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Holding a Phone While Driving in Fairfax County and Prince William County

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 2 years; conviction falls off 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 or dismissed. 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.

Fairfax County, and some other local jurisdictions, have a county code violation that does not go on the driving record and carries no points.  If the Holding Phone charge is reduced to this code, there is no conviction reported to the DMV.  The insurance rates of the driver also will not increase.

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 were legally stopped at a light or on the shoulder of the road, the state may not be able to prove you were driving.

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 modern 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.  Drivers may now prepay the charge, but a conviction will be reported to the DMV.  If you want help getting this charge dismissed or reduced to a no-point offense, give the office a call.

The Law Office of Wilfred Ward Yeargan has been assisting Virginia drivers with their traffic tickets for more than 25 years. The 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, 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.  Contact the office at 703-352-9044 for a free, initial consultation.

Areas Served by the Law Firm

The law office serves clients throughout Virginia including those in the following localities: Fairfax City; Fairfax County including Annandale, Burke, Centreville, Herndon, and Vienna; the City of Alexandria; Arlington County including Arlington; the City of Falls Church; Augusta County, including Staunton; Fauquier County including Warrenton; Frederick County including Winchester; the City of Fredericksburg; Loudoun County including Ashburn and Leesburg; Clarke County, including Berryville; Fluvanna County, including Palmyra, Prince William County including Occoquan, Triangle, Quantico, Woodbridge, Dumfries, Haymarket, and Manassas; Spotsylvania County including Lake Wilderness and Spotsylvania Courthouse; Stafford County including Stafford, Aquia Harbour, and Falmouth; Warren County including Front Royal; Shenandoah County, including Woodstock; Rappahannock County, including Washington; Madison County; Greene County, including Stanardsville; Fluvanna County, including Palmyra; Caroline County, including Bowling Green; Hanover County; King and Queen County; New Kent County; King William County; City of Hopewell; Prince George County; York County, including Yorktown; Chesterfield County; Henrico County; Westmoreland County, including Montross; King George County; Greensville County, including Emporia; Prince George's County; Dinwiddie County; and Sussex County.