The California Court of Appeal just ruled that drivers are allowed to use their cell phone for the purpose of looking at maps. The law that prohibits the use of cell phones, while driving, does not apply to drivers looking at maps on cell phones. The Court expressed that the law specifically applies to people using their cell phones to listen and talk. Therefore, drivers are only permitted hands free devices to listen and talk while driving. However, the Court found that using cell phones in other ways is not prohibited by this statute.
This is a very important ruling by the Court because this law must now apply to all California trial courts. The reason for many stops is the use of a cell phone while driving, and the fine for this citation continues to rise. Also, many DUI arrests are predicated by the use of cell phones as being the reason for the stop. Now, it is going to become very important for an officer to tell what specific purpose the driver is using the cell phone for. Many people listen and talk on their cell phones using the speaker option, and this makes it impossible to tell whether someone is looking at a map or on speakerphone.
If you are stopped for illegally using your cell phone, whether it leads to a subsequent arrest or simply a citation, it is important to contact an attorney at The Law Office of Ben Mironer right away. We can help use this new law to get a citation like this dismissed, or possibly get evidence excluded from your case, if it was obtained after such a stop. An experienced attorney will thoroughly explain our defense and how we will argue your case in court.
Appellate Courts are only able to make these types of landmark decisions because people decide to challenge the status quo. The appellate court reversed a trial court’s decision to find the driver guilty of the cell phone violation. It is crucial to have an attorney that can challenge a trial courts’ decision in the court of appeal.