You may be inclined to send a text to your friend when driving. And why not? It’s just a text, right? What harm can it do? Guess what – it is way more than just a text. It could be a matter of life and death on the road. You could get distracted while driving and hit another vehicle or a pedestrian. If you kill someone while texting and driving, you could be charged with vehicular manslaughter. To help put things in perspective, here are nine ways texting and driving can land you in legal trouble.
You Could Be Charged With a Misdemeanor
A misdemeanor is a lesser crime than a felony, but it’s still a criminal offense. You could be charged with a misdemeanor for texting and driving if you’re involved in a car accident, and the police think that texting was a factor. This is especially true if someone is injured in an accident.
You Could Be Charged With a Felony
If you kill someone while texting and driving, you could be charged with a felony, which is a much more serious offense. If you’re convicted of a felony, you could go to prison for many years. This is why you should not text and drive, no matter the reason.
You Could Be Sued
The victim could sue you. If the victim is seriously injured, they could end up with huge medical bills. The victim could also sue you for lost wages if they didn’t work because of the injuries.
Your Insurance Rates Will Go Up
If you cause an accident while texting and driving, your insurance company will likely increase your premium rates. The rates could go up so much that you might have to drop your coverage altogether.
You Could Lose Your License
Depending on your state, you might only lose your license for a few months. But in some states, you could lose your license for a year or more.
You Could Go to Jail
If you’re charged with a misdemeanor or felony for texting and driving, you could end up in jail. For example, if you’re convicted of vehicular manslaughter, you could go to prison for many years. Other charges include:
- Reckless driving: You could be charged for driving irresponsibly.
- Negligent homicide: You could be charged with homicide if someone dies because of your negligence.
- Involuntary manslaughter: This charge is brought when someone dies due to recklessness or criminal negligence.
You Could Be Fined
The fine will depend on your state and the accident’s severity.
You Could Be Forced to Attend Traffic School
Depending on your state, this could be a few hours of online training or an all-day class.
Your Car Insurance Could Be Canceled
Your car insurance company could cancel your policy if texting and driving cause an accident. This is especially true if you’re convicted of a felony.
Legal Troubles Due to Texting And Driving: How an Attorney Can Help
While you can use the above tips to avoid texting and getting into an accident, you could still end up in an accident for other reasons.
If you have been involved in an accident where the other driver was texting, you may wonder if you have a case. Although it is against the law to text and drive, proving that the other driver was texting at the time of the accident can be difficult. An experienced attorney can help to gather evidence and build a strong case on your behalf.
In some cases, witnesses may have seen the other driver texting just before the accident occurred. In other cases, the police officers who responded to the scene may have found evidence of texting on the other driver’s phone. An attorney can also review cell phone records to determine whether the other driver was texting during the accident.
If you were involved in an accident with a distracted driver, contact an experienced attorney to discuss your legal options.
There are many ways that texting and driving can land you in legal trouble. So, next time you’re tempted to pick up your phone while behind the wheel, think about the consequences. It’s just not worth it.