Texting and Driving Crimes in Oklahoma

Texting and Driving Crimes

When it comes to Texting and Driving Crimes in Oklahoma, it’s a very serious matter. Texting and Driving is more commonly called “distracted driving”. This is often the reason for most of our everyday auto accidents in today’s technologically centered society. Approximately 9 people each day are in fatal car accidents involving a distracted driver.  However, texting and driving accounts for nearly 1,000 injuries each day on the roads.  This totals over 3,000 people killed and over 400,000 people with injuries from distracted driving accidents.  As a result, Oklahoma and several other states have laws banning texting and driving. Read further for more information about texting and driving crimes in Oklahoma, or check out our Tulsa Lawyers Blog for other useful information.

Oklahoma Laws Regarding Texting and Driving

In 2015 the Oklahoma legislation passed HB 1965.  This law makes texting and driving a crime with certain consequences.

“It shall be unlawful […] to operate a motor vehicle […] while using a hand-held electronic communication device to manually compose, send or read an electronic text message while the […] vehicle is in motion.” – HB 1965 §2.A

As such, this statute covers more than simply cell phones.  Using any electronic device to send a text message of any sort is illegal.  For example, using an iPad, tablet, smart watch, etc. is illegal as well.  Further, a text message includes sending photos, videos, and emails too. 

Punishments for Texting and Driving Crimes

While the fine for texting and driving—a $100 ticket—seems light, this is not the only penalty.  First, like any other traffic ticket, this will be on your driving record. However, if you are in an accident while you text and drive, you could face much heavier penalties.  For example, if a person is injured or killed you will face negligence and possible manslaughter charges. Insurance companies will also take note of your documented negligent driving, and can penalize you by raising your car insurance. These consequences could seriously impact your future in many ways. Thus, hiring a criminal defense attorney with proper experience is your best bet to getting the best outcome possible for yourself.

Defenses for Texting and Driving

In the last couple of decades, the rise of mobile technology has greatly increased instances of distracted driving, particularly texting while driving. As a result, the potential for severe consequences has increased. This includes accidents, injuries, and fatalities. In response, most jurisdictions implement strict laws to penalize this behavior. However, individuals charged with distracted driving or texting while driving often seek legal counsel to dismiss or lessen the charges. Below are some common defenses used in these cases:

1. Mistaken Allegation: One of the primary defenses is challenging the officer’s observation or the allegation itself. The alleged offender might argue that they were not using their phone. Alternatively, that the officer mistook their actions for something else that wasn’t an infraction. 

2. Emergency Situations: In certain situations, drivers might argue that they were using their phone due to an emergency, which necessitated immediate communication. Some jurisdictions have exceptions in their laws for emergency use of a phone while driving. Such an example is calling 911 or other emergency services. Documentation or evidence of the emergency, such as phone logs showing a call to emergency services, could help support this defense.

3. Lack of Evidence: A successful defense might also be the lack of concrete evidence proving that the driver was indeed texting or distracted. Since direct evidence of phone usage is often hard to obtain without breaching privacy laws, charges might be based on observations or circumstantial evidence. You could challenge such evidence.

4. Involuntary or Unintentional Actions: Defendants might claim that their actions were involuntary or unintentional, such as picking up a falling phone or instinctively responding to a sudden noise or alert from the device. This defense tries to differentiate between a deliberate act of texting or distraction and a reflexive, brief response to an unexpected situation.

6. Improper Stop or Violation of Rights: Another potential defense is challenging the legality of the traffic stop itself. If the defense can prove that the officer did not have a valid reason to make the traffic stop or the conduction was in violation of the driver’s rights, any evidence they obtain during the stop might be inadmissible.

Tulsa Defense Lawyers Can Help

Here at Kania Law Office, we understand that people are constantly on the move.  Further, we also know that statistically 90% of people will text and drive at some point.  If you are facing charges or even a simple ticket on texting and driving, call our offices for legal support. We have decades of experience to help with texting and driving crimes. Your first consultation is free of charge so you can make sure you want our services before signing up. Call us now at 918-743-2233, or reach out to us using our Ask A Lawyer online tool.

Tulsa's Local Criminal Defense Lawyers

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