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  1. #1
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    May 2016
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    5

    Default Cell Phone Ticket for Using a Phone's GPS Function, Mistakenly Suspended License

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: New York

    I have worked as a career EMT for the past 3 years and was on my way to required training to maintain my credentials.* The course I am taking is located at a sheriff's station.** On my way into class I was pulled over just a few hundred yards from the sheriff's station by a sheriff.** The sheriff told me that I was going a little fast and that it looked like I was on my phone.** I replied "I was using the GPS function on my phone.".** The officer asked where I was going to which I replied "to my EMT class." to which he replied "that's at the sheriff's station." which I was well aware of.*

    The officer ran my license,* came back to my car and asked me to step out.** He informed me my license had been suspended out of a near by town.** I was in shock but very polite to the officer.** The officer informed me that it is their policy to handcuff people with this offense and place them in the cruiser. I asked the arresting officer if I should obtain representation at this time.** As I was saying this,* another officer was just arriving at the stop.** The newly arriving officer began yelling at me stating "Stop giving us a hard time,* I know your teacher and everyone in that class and I will tell them what you did!".* I replied* very scared "brother, I promise I'm not trying to give you a hard time.".** I was unaware asking if you need a lawyer was considered giving the police a hard time.* The police decided to let me drive my car to the sheriff's station escorted by them with their lights on where they blockaded my vehicle in and I was told by the officer "if you come out here and I find you have another key and you take this car,* I'm throwing you right in jail.".** I was written a ticket for being on my cell phone and an agrevated unlicensed operation which is a misdemeanor.** The police officer did tell my teacher what I did right in front of me,* and other people I work with at my own job. I was so humiliated I cried in the bathroom at the sheriff's office.** I missed 8 hours of school,* and had to have family come get my car.* When I got home I pulled up my abstract on NYS DMV and* it said that I had failed to answer a summons which was false.*

    I had already been to court for a traffic ticket at that court, and the ticket was reduced to a parking on the pavement.* I went to the court where my license was suspended and told them what had happened and they wrote me a letter stating my license should not have been suspended.** I obtained a lawyer who told me we could request the dash cam video,* and that he could get it reduced to a parking ticket.* My lawyer went to court for me and informed me that they would drop the AUO but would only knock the cell phone ticket down to a failure to obey a traffic control device.* He also told me the DA does not think there is a dash cam video.** I want the case dropped because the way I was treated and the way the police brought my personal affairs into a routine traffic stop.*

    Should I take the plea which carries 2 points or should I take it to trial and tell the judge what took place?** I feel like my lawyer isn't going to bat for me and I will do what ever it takes to find a dash cam video if there is one because I don't want this officer to get away with this conduct. If I had been 50 years old I believe I would have been treated differently,* but they treated me like a punk criminal.* The arresting officer also told me he would not have given me a cell phone ticket had my license not been suspended, which it should not have been.* The one police officer told people that I will work with for the rest of my career in EMS,* and people that could have a say in my future employment endeavors. He acted as the judge,* jury and executioner not knowing I was actually innocent of the AUO.** Do you think I have a chance at getting this dismissed?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    1,230

    Default Re: Uao and Cell Phone Ticket. Unprofessional Police Conduct

    OK, let's take these issue one at a time.

    It doesn't matter that you were using your phone's GPS function. You were using a hand held electronic device while driving. Such conduct is specifically prohibited by VTL 1225d. The only GPS use allowed is by one that is permanently affixed to the vehicle. Citing you for this violation was appropriate.

    Irrespective of your driver's license actual status, the motor vehicles' computer showed it as being suspended. Police officers do not have to be right, they only have to be reasonable. In this case, based on information form the Motor Vehicles computer they had a reasonable belief your license was suspended and citing you for that was also appropriate. If you have an issue with incorrect information in the computer it is with the courts, for failing to provide correct information to Motor Vehicles, or with Motor Vehicles for failing to update their computers, but it is not with the police who acted on the best information provided them.

    Now, let's talk about going to court just so you can tell the judge what took place as a basis for having everything dismissed. I hate to tell you this, but the judge doesn't care.

    This is not like what you see on TV, where if an officer makes the slightest mistake you are set free with the profuse apologies of the court, the officers are fired, rainbows appear and everyone walks off into the sunset holding hands singing a happy song. All the judge is concerned with is whether or not you committed the violation. If you believe the officers were rude and discourteous you are free to file a complaint with their employing agency, but that is of no interest to the court and it has no influence on your innocence or guilt. Be happy with the fact that your attorney can get your cellphone violation reduced because based on you statement here, you are obviously guilty.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Uao and Cell Phone Ticket. Unprofessional Police Conduct

    Thank you for your quick response. I am 100 percent guilty as I mentioned I even admitted that to the officer. The problem is I do not feel it's fair I pay a fine, after the police officer took it upon himself to punish me on a social and curricular level, and the monetary damage he may have caused to my career is unable to be calculated. Unfortunately, getting jobs in public service are much about who you know, and I truly believe this officer enjoyed tarnishing my reputation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,121

    Default Re: Uao and Cell Phone Ticket. Unprofessional Police Conduct

    Life isn't fair.

    You haven't lost any jobs yet and you may never lose any. You don't get a pass on paying your fine because of something that hasn't happened yet and may never happen.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2013
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    1,230

    Default Re: Uao and Cell Phone Ticket. Unprofessional Police Conduct

    As I said before, judges don't dismiss criminal cases because a defendant's feelings were hurt or because they believe the officer was rude. That is a matter to be resolved between the defendant and the law enforcement agency.

