Texting While Driving in Virginia
In today’s world many of us are constantly connected to our cell phones, replying to emails, texting people, and using a variety of applications. Even while driving we may use our phone for GPS, for playing music, or for other purposes. It is important to be aware of your phone use, especially on the road. If you use your phone to text while driving in Virginia, you may be pulled over by an officer and fined.
Laws Against Texting While Driving
If you are under 18 you are banned from using a cellphone or any other personal communication device while driving. This includes either hands-free devices or handheld devices. This is considered a primary violation, which means an officer may pull you over for the offense without having to see any other violation of the law.
Texting while driving is illegal for all drivers in Virginia; it too is considered a primary offense, and an officer may pull you over if they suspect you are texting while driving. Your first offense will result in a fine of $125; any subsequent offense will cost you $250. This ban on texting use also applies to school bus drivers.
Section 46.2-1078.1 of the Code of Virginia covers the rules for texting while driving. It states that it is illegal for any person operating a motor vehicle to use a handheld device to manually input letters or texts into the device to communicate with another person or to read an email or text. There are, however, a wide range of exceptions to this statute. To be sure, it does not apply to anyone who is stopped or lawfully parked; GPS devices are allowed; and use of the device is allowed to report an emergency that has happened.
Fighting a fine for texting while driving is possible; the statute only applies to texting or reading a text or an email, not to using your GPS or even playing music on your phone. The prohibition on reading does not apply to any name or number stored within the device nor to any caller ID information. This means you may answer a phone while driving. It should be noted that it is legal to talk on the phone in Virginia so long as you are over 18. The specific nature of the statute means that if you can successfully argue and show that you were not texting or reading a text or email in court, you may possibly get the charges dismissed. When facing a charge for texting while driving, it is important to know what the statute says and your legal options.
Contact Our Attorneys for Help
When facing a variety of driving offenses it is important to have someone on your side that knows the law and the court system, and who will fight for your rights. At Simms Showers in Leesburg we know how important it is to have an attorney who understands the law, your unique position and the facts around the case and who advocate for you. Contact us today.