Fight Virginia Handheld Cell Phone Tickets, Points

Did you know that Virginia prohibits holding a phone while driving? As of January 1, 2021, that’s now a traffic infraction with a minimum $125 fine AND three points on your driving record. Let’s talk about the law and how you can fight it.

The law: 46.2-818.2 – Use of handheld personal communications devices in certain motor vehicles

Virginia used to have a texting statute. That law was difficult for the police to enforce, and it was frankly confusing for citizens to follow. Was using a GPS ok? Was entering letters to search for a podcast illegal?

In 2020, the General Assembly updated the law to simplify everything. As of January 1, 2021, it’s now illegal to drive a motor vehicle on the highway in Virginia while holding a “personal communications device.”

The law is very simple for all of us to understand, and it will be easy for law enforcement officers to enforce. If you drive with a device in your hand, you get a ticket.

Defenses to handheld phones

Defenses to a handheld cell phone charge will come from the precise language of the statute:

Were you actually “driving”? If you were stopped at a traffic light or stop sign, you were arguably NOT “driving” the car. It was stopped, so you should not be guilty.

Were you “holding” the device? If the device was actually mounted in a holder, you should be NOT guilty.

Was it a “personal communication device”? If the phone or tablet was NOT connected to the internet or mobile data, we have a strong argument that it could not communicate with anyone. While you may have been holding it, the device may not meet the definition in the statute.

Other remedies

Even if you are flat out guilty of holding a phone while driving, the judge has the authority to give you a break in court. That will usually be based on various factors, such as:

  • Were you actually a danger to anyone?
  • Do you have a clean driving record?
  • Were you polite with the officer?
  • Are you willing to attend a driver improvement class?

A first offense ticket for a handheld device requires a $125 fine. If you get a second ticket, the required fine is $250. These tickets will get expensive real fast.

If you are facing a handheld phone ticket in Virginia, contact me for a free case strategy session. If your case is outside my area, I can usually connect you with a local attorney who can help.

Video: Don’t Hold Your Phone in Virginia

If you prefer videos, I’ve summarized everything here for you:

What's Next?

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I wrote the book on DWI. It’s jam-packed full of answers for your case.

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My special report about driving on suspended explains six critical issues to possibly fight in your case.

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I provide free consultations for traffic tickets and misdemeanors in my area. If I can't help, I'll do my best to connect you with someone who can.

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