Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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New York's penalties for driving and mobile phone use

People who live in New York City have experienced a dramatic increase in crackdowns on many vehicular offenses. The city has installed many new speeds bumps and red light cameras and several area residents have received a speeding ticket as a result of the efforts to slow drivers down. As the holidays descend upon us, additional concerns about holiday drinking and driving are also heightened among law enforcement. These, however, are not the only areas in which New York laws are known to be strict.

The state of New York's official website indicates that new fines were put into effect as of November 1, 2014 for any cell phone violations while driving. For people with standard drivers' licenses, fines start at $50 and can be as high as $200 for first offenses, $250 for second offenses within a period of 18 months and as high as $450 for third or more offenses within 18 months. All of these offenses also add a total of five points to a driver's license record.

As noted by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, any driver who receives at least 11 points on a license within a period of 18 months may face a suspended license as a consequence. Drivers with any probationary licenses or learners' permits who are found guilty of violating the state's cell phone laws while driving can face 120 days of drivers' licenses suspensions for first offenses. If any violation is a repeat offense committed within six months of prior rights to drive being reinstated, a 12-month revocation can be ordered.

The state's laws govern the use of not only cell phones but also laptops, netbooks, tablets, pagers, electronic game players and any device with mobile data capabilities. Understanding these laws can be important for drivers in New York.

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