You’ve seen these signs all around town: “U Drive U Text U Pay”. It’s yet another cell phone / distractive driving campaign rolled out by the ticket-prolific Stamford Police Department Traffic Enforcement Unit, which is approaching its one-year anniversary of pestering Stamford morning rush hour drivers.
The statistics are staggering, and enough to even make your auto insurance carrier blush…34 Stamford cell phone / texting while driving tickets issued in just one day last week! That’s a lot of revenue for the City of Stamford. And a lot of headaches for Stamford and Greenwich drivers who are just trying to get to work, get their kids to school, and not get slapped with Greenwich or Stamford 14-296aa Cell Phone / Texting While Driving tickets.
Well-intentioned? Yes. Necessary? No. It’s time to push back…
The cell phone / texting while driving law that all the buzz about is codified in C.G.S. § 14-296aa. The law forbids any motor vehicle operator from typing, sending, or reading anything on their cell phone, iPhone, or electronic handheld device while their vehicle is in motion. To be clear, as the best Stamford traffic ticket lawyers and top Stamford speeding ticket lawyers would agree, you are NOT violating this law if you are parked, or sitting idle at a stop sign, traffic light, or even in a complete stop at a traffic jam. Yet somehow Stamford drivers are still getting hit with tickets when their cars are not even in motion.
As top Greenwich and Stamford criminal lawyers will regularly advise their clients, do not plead guilty by mail to a 14-296aa cell phone ticket. While the fine may not be much money, the long-term consequences of pleading guilty to these types of tickets usually do not make sense from a cost-benefit perspective. The Connecticut DMV penalty points that can accumulate, coupled with the detrimental effect the guilty pleas can have on your automobile insurance premiums, make it all the more worth it to hire a top Stamford traffic lawyer, or spend a day in court yourself to try and fight your cell phone ticket. This is when it makes sense to contact a top Greenwich or Stamford cell phone ticket traffic lawyer attorney to see whether it is cost-effective for you to hire an attorney to get your cell phone ticket dismissed. Especially if you are accused of being a repeat cell phone / texting-while-driving 14-296aa offender.
The fines and penalties for a 14-296aa guilty plea will escalate depending on the number of prior 14-296aa cell phone use convictions you have on your record. Your first guilty plea will result in a $125 fine. A second violation costs $250. And a third or subsequent violation will cost $400 per ticket. In addition to these fines, DMV points are assessed for each guilty plea, which can under certain circumstances result in a DMV suspension of your Connecticut Driver’s License.
What many Greenwich, Darien and Stamford parents and teenaged drivers probably do not know is that Connecticut law CGS 14-296aa prohibits 16-year-old and 17-year-old drivers from using any type of handheld device while operating a motor vehicle. They are not even allowed to use hands-free devices, or even talk on a cell phone or iPhone through Bluetooth while driving. It is a bright-line, zero tolerance rule that top Stamford traffic and speeding ticket attorneys see regularly enforced by Greenwich and Stamford traffic cops. So parents should advise their kids properly, or it can end up costing parents thousands of dollars in increased auto insurance premiums over a lengthy amount of time.
We frequently get calls from drivers who are issued 14-296aa cell phone / texting while driving tickets, asking us how to fight these tickets. As top Stamford traffic lawyers know, the allegations and accusations against you must be carefully scrutinized for legal and statutory defects. Did the Stamford traffic ticket police officer comply with all of the requirements of CGS 14-296aa? Is the charging instrument facially valid? Are all of the elements of the infraction satisfied? Has the officer been subpoenaed to your court appearance and is your top Stamford traffic lawyer prepared to cross-examine the officer? These are all important considerations that need to be addressed prior to your court appearance.
The team of Greenwich and Stamford Speeding and Cell Phone ticket attorneys and lawyers at Mark Sherman Law have successfully defended hundreds of 14-296aa tickets. We are closely following Stamford and Greenwich police efforts as they continue to ramp up their efforts and ticket campaigns to enforce these laws. While we are all in favor of safer roads, we feel their message can be more effectively communicated with written and verbal warnings rather than gratuitous fines and DMV points. That’s why we have invested attorney time, research and training into learning how to cost-effectively fight these tickets on behalf of our clients who have been slapped with 14-296aa tickets for texting while driving and cell phone use while driving. So if you are interested in fighting your 14-296aa Stamford, Greenwich or Darien cell phone ticket, give a Mark Sherman Law traffic and speeding ticket attorney a call today at (203) 358-4700.