Don't be stupidAs of January 1, 2021, Virginia makes merely holding a cell phone while driving unlawful under Virginia Code § 46.2-818.2. The penalty for a first time offense is $125 and the penalty goes up to $250 for a second offense or if the offense occurred in a work zone. The law reads as follows:

A. It is unlawful for any person, while driving a moving motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth, to hold a handheld personal communications device.

B. The provisions of this section shall not apply to:

1. The operator of any emergency vehicle while he is engaged in the performance of his official duties;

2. An operator who is lawfully parked or stopped;

3. Any person using a handheld personal communications device to report an emergency;

4. The use of an amateur or a citizens band radio; or

5. The operator of any Department of Transportation vehicle or vehicle operated pursuant to the Department of Transportation safety service patrol program or pursuant to a contract with the Department of Transportation for, or that includes, traffic incident management services as defined in subsection B of § 46.2-920.1 during the performance of traffic incident management services.

C. A violation of this section is a traffic infraction punishable, for a first offense, by a fine of $125 and, for a second or subsequent offense, by a fine of $250. If a violation of this section occurs in a highway work zone, it shall be punishable by a mandatory fine of $250.

Since this code section did not specify the amount of points for this offense, our office spoke with the Virginia DMV and they indicated to us that a conviction of driving while holding a phone carries negative three points if the offense is charged under 46.2-818.2(A) but negative six points if charged under any other part of 46.2-818.2. This doesn’t makes any sense to me since section A is the teeth of the law and the other parts of the law are the exceptions and definitions. But that is the Virginia DMV for you. My conclusion is that a conviction under this code section will carry either 3 or 6 points depending on how the officer and clerks input the ticket into their system.

Previously, the law was more narrow and outlawed texting or reading texts or emails on a phone. The previous law under Virginia Code § 46.2-1078.1 has now been repealed for this new broader version that prohibits simply holding a phone. This law is a primary offense which means the officer can pull you over for this offense as the actual reason for your traffic stop.

Please call 757-932-0464 if you need a consultation in traffic law for your case in Virginia.

Recent Posts

July-August 2021 Case Results: Reckless Diving by Speed at 103 mph Dismissed, Reckless Driving Dismissals in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, Accomack, Northampton

DISCLAIMER – EACH CASE IS UNIQUE AND CASE RESULTS DEPEND ON YOUR INDIVIDUAL SITUATION. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE UNDERTAKEN BY THE LAWYER. Below we feature a sampling of case results for July and August of 2021. Our...

read more

Reckless Driving and Community Service

Community Service Opportunities for Reckless Driving Defense Mitigation We often recommend to our clients charged with reckless driving in Virginia that they complete community service before their court date. Judges in Virginia appreciate it when a driver takes...

read more