While Connecticut police are busy ramping up cell phone ticket campaigns in Stamford, Darien, Greenwich, Westport, and Danbury Connecticut, the Connecticut Appellate court is finally putting its foot down with a ruling this week that protects drivers who have their hands on their cell phones but are not actually making a phone call. And the timing is perfect—as the top Connecticut traffic court lawyers in Stamford, Greenwich, Norwalk, Ridgefield or Danbury know that April has been been dubbed National Distracted Driving Awareness month. So if you’ve received a Texting while Driving cell phone ticket in Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, or anywhere else in Connecticut under C.G.S. § 14-296aa, then you should contact a top Stamford, Norwalk, Bridgeport or Danbury Connecticut cell phone ticket lawyer attorney immediately.
With this new Connecticut appellate court decision, there’s now hope in the perennial fight against cell phone tickets in Connecticut. Here’s why…
The Connecticut Appellate Court Narrows the Reach of the Cell Phone Laws under CGS § 14-296aa
For years, we have been sharing our thoughts about the most cost-effective methods for fighting your Connecticut cell phone ticket. The problem, however, is that the law isn’t clear on what is prohibited and what’s legal when it comes to holding your cell phones while you are driving. As the best Stamford, Greenwich and Danbury criminal law firms frequently see, many officers issue a Texting while Driving ticket in Connecticut if they think they see a phone in a driver’s hand. As someone who receives the Connecticut cell phone ticket, you can plead “not guilty” by mail in Connecticut and then bring in your phone records to court, which usually isn’t enough…that is, until this bombshell appellate court decision.
This week, the Connecticut Appellate Court issued a ruling in a Connecticut cell phone ticket case, which limits the prosecutor’s ability to get a conviction when a driver is holding his phone in his hand. In the case, State v. Dunbar, the driver was holding his phone in his hand near the center console of his car and answered a call. The driver was cited for a § 14-296aa Cell Phone infraction for using his phone while he was driving. After being found guilty in Connecticut Superior Court, the Appellate Court reversed his conviction, citing insufficient evidence to warrant a conviction.
This decision sends a clear message to cell phone police ticket police and prosecutors in Greenwich, Darien, Stamford and Danbury Connecticut. The court’s ruling makes it more difficult for police and prosecutors to win a Texting while Driving or Cell Phone ticket case in the Stamford, Norwalk, Danbury, and Bridgeport Superior Courts. Basically, this case says that simply holding a phone to answer a call is not enough to violate the cell phone CGS § 14-296aa statute, especially when the driver is talking through a Bluetooth or speaker device.
So…What Does § 14-296aa Actually Prohibit?
Great question and one that the best Connecticut DMV traffic lawyers regularly consider in their cell phone ticket infraction trials. For now, know that you cannot hold a cell phone up to or near your ear while engaged in a call or while you are speaking on the phone. You can’t type, read or send text messages while your car is in motion. And if you’re under 18, you can’t use your phone at all – even with a hands-free device – unless you are contacting a first responder in an emergency situation.
What Do Connecticut Cell Phone Ticket Laws under CGS § 14-296aa Allow?
The answer to this question was expanded by the new appellate case. If you are 18 or older, then you can use a hands-free device to talk on your phone while driving. And, as the Appellate Court just decided, you are allowed to hold your cell phone to activate or deactivate a call or function of the phone – you just can’t hold it to or near your ear. (Disclaimer: now this doesn’t mean all Connecticut police officers will understand and know this new law so quickly—so you may have to take your Connecticut cell phone ticket to court to get it ripped up). If you are 18 or older, then you can also use your phone to contact a first-responder during an emergency.
Is it Worth Hiring a Top Connecticut Cell Phone Ticket Lawyer to Fight my Ticket?
Probably. If you’ve received a cell phone ticket / texting while driving ticket in Stamford, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan Connecticut, get in touch with a top Connecticut Cell Phone ticket attorney who can go over your options with you and advise you if it’s worth spending the money to fight your ticket. Remember, pleading guilty by mail comes with a fine, 2 DMV points and also a DMV “strike” against your license. Each Distracted Driving or Use of Cell Phone while Driving ticket comes with DMV points (2 points per ticket) and steep fines: $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second offense, and $500 for a third or subsequent offense. It can also trigger an increase in your insurance premiums. And if you plead guilty to a Cell Phone ticket or Texting While Driving ticket in Connecticut and you are under 18 years old, then you could face a 30-day license suspension for the first offense, 90-day license suspension for the second offense, and a 6-month license suspension for a third or subsequent offense.
Contact a Connecticut Cell Phone Ticket Lawyer Today
As the battle over distracted driving continues, don’t get caught in the courtroom crossfire. Protect your driving record, DMV record, and insurance premiums by fighting your Connecticut cell phone ticket. If you received a ticket for Texting while Driving or a Cell Phone Violation in Westport, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Darien, Wilton, or anywhere else in Connecticut, contact the team of attorneys at Mark Sherman Law today. We are available to discuss your case and your options with you. We will not take your money if we do not think we can help you. Check out our reviews from former clients to learn more about their experiences with our firm. We can be reached 24/7 at (203) 358-4700 to discuss your case.