Hand-held ticket when plugging in at red light, officer rushed to deal with an accident during citation.
First ticket here - from what I've read my chances of getting anywhere with this offence are low, but here's the circumstances:
- I was stopped at a red light and took my phone from my pocket so to plug in so it would charge while driving, and set it in the cupholder. I realize I should have done this before puling out 2 mins earlier but it didn't cross my mind at that time. The whole action took at most 5 seconds. The screen may have turned on if I had the device face up, I'm not sure, but I wasn't operating the device.
- An officer must have been checking the cars stopped at the intersection, as as I set down my phone he was at my window. He asked me to pull aside and I did. I was a bit flustered as I'd never had anything like this happen before and said how I'd just returned to the country after many years abroad and started driving here again, and wasn't aware I couldn't do that at a red light. He said that doesn't matter, which didn't surprise me, and also that it didn't matter what I was doing with the phone, and that he had no discretion and that was that.
- A few minutes later he returned to my window to hand me my documents back and my ticket, and there was a minor accident at the intersection. The officer told me all the information I needed was on the reverse of the ticket, told me to drive safe, and went to deal with the accident.
Whether or not you were using the device is also irrelevant. The law makes it clear that simply holding the device is enough.
You are not entitled to ask the officer questions roadside. The side of the road is not a courtroom. It's perfectly normal to take your ticket and go.
There is no lower equivalent to a handheld device charge. You might have an opportunity to have the fine reduced, but it's not going to help your insurance at all.
Unless some miracle happens and they cannot proceed with a trial, you don't have a defense here.
Do you think it might be worth pursuing the case in court so I can receive disclosure, on the chance that the officer’s notes are subpar, missing or mistaken due to the accident that occurred as he delivered the ticket? If I did this and then decided to plead guilty, is there a chance of a higher fine or would it remain the $490 fine that I was issued? Assuming I plead guilty before the assigned court date.
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