On January 1, 2021, a new law in Virginia took effect, making Holding a Phone While Driving a primary offense. This means that police can pull a person over solely for having a phone in their hand while operating a vehicle. The new law has become a common charge in the traffic courts of Virginia. Attorney Yeargan sees this charge every day now in the lower courts of the state. It is important for drivers to understand this new law and keep their phone in their pockets or purse until getting home.
Fines From Holding a Phone While Driving
Virginia Code §46.2-818.2 was put into effect because holding a phone while driving can distract drivers, leading to accidents and serious injury or death. If a person is caught holding a phone while driving, they will face the following penalties:
- $125 for a first offense
- $250 for a second or subsequent violation
- $250 if it happens in a work zone, whether or not a first offense.
- Potential points against their license (3 points, points fall off record after 3 years)
Because points against a person's license can cause insurance rates to increase, it is best to contact a Fairfax Traffic Violations Lawyer to get this ticket reduced. You could potentially pay a smaller fine while getting the charges reduced to a non-moving violation, such as Defective Equipment or Sleeping on a Shoulder. This will protect the driving record and avoid costly points for insurance purposes. Some counties allow a charge to be deferred several months for dismissal with completion of a driver improvement course as part of a plea agreement.
The law does not apply to you if you are legally parked or stopped on the road. It does not apply to emergency responders while in the performance of their duties. It also is not applicable when you are using the phone to report an emergency.
If you are texting or using the phone for GPS while driving, the law does apply and carries the penalties listed above.
It is still completely legal to have your phone mounted on the dashboard of the car and talk while connected wirelessly. Most vehicles are equipped with BlueTooth connections and allow you to answer calls without touching the phone. It is relatively inexpensive to purchase a cellphone holder.
The law is a traffic infraction, not a misdemeanor. However, drivers are required to appear in court when ticketed and may not prepay. This is due to Virginia Supreme Court rules and is an unusual quirk in the law.
The Law Office of Wilfred Ward Yeargan has been assisting Virginia drivers with their traffic tickets for more than 23 years. Our office has the experience to keep points off your license and get tickets reduced, helping you save money each month while driving legally. Whether you have been charged with holding a phone while driving or something more serious such as Reckless Driving by Speed, a Fairfax Traffic Violations Lawyer will work to get you the best outcome possible for your traffic matter. To learn how we can help, contact us today.
Attorney Yeargan helps clients with cases in Fairfax County (including the Town of Vienna, Town of Herndon, Fairfax City, Falls Church), Prince William County (including Woodbridge, Quantico, Triangle, Dumfries, Haymarket, Manassas, Manassas Park), the City of Alexandria, Loudoun County, Arlington County, Stafford County, Caroline County, Fauquier County, Hanover County, Clarke County, Shenandoah County, Warren County, Greensville County, the City of Richmond/Henrico area, and other locations throughout Virginia.