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Pretextual Stops and the New Ban on Cell Phones in PA

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Police have a new weapon in the war on drugs, drunk driving...distracted driving

By Attorney Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini, Criminal Attorney, Harrisburg, PA

Police will undoubtedly be citing folks for texting while driving, which will take effect in March 2012.  This is a primary offense.  Which means, police may pull you over to issue a ticket because it appears that you are texting while driving.  But how will an officer be able to tell unless he can summon Superman's X-Ray vision?  The obvious answer...he won't!  They will use telltale 'clues' to determine if someone is distracted, therefore, using a PDA, cell phone, smart phone, iPad or other device to send mobile messages.  Such clues as weaving and swerving on the roadway, sudden speed changes, moving frequently in the seat, or head looking up and down frequently. 

Such clues used to determine a possible violation of the law could never be used to mask a more sinister intent of the police to stop someone with out-of-state plates, a sports car, younger person, or dare I say...an African American (I'm being very sarcastic).  Of course they will be used in this fashion!  Police may not use a pre-text to stop someone.  They may not stop someone simply because of the car they drive, their age or their race.  But police often target the things I've listed. 

Police will be targeting those they suspect of transporting drugs, drinking and driving or some other more serious crimes based upon this new statute.  If you've been arrested or charged with a serious crime because you were stopped for 'Texting while Driving,' contact an experienced lawyer at Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC toll free or email us today.

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