Like many other states, Virginia has banned texting and driving. As of 2021, it became illegal to hold your mobile device in your hand. This applies to any wireless communication devices. It’s also important to note that the law specifically prohibits holding the device, so it is also illegal to hold it while you talk to someone. You don’t necessarily have to be texting in order to violate this law, even though that is a major reason it was created.
The reason that Virginia has done this is simply because texting and driving is a type of distracted driving. Any cellphone use in the car makes a driver more dangerous and it leads to car accidents. Even drivers who feel that they are still controlling the car are cognitively distracted while using a phone.
In any case, since the laws have changed, you may be wondering when you can be pulled over and what happens if the police give you a ticket for texting and driving.
It is a primary offense
First and foremost, note that distracted driving is a primary offense under Virginia law. Other states have similar violations, but they are secondary offenses. This means that they can compound something else that already happened. If a person causes a car accident and it is later discovered that they were texting and driving, for example, that becomes part of the car accident case.
But in Virginia, the police don’t need another reason to pull you over. If they see you holding your phone in your hand while you drive, that is enough for them to stop your vehicle.
How much is the fine?
If you are convicted on texting and driving charges once, you will be fined $125. If it happens again, the fine increases to $250. This is similar to how the ramifications tend to increase for drunk driving charges. However, any subsequent violations are also fined at the $250 rate, so it does not keep multiplying after that.
What options do you have?
Since this new law makes distracted driving a primary advance, it is likely that drivers are going to be pulled over when they’ve never experienced this before. If this is the first time, you definitely need to learn about all of the legal options you have.