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In: Criminal Defense

Texas Texting While Driving Law

New Texas law bans written communications while you are behind the wheel.

As of September 1st, reading, writing, or sending electronic communications while you are driving is illegal in Texas. Previously, there was only a State ban in place for minor drivers and bus drivers. Under the new law, you are still able to talk on your phone while driving, unless you are in an active school zone. The texting while driving ban strictly focuses on using your phone for written communication purposes.

While many are referring to the new law as the texting while driving law, it goes well beyond that. It is a ban on electronic messages and written communications while driving. This means no posting on any social media sites, texting, and no emails. There is an exception for checking a message you believe to be related to an emergency situation. Additionally, you can still play music from your phone and use the GPS function. You may also use your phone to report criminal activity and contact emergency services.

Violators of the ban face a misdemeanor charge and fines ranging from $25 to $99. No point will be assessed to the violator’s drivers license. Repeat offenders can face upwards of $200 in fines. If anyone is seriously injured or dies in a crash related to texting while driving, the violator could incur up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail.

It is important to note that this law does not permit law enforcement officers to look at your phone during a traffic stop. If you choose to fight your ticket in court, prosecutors could subpoena your texting history, but this may not be practical. Trying to actually get these records from your wireless service provider would likely be too much trouble for a traffic violation carrying a minimal fine.

Texas passed hundreds of new laws, many of which went into effect on September 1st. If you have questions about these changes or are facing criminal penalties resulting from them, contact criminal defense attorney J. Michael Price II at 214-765-8000 or online.