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Limitation On Cell Phone Use In Motor Vehicles

Although New Jersey statutes ban cell phone use by drivers of motor vehicles unless the device is "hands-free", the legislature has recently enacted a statute making it a fourth degree crime for certain persons to improperly use a cell phone in a motor vehicle. In August of 2011, it will be a crime for a driver to use a cell phone improperly by holding it in his or her hand, if the driver is serving a suspension for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The police may stop a driver suspected of improperly using a cell phone. The stop could result in a search and the discovery of evidence of another offense. If a license check reveals that the offender is serving a sentence of suspension for a drunken driving conviction an arrest will surely follow. The legislature also enacted a mandatory jail sentence for anyone convicted of the crime. Therefore, a diversionary program may not be available and a criminal record will have a significant impact on the accused.

Anyone accused of driving under the influence or improper use of a cell phone should be aware of the potentially severe consequences of a conviction. An experienced criminal defense attorney can minimize the consequences.

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Joseph J. Rodgers, Chartered
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