Request A Free Consultation

New Laws Regarding Cell Phones and Driving

Posted on Tuesday, August 18th, 2020 at 1:46 pm    

HEADLINES:

Beginning in July, your phone could get you in trouble.

Now there are more ways your phone can get you in trouble.

Don’t let your phone violate your privacy.

That cell phone call could be a Class C Infraction.

That cell phone call could cost you $500 and more.

The first of July in Indiana means that laws passed in the most recent legislative session go into effect. This year, as in most years, most changes in the criminal law are technical changes and fixes to existing laws that won’t have any real effect on most people’s lives. But there is a new law this year that will affect nearly everyone. Or at least everyone who drives a car and has a cell phone.

Starting on July 1, it will be a Class C Infraction to hold or use a phone device while operating a motor vehicle unless you are calling 911. That means that if you are driving down the street, going the speed limit and following every other traffic law, you could still be pulled over if you have your cell phone in your hand. Even if you are not using it or even looking at it. While that may be an extreme example, it appears that the legislature wanted to make this law as broad as possible.

The law previously prohibited people from typing, transmitting, or reading text or electronic messages on their phones while operating a vehicle, but all of that language was removed and the law now prohibits holding or using a phone while operating a vehicle completely. Operate is defined as “navigating or otherwise being in physical control of a vehicle.” (Indiana Code 9-13-2-117.5). Notably, the legislature did not require that the car is in motion. So, if you are like me and you like to check for new emails (or Twitter or Facebook) when you are stopped at a red light, that could get you pulled over.

There is one important exception: you are allowed to use a phone with hands-free or voice-operated technology. We are getting to where hands-free, Bluetooth technology is standard in new cars, but if you drive an older car and need to be able to drive and talk, you better get a Bluetooth earpiece and know how to operate your phone by voice if you want to fully comply with the law.

The Class C Infraction is punishable by up to a $500 fine and the legislature did include a provision in the law that this violation will not add points to your license. But, as a Criminal Defense law firm, our concern is that it gives the Police justification to stop and detain citizens and then find a reason to conduct further investigation. If you’ve been drinking, or an officer claims he or she detects the smell of marijuana in your car, the act of just holding your phone while driving could lead to a whole lot more trouble. Any new traffic law gives the Police more license to detain citizens and thus should be drafted with care.

Distracted driving is a serious concern and something that should be addressed, but this law goes too far. The act of holding a phone does not cause any distraction, and certainly looking at your phone while your car is not in motion can be done safely. What’s more, some people have to be on the road all day for work and have to talk on the phone while they drive. When possible, this should be done hands-free and with Bluetooth, but not all people have those capabilities. Those that do not should not be punished for using their phone while driving if they can do it in a safe manner. This law could have struck a better balance but instead, it’s drafted as broadly as possible.

At the Criminal Defense Team of Baldwin, Perry, and Kamish, P.C. we like to be on the cutting edge of new legislation and would love to have the opportunity to challenge this new law. If you’ve been accused of violating this statute, please call us for a free consultation.

Call Us now to Speak
With An ATTORNEY
PUT OUR TEAM IN YOUR CORNER. CALL (317) 687-8326 NOW.

The Results

How We Get The Best Possible Results For Our Clients

We are confident that our collective expertise concentrating in criminal law will put our clients in the best position to receive the best practical outcome available.

5 OF 6
BOARD-CERTIFIED* CRIMINAL LAWYERS IN THE STATE OF INDIANA ARE ON OUR TEAM.
3 Former Prosecutors
Having 3 former prosecutors on our team gives us a strategic advantage when fighting the people prosecuting you
120+ Years
of dedicated crimial law experience, serving the entire state of Indiana
400+ Jury Trials
Our team has taken 1000+ cases to trial, including 400+ jury trials

National Board of Trial Advocacy Certifications

Our Board Certifications

More than 15,000 lawyers practice in Indiana, but only 6 can claim the title of Board Certified* Criminal Law Specialist. Amazingly, 5 of those 6 certified specialists work closely together in the same law firm…our firm. Our team has been assembled by design, not happenstance.

Board Certification is an elite title reserved for those lawyers who have expertise and dedication in one area of law as well as extensive trial experience. We are proud of that title and what it represents. Our Board Certified* lawyers fight for our clients and work with all of our lawyers every day to help obtain the best possible outcome for our clients.

You wouldn’t want a general practice doctor who is not board certified to handle your heart condition, why would you want a general practice law firm with no Board Certified Criminal Trial Specialists to handle your criminal case?

*Andrew Baldwin, Mark Kamish, Kathie Perry, Maxwell Wiley, and Carrie Miles are certified Criminal Trial Specialists by the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA), a nonprofit organization that certifies attorneys of various legal focuses. To earn an NTBA certification, an attorney must demonstrably show the highest levels of trial experience, competence and integrity.

Send Us A Message

Request a Free Consultation
speak to an attorney
PUT OUR TEAM IN YOUR CORNER. CALL (317) 687-8326 NOW.
INDIANAPOLIS

2900 E 96th St, Suite B, Indianapolis, IN 46240

FRANKLIN

150 North Main St, Franklin, IN 46131

NOBLESVILLE

23 S 8th St, Noblesville, IN 46060