense number may or should be possible if ten or more years have elapsed since your last conviction for a cell phone ticket.
What To Do If You Get A Ticket for Using Your Cell Phone While Driving In NJ:
For First Offense Cell Phone Ticket: We suggest that you pay the ticket for the first offense and resolve never to do it again unless you are a CDL Driver
For a Second Offense Cell Phone Ticket: We suggest that you think about fighting the cell phone ticket because many insurance companies look at a 2nd offense cell phone ticket the same as if you were to get into an accident and will increase your insurance rates accordingly. The dilemma is that the cost of representation will be much more than the cost of the ticket and maybe even more than your insurance increase. The Attorney Fee for a Cell phone ticket from our firm ranges between $2500.00 to $7500.00 simply again may not be worth fighting on a monetary basis. But, you will be on your way to that third offense where you can have your license suspended. If funds are low and you simply cannot afford a lawyer you can just go to court and pay this ticket and pay the insurance increase. But we urge you not to do this if you think it is likely you may get this ticket again. Only by preserving your clean record now can you make sure that you never face a license suspension for a third offense in the future.
The Cost of Representation for the average cell phone ticket in NJ ranges from $2500.00 to $5,000.00. The better the lawyer you choose the higher the cost. However, this cost is less than what many insurance companies may charge for a 2nd or 3rd offense cell phone violation over the next 3 years. By hiring a lawyer you may save money but more importantly you may save the up to 90 day suspension of your drivers license that a cell phone ticket can lead to. Only by preserving your clean record now can you make sure that you never face a license suspension in the future.
Under NJSA: 39:5-31: A judge may suspend the driving privileges of any person he/she deems to be guilty of a “willful violation” of the law. In simplified layman terms this means that, if the driver knew or should have known, what he/she was doing was illegal or improper, (example running a red light or speeding double the limit or 30mph or more over the limit etc.) the judge may issue a license revocation or suspension to that person even if the particular statute has no provision for a license suspension.
A suspension under 39:5-31 is generally only given by a judge when a ticket is either:
- Marked with a mandatory court appearance or
- When an accident occurs as a result of the ticketed persons actions or
- If the person has a bad past driving record. (points may go away over time, but the violation stays on your record for life)
Accordingly, If your ticket is marked mandatory court appearance, do not try to handle this ticket yourself, put the experience of Attorney Aalsberg to work for you to help reduce or eliminate any possible license suspension. Attorney Aalsberg has a 98%* Success rate to win, reduce or eliminate the penalties for all NJ traffic ticket charges.