    Again, you can complain to the employing agency, but before you do, ask yourself, how much did you instigate the matter?

    First off, no one asks to have an attorney present for a simple traffic violation unless they are deliberately trying to push the officer's buttons.

    Next, in most states when an officer has reason to believe you are driving on a suspended license, you can be physically arrested. That means handcuffed, fingerprinted, booked into jail, required to post bail, car inventoried and towed, etc. That was not done in this case (I assume) because one of the officers recognized you as a paramedic and extended you a little professional courtesy. Nonetheless, once in the station something happened that made it necessary
    to warn you of the consequences if you had an extra key, left and took your car.

    The wording of your post suggests very much that you were trying to hold court in the station, were being rude, uncooperative, argumentative and again, trying to push the officers buttons.

    Most public contact areas like you describe in a police station are constantly recorded (both video and audio). Go in, make your complaint and let their investigator pull the tape if one exists. It will determine if the officers were rude and discourteous or if they were using proper verbal commands and command presence to control a verbally abusive subject.

  6. #6
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    May 2016
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    5

    Default Re: Uao and Cell Phone Ticket. Unprofessional Police Conduct

    I know by the response of the police it would seem that I was trying to give them a hard time, but I was not, and that's why I was so upset by the way I was treated. I was simply asking the officer for his professional opinion about weather I should get a lawyer. An agrevated unlicensed operation is a misdemeanor charge, not a simple traffic issue. I think what happened is the police officer thought I was one of those people just trying to make his job harder, and just wanted to stop it before it escalated to anything more, so he over reacted to diffuse the situation. Unfortunately this is how he has been conditioned to respond due to our anti police culture. My lawyer even said that it was my right to ask. This particular police department doesn't see alot of action, so what would be a routine stop for another jurisdiction is a bigger deal to this department. They literally left my side because they got a call for missing goats. I think I will settle with the two point violation and take this as cheap education about how the criminal justice system operates.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
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    1,533

    Default Re: Uao and Cell Phone Ticket. Unprofessional Police Conduct

    You know, there may be another point of view you are missing. Perhaps the officer did not respond to you the way he/she did simply because “the police officer thought I was one of those people just trying to make his job harder” because “this is how he has been conditioned to respond due to our anti police culture.” Maybe it wasn’t even because “This particular police department doesn't see alot of action, so what would be a routine stop for another jurisdiction is a bigger deal to this department.” There is also the possibility that, as an EMT and fellow first-responder, the officer simply held you to a higher standard and wanted to express that feeling to you. While bad data input resulting in erroneous computer records of suspended licenses and warrants do occur, in my experience they are rare. When your computer record showed a suspended license, it was entirely reasonable for the officer to believe that you were, in fact, driving around on a suspended license because you had been irresponsible in taking care of a traffic citation. Knowledge of irresponsibility in your personal matters makes it hard to have trust in your professional competence. That cop, or his loved ones, may one day be in need of your professional services. I’m sure that the cop would like to have confidence that the EMT providing that care was responsible and detail oriented. Being a bit harsh with you may have simply been his/her way of hammering home the idea that personal responsibility and attention to detail, even in affairs not related to your profession, matters. It is unfortunate that, in your case, the officer’s ire was misplaced.

    In the interest of professional harmony, it might be beneficial if you were to seek out that officer and explain what you discovered actually happened regarding the erroneous record of suspension. It might go a long way in repairing that officer’s personal opinion of you. And, please, don’t just responsibly take care of this ticket (as you did with the previous one), but SLOW DOWN and PUT THE DAMN PHONE DOWN! It might just save that cop from having to direct traffic around where your fellow EMT’s are pulling you out of the ditch to practice their professional skills on YOU!

    And, by the way, what’s with all the asterisks sprinkled throughout your post?
    Behind the badge is a person. Behind the person is an ego. This is as it should be, person at the center and ego to the back.

  8. #8
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    May 2016
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    5

    Default Re: Cell Phone Ticket for Using a Phone's GPS Function, Mistakenly Suspended License

    Sorry about the asterisks, I saved the whole message in an email, and the format got messed up somehow and added all those asterisks. But I definitely will not be using my phone while driving again. How wreckless and selfish. And as far as letting the officer know that my license was suspended by accident, maybe if I see him in passing I'll tell him. The actual arresting officer already knows because my lawyer talked to him at court. I guess I'll take this whole thing as a lesson learned and won't harbor any hard feelings towards the police. Don't get bitter, get better.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    in alto mare
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    1,123

    Default Re: Cell Phone Ticket for Using a Phone's GPS Function, Mistakenly Suspended License

    I've used the GPS feature on my phone and even had one on my motorcycle (that unit was stolen and I never replaced it). They come in very handy, but these days I find that my built-in navigational skills get rusty if I rely on them too much. Now, I'll look at the route on the map first, then drive and only recheck it during a rest break or somewhere off the road. They really are a distraction.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Cell Phone Ticket for Using a Phone's GPS Function, Mistakenly Suspended License

    It's so easy while you're driving to pick your phone up and look at it, it's almost compulsive for me. I've tried putting my phone in the trunk before trips but that gets old when you have alot of stops around town. I'm doing a little project on my car where I took the RFID chip out of one of my keys and placed it in the case of my phone, that way the phone has to be within inches of the ignition for the car to run. I just have to secure the phone near the ignition now, maybe I'll use that E-Z pass velcro. When there's a will there's a way.

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