DUI Defense Attorney
While many states have made texting and driving a civil infraction, punishable by only a fine, there are often far more legal risks to engaging in texting and driving than a fine or points on your driver’s license.
While the act of texting and driving in and of itself may not have criminal penalties, if something bad happens while you are in the act of texting and driving, or even near the time that you were texting and driving, you may be subject to severe criminal penalties. For example, if you are texting and driving and then are in an automobile accident that results in the serious injury or the death of another person, you could be charged with a range of serious crimes, like involuntary or voluntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, murder, moving violation causing death or serious injury, reckless driving, negligent driving, and more.
The criminal penalties for causing the death or serious injury of another person can range from probation and community service to serious prison time.
The police who investigate a crash involving a death or serious injury are likely to obtain a warrant to seize your cell phone, and a forensic examination of your cell phone will likely reveal if your phone was in use and in what way it was in use at the time of the crash. If it is discovered that you were using your phone at the time of a crash that resulted in injury or death, the likelihood that you will be criminally charged is great.
In addition to the potential criminal penalties that might result from such an accident, there are also legal concerns about potential civil litigation. If you are in an automobile accident where you were texting and driving, and it results in injury or death to another driver or passenger, you could be sued by that person for their damages. Depending on the injury, the amount of damages can be incredibly high. While many people’s car insurance will defend and pay such a claim, you could be responsible for any amount that exceeds your insurance coverage, and will be subject to the stress and other financial costs of being involved in such litigation.
While the legal dangers of texting and driving should be enough to prevent you from using your phone while behind the wheel of a car, the potential legal consequences are not the only reason to refrain from texting and driving.
Texting and driving is dangerous. You risk injury to yourself, your passengers, and those in vehicles around you. The risk of death or serious injury so that you can send or receive a message is far too great. Further, texting and driving in front of your kids will only encourage them to use their phones while driving when they someday get behind the wheel of a car. Take whatever steps you need to prevent yourself from giving in to the temptation to pick up the phone while you are driving. A criminal law lawyer Grand Rapids, MI offers suggests avoiding both the legal and human consequences of texting and driving.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Blanchard Law for their insight into criminal defense cases and texting while driving.