Can You Use Your Phone When Your Vehicle Is Stopped in Maryland?

While you are operating your vehicle, even if you’re stopped at a stoplight, it is prohibited to use your phone without a hands-free device in Maryland. However, if your car is off or is parked off the travel portion of the road, you may use your phone because you are no longer operating a vehicle in motion. Distracted driving accounts for thousands of injuries and fatalities annually, with drivers being much more likely to get into an accident and sustain serious injuries if they use their cell phones while driving.

The decision to use your cell phone while operating a car in motion can have serious lasting consequences, including breaking the laws aimed to protect drivers may lead to financial and other penalties. In Maryland, any driver who engages in texting while driving or using a handheld device for any reason while driving in the travel portion of the road can be issued a $40 fine for a first offense and up to $100 for subsequent offenses.

What Are Maryland’s Cell Phone Laws?

Without a hands-free device, it is unlawful to use a phone while operating a vehicle. Overall, this means that if your car is in drive or on the traveling side of the road, you may be issued a citation. This law is a secondary offense, so you also have to be committing a primary traffic offense, such as speeding or reckless driving, before you receive a citation for a cell phone offense. If your car is off or is parked on a non-traveling portion of the road, you may use your cell phone.

Texting laws prohibit a driver from using a cell phone to write, read, or send a text message while operating a vehicle, on the travel side of the ride, or if the vehicle is in motion. Exceptions may include using a GPS or contacting 911 in emergency situations. To avoid misdemeanor convictions and a fine of up to $500 depending on the unique circumstance, speak with the experienced Maryland traffic violation lawyer at The Law Office of Hillel Traub.

Penalties for Texting and Driving in Maryland

If you are stopped for a primary traffic offense, a cell phone usage citation may have the following penalties in Maryland:

  • A fine of not more than $40 for a first offense
  • A fine of $100 for a second or subsequent offense
  • Unless the offense contributes to an accident, you may not be penalized with a point against your driving record
  • If you seriously injure or kill a victim due to distracted driving, there may be higher penalties, such as incarceration and thousands of dollars in fines.

There is a potential that penalties may be waived for individuals who received a first offense for using their cell phone while driving or if you show proof of purchase of a hands-free device, an attachment, or a built-in feature that will allow you to operate a vehicle hands-free.

Distracted driving may not seem like a serious violation. However, if you have subsequent citations on your driving record, penalties may be severe and costly. Driving points can add up and ultimately lead to a license suspension. At The Law Office of Hillel Traub, we are well-versed in Maryland traffic laws and understand how to fight on your behalf to help you avoid heavy penalties.

Contact the Experienced Lawyer at The Law Office of Hillel Traub

Attorney Hillel Traub at The Law Office of Hillel Traub has over 20 years of exceptional service in challenging and defending traffic violation cases. He has secured millions of dollars for clients and provided competent traffic defense with personal attention to even the most complex cases. As a former Assistant Attorney General at the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, he understands how to fight for you.

Speak with us during your free consultation on how you could potentially fight your traffic violation by calling (410) 580-1100 or by filling out our contact form.