Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: New York Police Use Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement

This Ain't a CITE? 

I love acronyms and cars, so when the New York State Police rolls out their CITE vehicles I get excited. The state police are on a crack down this summer for texting, calling, ipod-ing, gps-ing and driving. In other words hunting down distracted dangerous drivers.

So what's a CITE vehicle?

How is it being used to get those violating the law?




CITE = Stands for Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement


CITE vehicles are way cool. I love stealth and I love sleepers, these vehicles move about under the radar, unseen by motorists. No markings or light bars until you are caught violating the law, then the lights in the grill and back come on.

You often don't notice them till it's too late.






The CITEs are being used to catch motorists primarily violating one of the VTL 1225 sections:

CITE vehicles are cool

These VTL 1225 violations are both considered SERIOUS TRAFFIC OFFENSES for car insurance purposes.

Your insurance will go up!

These are also both FIVE POINT VIOLATIONS in New York State.

These are also Primary Offenses in New York State, meaning a police officer or trooper or deputy can pull you over (stop your car) for this violation as a reason for their detention of you.


New York State VTL §1225-c. Use of mobile telephones.  


NO Cell Phones While Driving Law.

1. For purposes of this section, the following terms shall mean:

(a) "Mobile telephone" shall mean the device used by subscribers and other users of wireless telephone service to access such service.

(b) "Wireless telephone service" shall mean two-way real time voice telecommunications service that is interconnected to a public switched telephone network and is provided by a commercial mobile radio service, as such term is defined by 47 C.F.R. § 20.3.

(c) "Using" shall mean (i) holding a mobile telephone to, or in the immediate proximity of, the user's ear; and (ii) with respect to a person operating a commercial motor vehicle, holding a mobile telephone to, or in the immediate proximity of, the user's ear, or dialing or answering a mobile telephone by pressing more than a single button (One button only), or reaching for a mobile telephone in a manner that requires such person to maneuver so that he or she is no longer in a seated driving position (NO reaching), restrained by a seat belt that is installed in accordance with section 393.93 of title 49 of the code of federal regulations and adjusted in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer's instructions.

(d) "Hand-held mobile telephone" shall mean a mobile telephone with which a user engages in a call using at least one hand. (In NYS Hands Free is Fine)

(e) "Hands-free mobile telephone" shall mean a mobile telephone that has an internal feature or function, or that is equipped with an attachment or addition, whether or not permanently part of such mobile telephone, by which a user engages in a call without the use of either hand, whether or not the use of either hand is necessary to activate, deactivate or initiate a function of such telephone. Provided, however, that for purposes of this section, a mobile telephone used by a person operating a commercial motor vehicle shall not be deemed a "hands-free mobile telephone" when such person dials or answers such mobile telephone by pressing more than a single button.

(f) "Engage in a call" shall mean talking into or listening on a hand-held mobile telephone, but shall not include holding a mobile telephone to activate, deactivate or initiate a function of such telephone.
NO engaging in a Call

(g) "Immediate proximity" shall mean that distance as permits the operator of a mobile telephone to hear telecommunications transmitted over such mobile telephone, but shall not require physical contact with such operator's ear. (Keep it  away from YOUR EAR, that is key)

(h) "Commercial motor vehicle" shall have the same meaning as such term is defined by subdivision four-a of section two of the transportation law.

(i) "Motor carrier" shall have the same meaning as such term is defined by subdivision seventeen of section two of the transportation law. (Even more intense cell phone law for CDL holders)

2. (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, no person shall operate a motor vehicle upon a public highway while using a mobile telephone to engage in a call while such vehicle is in motion; provided, however, that no person shall operate a commercial motor vehicle while using a mobile telephone to engage in a call on a public highway including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays. Provided further, however, that a person shall not be deemed to be operating a commercial motor vehicle while using a mobile telephone to engage in a call on a public highway when such vehicle is stopped at the side of, or off, a public highway in a location where such vehicle is not otherwise prohibited from stopping by law, rule, regulation or any lawful order or direction of a police officer.

(b) An operator of any motor vehicle who holds a mobile telephone to, or in the immediate proximity of, his or her ear while such vehicle is in motion is presumed to be engaging in a call within the meaning of this section; provided, however, that an operator of a commercial motor vehicle who holds a mobile telephone to, or in the immediate proximity of, his or her ear while such vehicle is temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays is also presumed to be engaging in a call within the meaning of this section except that a person operating a commercial motor vehicle while using a mobile telephone to engage in a call when such vehicle is stopped at the side of, or off, a public highway in a location where such vehicle is not otherwise prohibited from stopping by law, rule, regulation or any lawful order or direction of a police officer shall not be presumed to be engaging in a call within the meaning of this section. The presumption established by this subdivision is rebuttable by evidence tending to show that the operator was not engaged in a call.

(c) The provisions of this section shall not be construed as authorizing the seizure or forfeiture of a mobile telephone, unless otherwise provided by law.

