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  1. #1

    Default Cell Phone Ticket

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: California

    Hello there,

    Question for the community about a citation I received today for 23123(a).

    My car is equipped with hands-free bluetooth such as that it's impossible to make a call from a bluetooth-equipped cell phone in my car (as long as the car is running) without the call going to hands free. That has sometimes been an annoyance, such as when a private conversation comes in while a passenger is in the car. But it's mostly convenient.

    Today, as I was driving 5 mph in traffic and talking with my father, the AT&T reception got bad, so I lifted the iPhone off the seat and tried to move it near the window and the roof to maintain the phone connection. Of course, at that point I got pulled over... thanks AT&T!

    The police officer basically told me I was lying, and that he gives lots of cell phone tickets and that his judgement was that I wasn't using a hands free system. He even said, "I have an iPhone too, and my reception is fine."

    If I present to the court proof that my hands free system is always in effect, will that be enough? Or does simply raising the phone up while driving qualify as against the law? I've read the content of the law but it seems open to interpretation to me on this point.

    "A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving."

    Clearly, the telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, over automatic bluetooth. The phone was also being used in that manner while driving. So... thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Cell Phone Ticket

    Quote Quoting archibaldtuttle
    View Post
    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: California

    Hello there,

    Question for the community about a citation I received today for 23123(a).

    My car is equipped with hands-free bluetooth such as that it's impossible to make a call from a bluetooth-equipped cell phone in my car (as long as the car is running) without the call going to hands free. That has sometimes been an annoyance, such as when a private conversation comes in while a passenger is in the car. But it's mostly convenient.

    Today, as I was driving 5 mph in traffic and talking with my father, the AT&T reception got bad, so I lifted the iPhone off the seat and tried to move it near the window and the roof to maintain the phone connection. Of course, at that point I got pulled over... thanks AT&T!

    The police officer basically told me I was lying, and that he gives lots of cell phone tickets and that his judgement was that I wasn't using a hands free system. He even said, "I have an iPhone too, and my reception is fine."

    If I present to the court proof that my hands free system is always in effect, will that be enough? Or does simply raising the phone up while driving qualify as against the law? I've read the content of the law but it seems open to interpretation to me on this point.

    "A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving."

    Clearly, the telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, over automatic bluetooth. The phone was also being used in that manner while driving. So... thoughts?
    You're free to make whatever argument you may think will work in your favor, however, and just because an i-phone is designed to allow hands-free listening and talking and that your vehicle has a bluetooth option, it may not be as "clear" that you had it set up as such at the time of the alleged violation. How could you prove that you set it up that way today, last week or a year ago???

  3. #3

    Default Re: Cell Phone Ticket

    Thank you for your quick reply.

    I don't believe there is a way to turn off this feature of my car. It is just always on, and has been since I bought it. I asked the officer if he would let me demonstrate it by placing a call and showing how it automatically went hands-free, and he said no.

    As to how do I prove all that in court, I have no idea... that's why I came here for advice.

  4. #4
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    Oregon now, but will probably end up back in Nevada someday
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    Default Re: Cell Phone Ticket

    Try checking your vehicle owner's manual. It may describe that the Bluetooth function is always on, etc...

  5. #5

    Default Re: Cell Phone Ticket

    Thank you.

    My question is: even if I can prove that the bluetooth was on, is my holding the phone up to get better reception against the law anyway? ie., even if I was using hands free to talk, my hand was still on the phone holding it up to get reception, and therefore I was in violation?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Cell Phone Ticket

    Quote Quoting archibaldtuttle
    View Post
    Thank you for your quick reply.

    I don't believe there is a way to turn off this feature of my car. It is just always on, and has been since I bought it. I asked the officer if he would let me demonstrate it by placing a call and showing how it automatically went hands-free, and he said no.

    As to how do I prove all that in court, I have no idea... that's why I came here for advice.
    Not to dispute or discredit any of your statements here, but I have not heard of a bluetooth feature that cannot be turned off (whether it be through your vehicle controls or the phone options menu) -I have never used an I-Phone so i couldn't say for sure nor do I know what type of vehicle you drive so that is also a guess-. Again, I am not saying you had it off at the time nor am I suggesting that you were not using it. All I am saying is that these cases will always end up being a matter of your word against that of the officer. It will all depend on how he testifies.

    Whether the judge will accept your evidence as sufficient reason to cast enough doubt on the officer's testimony that he saw you using your phone while driving... Only the judge can make that determination.

    I am sorry that neither this nor my previous post are seemingly helpful, but that maybe due to the fact that the statute itself is pretty subjective and it leaves a lot of room for the officer to make that judgment call. What i am saying is that while you're standing in court before the judge, it it more likely than not that his word will supersede that of the defendant. That should not, by any means, give the impression that I think you should refrain from fighting it in court!

    Yes, I can tell you to argue that you had the phone in your hand and up to the window but not up to your ear, that you can show the owner's manual for your vehicle as well as that of your phone, you can demonstrate that the feature is set up on your phone at the time (while you stand there before him)... Whether that will work or not is up to the trier of fact (the judge). The best you can do is present your case in court and hope that you get a sympathetic and understanding judge.

    Good luck!

    Quote Quoting tigerdog
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    Try checking your vehicle owner's manual. It may describe that the Bluetooth function is always on, etc...
    And, again, while that may prove that once the feature (i.e. both the vehicle bluetooth system AND the phone) can be set up where it leaves the driver no other option, it does not necessarily mean that it was set up as such at the time of the alleged violation.

    Quote Quoting archibaldtuttle
    View Post
    Thank you.

    My question is: even if I can prove that the bluetooth was on, is my holding the phone up to get better reception against the law anyway? ie., even if I was using hands free to talk, my hand was still on the phone holding it up to get reception, and therefore I was in violation?
    No, holding the phone in your hand is NOT a violation of the statute... At least not as far as I can interpret it. however, it goes back to what the officer will testify he saw... Whether from his vantage point, it looked like you had the phone up to your ear or whether it was up in mid air.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Oregon now, but will probably end up back in Nevada someday
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    Default Re: Cell Phone Ticket

    Try checking your vehicle owner's manual. It may describe that the Bluetooth function is always on, etc...
    And, again, while that may prove that once the feature (i.e. both the vehicle bluetooth system AND the phone) can be set up where it leaves the driver no other option, it does not necessarily mean that it was set up as such at the time of the alleged violation.
    Agreed. However, as you said, we don't know what type of vehicle this is. Assuming the OP is right and it cannot be disabled, then I would think that may help his argument.
    I'm with you though...I've never heard of a vehicle that had Bluetooth that couldn't be disabled.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Cell Phone Ticket

    Also keep in mind that hands free could also be interpreted as one using the built in speaker phone on the device itself. So just like "having bluetooth" does not means that you were using it/that you were not in violation, "not having bluetooth" does not mean you were in violation. (You don't have to have bluetooth to be in compliance. You can even use a wired earplug).

  9. #9

    Default Re: Cell Phone Ticket

    Thank you for your reply. You actually inspired me to go out and take this video, which shows the date and time (same day, three hours after the ticket was issued). As you say, the video doesn't prove that the system was set up when the ticket was issued, but it's as close as I can to proving it... that it was set up the day the ticket was issued, and fully functional.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs5cHtk8GV8

    Moreover, it shows the automatic function of the system-- as soon as the car is on, any call placed automatically goes to hands-free.

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