Minnesota is cracking down on distracted driving now that a Hands-Free Cell Phone Driving Bill has been put in place, but thousands of Minnesotans still talk and text on their phones illegally while they drive. We’ve explained what can happen if you’re cited under the new law on the blog in the past, and many people may not think that a fine is a very big deal. But what if you cause an accident because you were looking at your phone? We explain the criminal charges you’ll face for driving distracted and causing an accident in today’s blog.
Texting While Driving Accidents In Minnesota
Minnesota’s hands-free law went on the books on August 1st of last year, and it prohibits holding a cell phone or electronic device while the vehicle is in traffic. Violations are typically only a monetary offense, unless your actions cause a traffic accident. When this happens, you can be charged with careless or reckless driving.
Careless Driving – Driving in a careless manner than endangers another person.
Reckless Driving – Driving in a manner that poses substantial risk to others safety while disregarding this risk.
If you cause an accident because you were on the phone, you’ll likely face a careless or reckless driving charge. While they are both misdemeanor crimes punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $1,000, they can be enhanced to gross misdemeanors and even felonies depending on the injuries to the other parties.
Not only are fines and jail time on the line, but there’s also a decent chance that you’ll lose your license. Even if you have a clean driving record and are able to retain your license, that conviction will make its way back to your auto insurance company. Expect your rates to skyrocket, costing you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the run long.
If you drive for a living, you may lose your job as a result of the conviction, and that same conviction will appear on background checks, making it harder for you to find future employment. And all of this doesn’t even mention the potential civil lawsuit you may face if you injure or kill someone while you’re on the phone.
At the end of the day, it’s clear to see that causing an accident while you’re on your cell phone can have serious criminal consequences. We hope that everyone abides by the new Hands-Free law, but we know that’s not going to happen. If you end up facing criminal charges because you were involved in an accident while using a cell phone, you absolutely need to retain an experienced legal team to fight the charges and limit your liability. We can do that at Appelman Law Firm. Give our team a call day or night at (952) 224-2777.