(d) No motor carrier shall allow or require its drivers to use a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a commercial motor vehicle as provided in this section.

3. Subdivision two of this section shall not apply to (a) the use of a mobile telephone for the sole purpose of communicating with any of the following regarding an emergency situation: an emergency response operator; a hospital, physician's office or health clinic; an ambulance company or corps; a fire department, district or company; or a police department, (b) any of the following persons while in the performance of their official duties: a police officer or peace officer; a member of a fire department, district or company; or the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle as defined in section one hundred one of this chapter, or (c) the use of a hands-free mobile telephone.

4. A violation of subdivision two of this section shall be a traffic infraction and shall be punishable by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than two hundred dollars upon conviction of a first violation; upon conviction of a second violation, both of which were committed within a period of eighteen months, such violation shall be punished by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than two hundred fifty dollars; upon conviction of a third or subsequent violation, all of which were committed within a period of eighteen months, such violation shall be punished by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than four hundred fifty dollars.

New York State VTL § 1225-d. Use of portable electronic devices. (All Electronic DevicesiPods, laptops, etc.)


1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, no person shall operate a motor vehicle while using any portable electronic device while such vehicle is in motion; provided, however, that no person shall operate a commercial motor vehicle while using any portable electronic device on a public highway including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays. Provided further, however, that a person shall not be deemed to be operating a commercial motor vehicle while using a portable electronic device on a public highway when such vehicle is stopped at the side of, or off, a public highway in a location where such vehicle is not otherwise prohibited from stopping by law, rule, regulation or any lawful order or direction of a police officer.

1-a. No motor carrier shall allow or require its drivers to use a portable electronic device while operating a commercial motor vehicle as provided in this section.

2. For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(a) "Portable electronic device" shall mean any hand-held mobile telephone, as defined by subdivision one of section twelve hundred twenty-five-c of this article, personal digital assistant (PDA), handheld device with mobile data access, laptop computer, pager, broadband personal communication device, two-way messaging device, electronic game, or portable computing device, or any other electronic device when used to input, write, send, receive, or read text for present or future communication.

(b) "Using" shall mean holding a portable electronic device while viewing, taking or transmitting images, playing games, or, for the purpose of present or future communication: performing a command or request to access a world wide web page, composing, sending, reading, viewing, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving or retrieving e-mail, text messages, instant messages, or other electronic data.        Using means ANY Use.

(c) "Commercial motor vehicle" shall have the same meaning as such term is defined by subdivision four-a of section two of the transportation law.

(d) "Motor carrier" shall have the same meaning as such term is defined by subdivision seventeen of section two of the transportation law.

3. Subdivision one of this section shall not apply to (a) the use of a portable electronic device for the sole purpose of communicating with any of the following regarding an emergency situation: an emergency response operator; a hospital; a physician's office or health clinic; an ambulance company or corps; a fire department, district or company; or a police department, (b) any of the following persons while in the performance of their official duties: a police officer or peace officer; a member of a fire department, district or company; or the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle as defined in section one hundred one of this chapter.

4. A person who holds a portable electronic device in a conspicuous manner while operating a motor vehicle or while operating a commercial motor vehicle on a public highway including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays but not including when such commercial motor vehicle is stopped at the side of, or off, a public highway in a location where such vehicle is not otherwise prohibited from stopping by law, rule, regulation or any lawful order or direction of a police officer is presumed to be using such device, except that a person operating a commercial motor vehicle while using a portable electronic device when such vehicle is stopped at the side of, or off, a public highway in a location where such vehicle is not otherwise prohibited from stopping by law, rule, regulation or any lawful order or direction of a police officer shall not be presumed to be using such device. The presumption established by this subdivision is rebuttable by evidence tending to show that the operator was not using the device within the meaning of this section.

5. The provisions of this section shall not be construed as authorizing the seizure or forfeiture of a portable electronic device, unless otherwise provided by law.

6. A violation of this section shall be a traffic infraction and shall be punishable by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than two hundred dollars upon conviction of a first violation; upon conviction of a second violation, both of which were committed within a period of eighteen months, such violation shall be punished by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than two hundred fifty dollars; upon conviction of a third or subsequent violation, all of which were committed within a period of eighteen months, such violation shall be punished by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than four hundred fifty dollars.

New York Cell Phone and Electronic Device Violations Can Usually Be Negotiated


Depending upon the court, the county, the judge, and the district attorney many of these tickets can be dealt with. Often a traffic defense attorney can get these 5 point serious traffic offenses reduced to something less caustic to your driving record, and to your car insurance. In far worse situations this is only one of many tickets you receive for the same traffic stop.

In a bad situation, you are caught speeding, one of your kids is out of his car seat in your mini-van and you are playing with your phone or iPod. The points mount up in these cases. OR

You are speeding with just the phone in your hand and you are alleged to have placed it up or near your ear by the trooper. Stay away from the ear when driving and even holding anything. 

We have seen people holding a burger stopped for using a cell phone because the police thought it was a phone.