Texting while driving has been a hot topic for years, but you may be wondering if you can be charged with a crime for doing so. In most states, there are laws about texting while driving, as only a select few have no texting laws at all. Here are the different types of texting bans.
Primary Enforcement Texting Bans
Many states have primary enforcement texting bans. This enforcement means texting while driving is a crime, and if a police officer sees you doing it, they can pull you over and write you a ticket for it, even if that’s the only thing you were doing wrong.
Several of the states that have primary enforcement texting bans also have hand-held phone use bans. These prohibit you from handling your phone at all while you’re behind the wheel.
Secondary Enforcement Texting Bans
A few states have secondary enforcement texting bans. Texting while driving is still considered a crime in these states, but since it’s a secondary offense, it can’t be the sole reason a police officer pulls you over.
If a police officer sees you texting and driving without committing any other violation, it wouldn’t be legal for them to ticket you. But if you were speeding and texting while driving, they could pull you over for speeding, and then write you a ticket for both violations.
Novice Driver Texting Bans
There is also a small number of states that have texting bans only for novice drivers. For example, in Missouri, there is a texting while driving ban that applies to drivers who are under 21 years of age.
In these states, you’d only be committing a crime if you were in the age range that the texting ban covers. Police officers in states with these types of texting bans typically consider texting while driving a secondary offense and only pull a driver over if there is another violation because it’s difficult and sometimes impossible for an officer to know how old a driver is just by looking at them.
The standard penalty for texting while driving is a fine, but you could also end up with points on your license. This is one area where an attorney can help you get the best deal.
In most states, texting while driving is a crime. Even if it isn’t in your state, it’s still dangerous, and you’re better off avoiding it.