More people own smartphones today than ever before, so it’s no surprise that texting while driving violations are becoming commonplace, especially among young drivers. The problem with texting while driving is that, aside from being illegal, it puts you and the drivers around you at a heightened risk for getting into an accident.
Texting & Driving Crimes in Minnesota
The practice of sending a text message while driving is referenced in Minnesota statute 169.475 Use Of Wireless Communication Devices. The statute expressly states, “No person may operate a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device to compose, read, or send an electronic message, when the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic.”
For the purpose of the law an electronic message is defined as any form of electronic communication, including:
- Text message
- Instant message
- Social media message (Facebook post, Tweet, Snapchat, etc.)
Penalties For Texting While Driving in Minnesota
The penalties for texting while driving in Minnesota aren’t set in stone, but most you’ll most likely receive a ticket for Careless Driving. A Careless Driving citation is a misdemeanor offense, meaning you will face the possibility of 90 days in jail and fines up to $1,000. The Minnesota Judicial website lists a Careless Driving ticket as a $178 citation, but that number is flexible.
It is also possible for an officer to ticket you for other driving violations that occurred while you were texting. Some common secondary violations that occur because a person was texting and driving include failure to stop, failure to use turn signals, failure to maintain lane, and failure to maintain control of a vehicle. Don’t be surprised if you receive more than one ticket if a cop catches you texting behind the wheel.
As with any crime, charges can be upgraded to aggravated offenses if injury or death occurs. A text message or email can always wait until you get home.
Woodbury Traffic Attorney
Everybody makes mistakes, and you’re not the only one who thinks they can send a quick text while driving. If you are ticketed, or more importantly if you are involved in an accident where one of the drivers was texting, contact a distracted driving attorney right away. They’ll be able to explain the process and put you in the best position to beat the charges. If you have any questions or would like to set up a free consultation, contact Appelman Law Firm today.