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Defenses for Texting While Driving in Ohio


Last month, we reviewed O.R.C. 4511.204—Ohio’s law governing texting while driving. This month we will take a brief look at several defenses that are often used to challenge texting and driving charges. With the right approach, you may to reduce your sentencing or avoid these consequences altogether.

Violating the Statue: A Secondary Offense

Texting While Driving Ticket

If you are at least 18 years of age, a police officer cannot pull you over just for texting. To get arrested for texting while driving, you must first be pulled over for another violation. While this limits your chances of an arrest, it is far from fail-safe, as officers often pull drivers over on other technicalities.

For example, if a police officer sees you texting and driving while travelling at 1 mph over the speed limit, they can pull you over for speeding and give you a ticket for violating this statute, in addition to a ticket for texting. The officer cannot pull you over for the sole purpose of giving you a texting ticket—but they can find other reasons to pull you over. The bottom line, then, is this: don’t text and drive.

Common Defenses for Texting While Driving

After turning 18, Ohio drivers can use their phones for calls while driving. As a result, many people are charged with texting when they were using their phone for other purposes, including navigation or making a call. If you have been wrongfully charged with texting while driving, you should take action immediately to reduce your chances of facing steep fines or even losing your license.

Here are some of the defenses that may be at your disposal*:

  1. Using the phone for emergency purposes
  2. Texting for public purposes while operating a public vehicle
  3. Using the device for navigation purposes
  4. Selecting a number to make a call
  5. Receiving messages via radio waves
  6. Using the device’s speak-to-write function
  7. Operating the device via voice commands (Siri, etc.)
  8. Receiving information from car (safety, engine problems, etc.)
  9. Using a mobile data terminal while operating a commercial truck
  10. Your vehicle was stationary and not in a lane of traffic

Build Your Defense with an Experienced Columbus Criminal Defense Lawyer

Have a question about your traffic violation? Don’t hesitate to contact The Meranda Law Firm LTD. As dedicated professionals with more than 15 years of experience, we are willing and able to help you through the criminal process. Get in touch with our firm today to set up your initial consultation, where one of our Columbus traffic violation lawyers can listen to your side of the story and help you develop an effective defense.

*NOTE: Just because these defenses are available for use in some situations does NOT mean you can always claim that you were not texting at the time you were pulled over. Law enforcement will subpoena your texting records and will see if you were texting at that time—down to the minute or second. Defenses are there to keep the innocent not guilty, not the other way around