While you may not see as many public service announcements about it, texting while driving is still a major problem in the Twin Cities. Even though Minnesota law bans the practice, it is no surprising to see motorists checking their phones while in traffic. Some may be following turn-by-turn directions, while others may want to check the score of a football game.
Nevertheless, enforcing distracted driving laws can be difficult. It’s not very often that a driver will blatantly look at their phone after seeing a police car behind them. Because of this, some law enforcement agencies are going undercover….even in broad daylight.
Essentially, plain-clothed officers may ride in state issued vehicles to see how many people they could find that were violating the law. Like we alluded to earlier, people change their behavior quickly when they see a police presence. If the plain-clothed officer sees someone using their phone behind the wheel, they can radio to a nearby officer who will stop and cite the driver. This approach has been incorporated in a number of states, including North Carolina and Tennessee
It remains to be seen whether law enforcement agencies in Minnesota will adopt this approach to cell phone law enforcement. Those who are cited are subject to a fine, and repeated violations could lead to the revocation of one’s driving privileges.
But like other traffic violations, being charged with a crime does not always mean being convicted of one. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand your rights and options.