Everyone knows that texting and driving isn’t safe, and it’s not legal in most places, either. What is interesting for those accused of it is what officers can and can’t do to obtain information on whether or not you were texting and driving.
Many people make the mistake of apologizing or admitting that they were texting behind the wheel. The fact is that it can be hard to tell if the driver was simply placing a call and hitting a single button, which is legal, or typing in a message. The officer can’t demand to see your phone for evidence.
If you are stopped and admit that you were texting, the officer then has the proof he or she needs to issue a ticket. Without that evidence, or without seeing you text directly, the officer should not be able to issue a violation at all.
Even in the case of an accident, the police have no cause to search phones if they have no reason to believe you were texting. So, if no one saw you doing so, the officers have no way of finding out unless you say something. This is an important fact to remember if you have to defend yourself in court, because you don’t want to incriminate yourself by providing the prosecution with evidence.
If you’re stopped for a traffic violation or because an officer believes he saw you texting on your phone, you can deny it. You don’t have to admit to anything at a traffic stop. If you are arrested without the evidence needed to prove your guilt, your attorney may be able to help you have the case dismissed.
Source: The Ottawa Herald, “Texting and driving difficult to prove, law enforcement says,” Susan Welte, Nov. 29, 2016