New Jersey Traffic Lawyers

Cell Phone Tickets in New Jersey | NJSA 39:4-97.3

Recently, police have been out in full force issuing cell phone tickets throughout New Jersey to thousands of unsuspecting drivers.

Since distracted driving has become a hot button issue over the years, officers are specifically on the lookout for motorists with cell phones in their hands, up to their ears, and even on the passenger seat.

Also, as of July 1, 2014, New Jersey heavily increased the penalties for cell phone tickets.

Consequently, if you received a NJ cell phone ticket, be smart––contact an experienced traffic ticket attorney to help you fight it.

Cell Phone Ticket Basics

New Jersey’s cell phone law (NJSA 39:4-97.3) is quite wide-ranging. It prohibits the “use” of a cell phone while driving.

“Use” has been defined as being engaged in a call; talking on the phone; listening to a person, voicemail, or other recording; texting; e-mailing; surfing the web; and similar types of behavior that could distract a driver.

Depending on the circumstances, simply selecting a song on your iPhone could potentially be grounds for the issuance of a cell phone ticket in NJ.

Penalties for a NJ Cell Phone Ticket

If it is your first time being convicted of distracted driving in NJ, you will be forced to pay a $200 minimum fine ($400 max. fine).

For a second offense, the minimum fine doubles to $400 ($600 max. fine).

A third cell phone ticket conviction will result in:

  • 90-Day License Suspension
  • 3 Points
  • Minimum $600 Fine ($800 max. fine)

Additionally, your auto insurance carrier will usually label you as a “careless driving” or “distracted driver” and dramatically increase your premium even for the first offense.

Depending on who your insurance carrier is, your NJ auto insurance hike could be close to 55%.

How to Beat a Cell Phone Ticket in NJ (Exceptions and Common Defenses)

Hiring a NJ traffic ticket attorney gives you the best chance of successfully fighting your cell phone ticket and avoiding the short-term and long-term sting of a conviction.

A skilled attorney will know what defenses are most applicable for your unique case and will be able to raise them at the appropriate time.

It is important to note that the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission carved out two important exceptions to NJ’s cell phone law.

First, according to the NJ MVC, “Although it is discouraged, drivers may use a hands-free device if it does not interfere with standard safety equipment.” This includes using Bluetooth as well as speaker-phone when the phone is not being held in your hand.

Second, “a hand-held phone may be used for an emergency only and the driver must keep one hand on the wheel at all times.”

However, an emergency––as defined for this purpose––is usually something that is a matter of life and death.

Moreover, it is crucial to know what type of “use” the officer is alleging that you were engaged in.

If he or she claims you were on the phone and you were not, getting a copy of your cell phone bill will be crucial evidence for your defense.

If the officer claims you were texting while driving or surfing the web while driving, calling into question his ability to see into your car will obviously be an integral part of your defense.

Ultimately, winning your cell phone case and getting the best results hinges on your attorney’s ability to use the right evidence and legal strategies unique to your case.

Who Should You Contact?

If you recently received a cell phone ticket in New Jersey (NJSA 39:4-97.3), contact Michael Botton of The Botton Law Firm today at 732-894-3686. His team of NJ traffic ticket attorneys have years of experience fighting traffic tickets, negotiating with prosecutors, and reducing traffic violations.

Comments (11)

  1. Min Kim

    Dear Sir

    Today, I got a ticket 39:4-97.3, Even I hold my cell phone on my hand, I never used my phone while driving, but, police officer claim, he said I have used phone, but, I do not know what he saw, because on my left hand, I have held a receipt, phone, e-cig to re-arrange left door-pocket(handle side). anyway, it is the first ticket with cell phone, and, I am not sure what I have to do. could you give me an advice ?


    1. The Botton Law Firm (Post author)

      Min Kim,

      NJ cell phone tickets (NJSA 39:4-97.3) are rough. The fine can be hundreds of dollars and they can raise your insurance rates. If you’re serious about beating this ticket, give us a call today at 732-894-3686. We can help you!

  2. 908 513 9312

    I was stopped at a red light, will waiting for light to change I was fidgeting flipping my phone around in my hand.. The light turned and I put my phone down and preceded through the intersection . The cop pulled me over for holding my cellphone at the traffic light. The cop wrote ticket at 4:23pm , last text was incoming at 4:22, before that it was an out going at 4:18p before pulling out of work lot.. Last phone call out going at 4:10pm and last Facebook post was at 2:10p.. Cop stated that stopped at a traffic light, you can’t have your hand on your phone.. However I can drink my coffee, eat a burger and flip my wallet in my hand all I want at the same traffic light … My phone is hands free , blue tooth was in my ear..

    1. The Botton Law Firm (Post author)

      Thanks for reaching out! Please call us to discuss your case in greater detail.

  3. Gaurav

    Today I got 39:4-97.3 summon to appear at court. I was driving and I made a call. I always use my phone on speaker. But this time I forgot and used my phone without speaker. This is the first traffic violations. Should I go to court and pay the fine? Or get a lawyer and clear this.

    1. The Botton Law Firm (Post author)


      Thanks for reaching out. It’s a bit more complicated than you might think. Please call us today for a free consultation and we’d be happy to explain the situation more fully.

  4. Marsilda


    Today i got a ticket even i was having my phone on speaker,it’s my second time. I don’t know what to do?

    1. The Botton Law Firm (Post author)

      Call us for a free consultation.

  5. Amanda

    I got a cell phone ticket for simply picking up my phone to untangle the charger from my drink and my shift knob. He flat out told me I was using it and can’t have it in my hand. As well as writing me 2 other tickets and screaming at me because I’m soft spoken and could not hear me. Just seeing if I can fight it.

    1. The Botton Law Firm (Post author)

      Call us today to discuss your options.

  6. Jennifer Valdes

    Are consultations free? I’m broke and I can’t afford a lawyer, but I was recently pulled over in heavy traffic because I was “holding my cell phone” . I quote this because I was actually holding my bluetooth speaker that plays music. But the officer insisted it was a cell phone. When I asked him if it was wrong to hold any type of electronic device he beat around the bush talking about gps’s when that is not what I asked. The ticket is worded as “cell phone handled”.


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