Parker, Pollard, Wilton, and Peaden - Attorneys at Law

Virginia Texting-While-Driving Law

Stephen A. Bryant Written by:

The police can, and will, pull you over for “texting-while-driving.” Texting-while-driving covers the operation of a motor vehicle while manually entering letters/text in a handheld personal communication device as a means of communicating with another person. The term also includes reading any email or text message transmitted to the device or stored within it.

For a first-time offense, the fine is $125. For a second, or any subsequent offense, the fine is $250.

If a police officer stops you, be courteous. He or she will likely treat the incident as a routine traffic stop and may ask for your license, registration, and insurance information. The officer may even ask you for your cell phone. If you feel uncomfortable surrendering your phone, you may refuse. If the officer doesn’t have a warrant, he/she cannot seize it without your consent.

The following are specifically exempted from being defined as “texting-while-driving”: reading a name or number stored within the device while operating a motor vehicle; reading Caller ID information while operating a motor vehicle; using factory-installed or aftermarket GPS or wireless communication devices as part of a digital dispatch system; and operating a motor vehicle and using a device to report an emergency. Finally, any action performed on a personal communication device while being lawfully parked or stopped does not qualify as “texting-while-driving”.