Yes, it is still legal to make or receive phone calls on your cell phone while driving in Florida. You are not required to use a handsfree device to talk on the phone while driving and you are not required to be stopped at a stop light to make a phone call. It is also legal to send or receive text messages while driving if you use voice technology or a handsfree device to send the message or read the message aloud. That being said, it is illegal for drivers to use any type of handheld device to send or receive a text message, or to view any data, while driving in Florida. That means that drivers are prohibited from using any phone, iPad, tablet, Kindle, notebook, laptop or electronic game to view anything, including but not limited to, emails, photos or updates from social media while they are driving a car (however, it is legal to use a handheld device to text or view data while the car is stopped at a light, stop sign or on the side of the road). Confusing? Here are a couple of other rules you should be aware of if you are using your cell phone while driving in Florida.
- It is illegal for drivers to use their cell phone to talk on the phone or send a text message while traveling in a school zone in Florida, even if they have a handsfree device;
- It is illegal for a driver in Florida to enter information into a GPS system while driving; and,
- Drivers in Florida cannot wear headphones, Air Pods or headsets over both ears while driving; however, one Air Pod or headphone can be worn over one ear while allowing traffic noises to be heard through the other ear.
What happens if you are pulled over for texting while driving? Texting while driving is a primary offense in Florida, which means an officer can pull you over if they have reasonable suspicion to believe you are texting while driving in violation of the statute. Texting while driving is a civil infraction, meaning you can receive a traffic ticket for it. Unfortunately, traffic stops oftentimes lead to arrests for other reasons, so keep your rights in mind if you are stopped by the police for texting and driving.
If a person has been pulled over for texting while driving then they should contact the Law Office of Matthew C. Williams to determine whether or not the traffic stop and/or the officer’s actions were legal. Law enforcement cannot seize your phone or search your phone solely because they stopped you for texting while driving. In fact, §316.305 and §316.306, Florida Statutes, specifically state that law enforcement must advise you of your right to decline a search of your phone if they pull you over for texting while driving. While an officer can claim they saw you holding your phone while driving, they will have a difficult time proving that you were actually using your handheld device to text, enter GPS data or view social media unless you make an admission, so don’t make any statements without speaking to your lawyer. And make sure you say “NO” if they ask you to search your phone.
At the Law Office of Matthew C. Williams, we can discuss your case with you and explain your rights as it relates to the traffic stop and any potential motions we can file on your behalf. Depending on the facts of your case, we may be able to file a motion to suppress unlawfully obtained evidence. In certain instances, we can also have the infraction or charges dismissed based on the unlawful traffic stop. There are many other benefits to retaining a lawyer after you were arrested or cited after being pulled over for texting while driving. Matthew Williams and his legal team focus primarily on criminal defense matters and they take pride in obtaining great results for their clients. Attorney Williams treats his clients like family because he knows what they are dealing with is always more than just a case, and he refuses to let law enforcement, prosecutors, or the criminal justice system stand in the way of getting his clients the outcome they deserve. He obtains justice for his clients and he’ll do the same for you, so give The Law Office of Matthew C. Williams a call to find out how he can seek justice for you today.