How to Beat a Cell Phone Ticket
Take the Cell Phone Ticket to Trial and be Found "Not Guilty" by the JudgeThe first option involves exercising your Constitutional or "due process" right to have your day in court. As with any trial, taking a cell phone ticket to trial has it's risks; namely, that you can get convicted and the conviction will end up on your driving record, and if you are convicted of a New York cell phone ticket you will receive 3 points. This approach can be a real long shot because if the facts are in dispute - usually it's your word against the police officer's word, most of the time the judge will accept the officer's word over yours. If you're a gambler, pick this option, otherwise it might not be the best option for you.
Schedule It for Trial and If the Officer Doesn't Show Ask the Judge To Dismiss the CaseThis option can also be a long shot because even if the police officer (the prosecution's witness) doesn't show up, the judge can, and in most cases will, simply reschedule the trial for a different date. Believe it or not, there is no law, rule or policy that requires a traffic court judge to dismiss a cell phone ticket simply because the officer doesn't appear for trial. A judge is free to reschedule the trial at will and even if the officer doesn't show up on the first trial date, there is a good chance he or she will show on the second or third. This option can also be very time consuming for you because in addition to traveling to court you may have to wait as much as several hours to find out whether the officer will indeed show for the trial (trials are usually heard at the end of the court session).
Make a Motion to Dismiss the Cell Phone TicketThis can be a very good option - but only if you have grounds. Certain ticket defects can be jurisdictional, meaning that without certain information the ticket is defective and cannot be prosecuted. If the officer's time to re-file has expired, you make a "motions" and ask the court to dismiss the ticket. In most cases, minor errors like putting the wrong license plate number down on the ticket will not invalidate a ticket. An experienced attorney can review the ticket and determine whether or not he or she thinks the defect, if any, will be grounds for a dismissal.
Have an Attorney Negotiate a Reduction of the Cell Phone TicketIn many cases, a skilled attorney can negotiate a reduction of the ticket to a non-moving violation. While some would not consider this "beating a cell phone ticket" in reality this may be the best option. Remember that the above options involve a degree of risk and/or luck. Even though getting the ticket reduced to a non-moving violation will cost you some fine money in the short term, it can save you 2 points (in New York) and thereby, depending on what else you have on your record, prevent suspension of your driver's license and/or increased auto insurance premiums.
See our Avvo Legal Guide The Best Way to Fight a Cell Phone Ticket for more information on this option (linked below).