Increased NJ Cell Phone Ticket Penalties FAQs (July 2014)

Using Cell Phone While Driving NJ Penalties

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As of July 1, 2014, the fines and penalties of cell phone tickets in New Jersey increased significantly to include larger monetary penalties as well as a potential 90-day suspension for third or subsequent offenses. Third or subsequent offenses will also carry a three (3) point assessment to a NJ driver’s license.

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) to help illustrate how the changes could affect you or someone you know.

What are the new fines for Cell Phone Tickets in NJ?

The new fines (previously $100 per offense) are explicitly defined in N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.3 as follows:

  • For a first offense, the fine shall be between $200 and $400.
  • For a second offense, the fine shall be between $400 and $600.
  • For a third or subsequent cell phone ticket violation, the fine shall be between $600 and $800

My prior cell phone ticket occurred more than 10 years ago. Does it count as a prior offense?

No. A provision of the new law states that if the second offense occurs more than 10 years after the first offense, the court must treat the second conviction as a first offense for sentencing purposes. Likewise, if a third offense occurs more than 10 years after the second offense, the court must treat the third conviction as a second offense for sentencing purposes.

Is it true that my license can be suspended for a cell phone ticket?

Yes, if the ticket is your third or subsequent violation and you are not entitled to a 10-year step down exception as explained above. The new law allows judges to suspend a person’s ability to drive in New Jersey for up to 90 days, although an argument can be made to reduce or avoid this suspension. Many times, an attorney can help fight this suspension for you, and it is always worth speaking to an attorney before trying to handle these types of situations on your own.

Are there points assessed for cell phone tickets in NJ?

Yes, but only for a third or subsequent offense (3 points). First and second offense cell phone tickets in NJ do not carry any points.

Am I subject to the new penalties if I received my cell phone ticket before July 1, 2014?

Yes. The July 1, 2014, effective date applies to sentencing of tickets, which means all tickets issued prior to July 1, 2014, and still pending will be subject to the increased penalties. There may be some arguments to be made if the ticket was issued more than 10 years before a previously resolved cell phone ticket. This has not yet been addressed in any precedent case law.

Can an attorney help to fight my cell phone ticket?

Of course! An attorney is always able to look for loopholes and defenses to any kind of violation, and may be able to disprove or downgrade a cell phone ticket after reviewing discovery and negotiating with the prosecutor. An attorney can also argue for no license suspension for third or subsequent cell phone ticket violations. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact a NJ License Suspension Attorney at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall today – 1 (877) 450-8301.

For more information on other motor vehicle issues, please visit any one of our other pages:

Abandonment of a Motor Vehicle

Leaving the Scene of an Accident License Suspensions Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-129

License Suspension for Drug Paraphernalia Conviction

License Suspension for Possession or Use of a Controlled Dangerous Substance

DWI License Suspension

NJ Motor Vehicle Scheduled Suspension Hearings

Speeding Ticket License Suspension

Driving While Suspended as a Fourth Degree Crime – NJSA 2C:40-26

Driving Without Insurance – N.J.S.A. 39:6B-2

Driving While Suspended: Fines, Suspensions and Jail Time

Underage Drinking License Suspensions (N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15)

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