Home > Cell Phone Tickets, Traffic Tickets > Judge Dismisses Cell Phone Ticket Using Siri to Activate Call Does Not Violate Hands Free Driving Laws

Judge Dismisses Cell Phone Ticket Using Siri to Activate Call Does Not Violate Hands Free Driving Laws

Judge Dismisses Cell Phone Ticket Using Siri to Activate Call Does Not Violate Hands Free Driving Laws- blog submitted by ticketbust.com, helping drivers contest and dismiss their traffic tickets.

Just last year, a New York Judge, in People v. Andrew Welch, dismissed a cell phone ticket involving Siri. The defendant, Andrew Welch was charged with using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle without a hands free device, in violation of New York Vehicle and Traffic Law. Per the officer’s testimony, defendant had a cell phone in his hand which he held close to his chin, and was talking into it. At trial, the defendant took the stand, admitted that he had the cell phone in his hand and was talking into it, but asserted he was using the phone’s Siri feature to activate a call. Justice Morris concluded that the defendant’s testimony established he was activating a call an action that is not illegal.

This begs the question is it legal to use Siri while driving in California? The verdict is still out. The hands free driving laws leaves much open for interpretation both by law enforcement officials when it comes to issuing tickets and judges when it comes to looking at whether those tickets issued should be upheld or dismissed and there is no published California decision on the matter.

SanJoseMercuryNews.com reports San Jose police Lt. Chris Monahan says it’s legal to talk to Siri, as long as the phone’s not in your hand but if you ask for directions and she puts them up on her screen for you to read then California’s vehicle code says you’re breaking the law.

But State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, who wrote the hands-free and texting laws enacted in 2008 and 2009 has a different opinion. SanJoseMercuryNews.com reports the bill’s author says that because Siri is not “a person” the law may not apply at all: “I’m a legislator, not a judge or a law enforcement official,” said “But I don’t see how asking Siri for driving instructions and then looking down at the text on the phone is any more of a violation of existing law than reading your GPS device. The law talks about communicating with any ‘person.’ And if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that Siri is not a person.”

SanJoseMercuryNews.com reports California Highway Patrol spokesman D.J. Sarabia says the problem with cell-phone legislation is that you can ask “ten of us in law enforcement and you’ll get ten slightly different interpretations. But then it’s one of those subjective things that in the end a judge will have to rule on.”-  blog submitted by ticketbust.com, helping drivers contest and dismiss their traffic tickets. 

If you get cited for a red light photo ticket, contact us at www.TicketBust.com or call us at (800) 850-8038.  For Spanish, please visit www.Combatesuticket.com or call (818) 584-3689.  For more information on how TicketBust can help to beat your cell phone ticket, visit www.fightcellphonetickets.com or call (800) 850-8038.

This blog was written to provide information related to traffic tickets in California, is based on opinion only, is not legal advice, and is for informational purposes only.

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