top of page
  • Writer's pictureBlair Goss

How to Fight a Cell Phone Ticket in California - Hire Goss Law!

Smartphones are now part of most people's lives, and it's difficult to go a day without them since they help people communicate with others. The problem with this is some people can't stop using their cell phones when they are driving.

California laws are clear when it comes to using a wireless telephone (smartphone) while driving a motor vehicle. No one can do it. If a police officer catches someone speaking on the phone or using it to do other things while driving, they'll give them a cell phone ticket.

That's just a safety measure to make sure distracted drivers don't cause an accident. Nonetheless, there are several ways to fight a cell phone ticket if the driver wasn't using their phone or used it for an emergency.

This page has all the information people need to fight an unfair cell phone ticket with no problem. Anyone looking for extra help on their case can hire an attorney from Goss Law to help them.

Is It Illegal to Use a Cell Phone While Driving in California?

Is It Illegal to Use a Cell Phone While Driving in California?

Technically, using a cell phone while driving is not illegal in California, but drivers can't hold them in their hands.

This means people can't use their phones to play music, call someone, or text. However, they can use their phones as long as they don't hold them while driving, so hands-free devices are completely on the table. Needless to say, passengers can text, use their phones to play music, or talk on the phone with no problem.

That doesn't apply to underaged drivers, though. Anyone under 18 can't use their cell phone, even if they have a hands-free device.

Drivers can't wear Bluetooth headphones in both ears while driving either. However, everything's fine as long as the driver listens to music or talks on the phone using the car's microphone and speakers.

What's the Penalty for a Cell Phone Ticket?

As long as the driver didn't cause an accident, the penalty for a cell phone ticket is not that severe. First offenders will have to pay $150 or a bit more than that. If it's the driver's second offense, they’ll need to pay over $250.

When drivers get several cell phone tickets in a row, the judge can suspend their driver's license and ask them to attend traffic school. That doesn't happen often, though.

Drivers will most likely need to attend traffic school if they were doing other illegal things, such as reckless driving and using their phones. Cell phone tickets won't affect the driver's driving record unless they get them within 36 months of a prior offense. Goss Law can advise on how to fight a reckless driving ticket in california.

If a driver wins a cell phone ticket case, the court will refund any money they had to pay because of it.

How to Fight Cell Phone Tickets in California

Although California laws are severe when it comes to cell phone tickets, there are many ways to fight them. These are the best ways to fight a cell phone ticket in California:

Look for Exceptions to the Traffic Law

The first thing drivers should check when they get a cell phone ticket is if any exception to the California vehicle code applies to the case. There are some cases in which drivers can use their cell phones while driving, even if they hold them in their hands.

Making an emergency call while driving, for example, is not illegal at all. Thus, drivers can call the police, 911, or the fire department with no problem. Using a cell phone or any other electronic wireless communications device is legal for people driving an authorized emergency vehicle too.

California laws allow drivers to use their GPS while driving, so they can fight the cell phone ticket they got by saying they were just checking where to go. People driving on private property can't get a traffic ticket for using their cell phones while driving, either.

Police officers can only give drivers a traffic ticket if they were driving while using their phone. That means they can use it as long as their vehicle is not moving, so they can fight the ticket saying they were parked at the moment.

As mentioned before, it's not a cell phone violation to use smartphones through a hands-free device or speakerphone unless the driver is underage. There aren't also any problems if passengers were using their cell phones. It's easy for police officers to confuse what they are seeing when people drive fast.

Even if the driver states an exception that applies to the case, they still need to take the case to court if the police officer that pulled them over gives them a cell phone ticket anyway.

Go to Trial

Although this could take more time than just talking to the police officer, drivers can also take their case to trial if the officer insists on giving them a cell phone ticket. Traffic tickets show the date when the driver has to go to court.

They need to go to court that day and ask the court clerk for a trial arrangement and trial date. Some counties let drivers schedule both on the same day. The arrangement is to determine the details of the case and a brief of what happened. There, drivers will need to plead not guilty.

Police officers are often willing to dismiss the case before the trial if they see the driver regrets what happened, or they may also do it to save time. It's not a bad idea to ask them if they want to reconsider the cell phone ticket before the trial. Drivers can even tell them what happened again and show the evidence they have for the case.

Needless to say, drivers need evidence of what happened to fight a cell phone ticket. No one will win a case just by saying their part of the story. Witnesses are one of the most common resources used by drivers to prove they weren't using a wireless telephone while driving.

Passengers who were in the vehicle when the driver got the cell phone ticket can be witnesses in a trial. Drivers testify themselves if they were driving alone. The police officer will most likely testify, too.

Phone records are also an excellent way to prove a driver wasn't using their phone. If there's not a call record at the time the driver got the ticket, they can prove they weren't using their cell phone. However, this will only help if the ticket comes from being on the phone with another person and not texting.

Drivers in a cell phone ticket trial should always prepare some questions to ask the police officer once they testify. Those questions are meant to prove they couldn't see the car clearly or didn't have the ability to do it at the time. Here are the most common questions people ask police officers in these cases:

  • How fast was the car going?

  • What was the driver wearing?

  • What car was the driver driving?

If the police officer that pulled the driver over can't answer those questions correctly, the judge may dismiss the case. However, that doesn't mean they will win the case if they do answer the questions.

Hire a Traffic Lawyer

Hire a Traffic Lawyer

California doesn't offer drivers a free lawyer for traffic tickets, so they need to hire one themselves if they want help with the trial. Many people hire an attorney from a lawyer referral service, but it's better to contact a trustworthy law firm with experienced attorneys.

Drivers need a lawyer with experience in cell phone ticket cases in California. Those lawyers know how to prove there was no cell phone use and can show the best way to approach each case.

Goss Law works with top-notch Sacramento traffic lawyers with years of experience, so its clients can rest assured they are hiring a qualified and skilled legal assistant.

Hiring a lawyer can also help people not used to dealing with all the paperwork needed for a trial.

Final Thoughts

People can get nervous if a police officer catches them using a cell phone while driving, but the best thing they can do is stay calm. If they follow the tips given on this page, drivers will be more than ready to fight cell phone tickets in California.

Regardless of that, this process is much easier if a traffic attorney helps the driver fight the ticket. Clients can contact Goss Law whenever they need a qualified attorney to take their case.

The only thing drivers need to hire this law firm is to call it, schedule a consultation with one of its lawyers, and tell that attorney the details of what happened. After that, a reputable lawyer from the company will guide the client throughout the legal process. Goss Law has more information on how to fight a seatbelt ticket in california too.

However, drivers should never use their cell phones while driving, unless it's an emergency. The California Vehicle Code has those rules to prevent as many accidents as it can. Traffic lawyers are there to help anyone who gets a unfair cell phone ticket.


bottom of page