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What You Need to Know About Texting and Driving in Florida and Your Rights

This year, Florida joins 45 states in making texting while driving a primary traffic offense. Now, police can pull you over if they see a phone in your hand while driving.

Before this new legislation goes into effect on July 1, 2019, texting and driving was considered a secondary offense where drivers could be cited when pulled over for another offense.Businessman ignoring safety and texting onmobile phone while driving

The legislation aims at reducing the rate of distracted driving in the State. Distracted driving was attributed to 1,010 crashes in Florida in 2018.

If you’re dealing with a texting and driving legal issue or other traffic violation, please don’t hesitate to seek guidance from one of our experienced attorneys. We’re here to address any concerns or questions you might have about traffic violations.

Call us for a free consultation at (904) 567-3113 to discuss your situation.

What is Banned with the Florida Texting and Driving Law?

According to Florida Statutes, texting includes using your mobile device to manually type or enter “multiple letters, numbers, symbols or other characters.”

The Florida law bans texting while your vehicle is in motion.

Technically, you may use your phone while stationary at a stoplight.

You’re allowed to handhold your phone to speak with someone while driving, except in construction, work, and school zones. Using hand-free phone devices are permitted in these zones.

Drivers may still use mobile phones for navigation purposes.

What are The Penalties of Texting and Driving in Florida? 

First violation of the texting and driving law in Florida carries a $30 fine. A second offense within 5 years results in a $60 fine plus court costs that could exceed $100. Additionally, a second offense would add 3 points to the driver’s license.

When Does the Texting and Driving Law Go Into Effect in Florida?

On July 1, 2019, texting while driving becomes a primary offense. The ban of using a handheld device in construction, work, and school zones goes into effect on October 1. However, there will be an educational warning period active through January 1, 2020.

What are Your Rights Regarding Texting and Driving in Florida?

Fusco Law Group strongly advises everyone to not text while driving. The data on accidents caused by distracted driving overwhelmingly shows the danger of this activity.

However, everyone should understand their rights if pulled over for any traffic violation.

Keep in mind, you have the right to decline a law enforcement officer’s request to search your phone without a warrant or voluntary consent. This makes proving that a driver was texting while driving challenging for law enforcement. In cases where there is a dispute between officers and the driver, a warrant would be required to check phone records.

Always Keep Our Phone Number Handy—Even for Traffic Violations

Traffic laws can be confusing and complex. Our advice to clients is to never admit guilt or pay a traffic fine before consulting with an attorney. Doing so may result in unnecessary fines and points added to your license.

Please contact Fusco Law Group at (904) 567-3113 for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.