Mobile Phone Offences
Prosecution For Using A Mobile Phone While Driving
It is an offence (except in emergency) to use while driving a hand-held mobile phone or any device which performs an interactive communication function. This includes sending or reading emails, text messages, photos and videos, and accessing the internet. In most cases, being stationary in traffic counts as driving. This includes traffic lights and motorway jams.
A mobile phone or other device is treated as hand-held if it is, or must be, held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication. Interactive communication function includes sending or receiving texts, emails, photos and videos, and accessing the internet.
Hand-held devices which have no interactive communication function, or are not being used to perform an interactive function, are not included in the definition. Therefore if while driving a person takes, for example, photographs or films on an ordinary digital camera he is not in breach of the mobile phone regulation. However, use of such a device may arguably in some cases be evidence of not being in proper control of the vehicle and/or careless or even dangerous driving.
The same applies to a person using a tablet or smartphone, while driving, to take a photograph; in that case they are not using the the device to perform an interactive communication function.
Hands free use is not caught by the mobile phone legislation, nor is hand-held use for the performance of a function other than interactive communication. Again, however, use of such a device may arguably in some cases be evidence of not being in proper control of the vehicle and/or careless or even dangerous driving.
In short, the legislation does not necessarily prohibit all use of a mobile phone held while driving. it prohibits driving while using a mobile phone or other device for calls and other interactive communications (and holding it at some point during that process). However, such use may arguably in some cases be evidence of not being in proper control of the vehicle and/or careless or even dangerous driving.
As can be seen from the above definitions, the wording of the legislation is cumbersome and not always easy to understand. It is therefore always a good idea to get legal advice if you are facing prosecution for this offence.
You can also face prosecution if you are supervising a learner driver and using a mobile phone.
If you are convicted of a mobile phone offence, you face six penalty points on your licence and a fine. This could result in a disqualification from driving if your points add up under the totting up regulations. (For offences committed before 1st March 2017, it would be three penalty points).
On 19th November 2021, the government announced plans to extend the law in 2022 to ban drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games.
When the law changes, drivers will still be able to continue using a device “hands-free” while driving, for example as a sat-nav, if it’s secured in a cradle, provided they are in proper control of their vehicle.
If you’ve been accused of using a mobile phone whilst driving, our expert solicitors can help! Call us on 0161 834 9494 or contact us online.
Defending Against A Mobile Phone Offence
At Richard Silver, we have won acquittals for numerous drivers who have been wrongly accused of using a mobile phone whilst driving. Where necessary, we have obtained digital evidence from their phone provider in support of their case.
Sentences For Driving Whilst Using A Mobile Phone
If you are convicted of using a mobile phone whilst driving, you will be found guilty of a CU80 offence, which is the ‘breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, relating to a mobile telephone.’
This results in a fine and six penalty points on your driving licence. (Three penalty points for offences committed before 1st March 2017).
You could in certain circumstances also be charged with careless or dangerous driving as well, which can carry heavier sentences.
Our team of experienced and knowledgeable solicitors can help you in these cases too.
Unsure Of Your Situation? Contact Richard Silver
We’ll be able to advise you as to the types of motoring charges and sentencing you may be facing, and our team of experts can help you with any appropriate defence.
And if we don’t think you have an arguable defence, we’ll focus our effort on mitigation instead, to ensure you receive the lightest possible sentence.
If you’re at risk of prosecution for using your mobile phone whilst driving, call our solicitors today on
0161 834 9494
and we’ll be more than happy to help.
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