In the digital age that we live in, we have seen technological advances completely alter our way of life. Cellphones are a prime example of this. They have made us also accessible and able to communicate. However, this endless accessibility has led to some significant problems, including texting and driving. The state of Rhode Island has taken notice and decided to combat this problem with the “Hands-Free Law.” A law that essentially makes it illegal to text and drive. Breaking this law can have serious consequences, such as a license suspension and/or a monetary fine for your first offense. Therefore, you should contact an experienced Rhode Island Traffic Attorney to help you fight this ticket. Attorney David Ellison is an experienced Rhode Island Traffic Attorney who will use these experiences to help you fight a texting and driving ticket.
WHAT IS TEXTING AND DRIVING?
According to Rhode Island law, somebody is texting and driving when they “use a wireless handset or personal wireless communication device to compose, read, or send text messages while driving a motor vehicle on any public street or public highway within the state of Rhode Island.” R.I. Gen. Laws § 31-22-30(b).
WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS THE PROSECUTION MUST PROVE FOR TEXTING AND DRIVING?
If a case for texting and driving were to go to trial, the prosecution must prove:
- You used a wireless handset or personal wireless communication device;
- To compose, read, or send text messages; and
- You did so while driving a motor vehicle on any public street or public highway in the state of Rhode Island.
HOW IS DRIVING DEFINED FOR TEXT MESSAGING WHILE OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE?
Rhode Island law defines driving as “operating a motor vehicle on a public road, including operation while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic light or stop sign, or otherwise, but does not include operating a motor vehicle when the vehicle has pulled over to the side of, or off, an active roadway and has stopped in a location where it can safely remain stationary.” R.I. Gen. Laws § 31-22-30(a)(1).
WHAT IS THE DEFINITION A MOTOR VEHICLE WITHIN THE TEXT MESSAGING WHILE OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE LAW?
Rhode Island law defines a motor vehicle as “any vehicle that is self-propelled by a motor, including, but not limited to: automobiles, trucks, vans, construction vehicles, etc.” R.I. Gen. Laws § 31-22-30(a)(4).
HOW IS A WIRELESS HANDSET AND PERSONAL WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DEVICE DEFINED?
Rhode Island law defines a wireless handset as “a portable electronic or computing device, including cellular telephones and personal digital assistants (PDAs), capable of transmitting data in the form of a text message.” R.I. Gen. Laws § 31-22-30(a)(10).
Additionally, Rhode Island law defines a personal wireless communication device as “a hand-held device through which personal wireless services (commercial mobile services, unlicensed wireless services, and common carrier wireless exchange access services) are transmitted, but does not include a global navigation satellite receiver used for positioning, emergency notification, or navigation purposes.” R.I. Gen. Laws § 31-22-30(a)(6).
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR TEXTING AND DRIVING?
That depends on how many times you have broken this law.
- First Offense
- A fine of $100, or
- A license suspension for up to 30 days.
- Second Offense
- A fine of $150, or
- A license suspension for up to 3 months.
- Third or Subsequent Offense
- A fine of $250, or
- A license suspension for up to 6 months. 31 R.I. Gen. Laws § 31-22-30(e).
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE RECEIVED A TICKET FOR TEXTING AND DRIVING IN RHODE ISLAND?
You do not have to fight a ticket for text message while driving alone, you can have an experienced Rhode Island Traffic Attorney like Attorney David Ellison represent you through the process. You can contact Attorney David Ellison for legal representation today at (401)-230-5520.