To better ensure safety on the road, states have laws that regulate the use of electronic devices while driving. New Jersey, like many states, has detailed legislation on this matter. The following information should help you better understand New Jersey Revised Statutes Title 39, Section 39:4-97.3, which specifically addresses the use of wireless telephones and electronic communication devices while driving.

The Basic Premise Of The “Cell Phone Ticket” Law

New Jersey Revised Statutes Title 39, Section 39:4-97.3 generally prohibits using a phone or electronic communication device while you’re driving. However, the law does permit these devices’ hands-free usage, which means you’re not physically holding the device during the conversation or use.

The cell phone violation law also emphasizes safety. It clarifies that the placement of the hands-free device should not interfere with the operation of federally required safety equipment. Furthermore, using the device should not distract you from driving safely; the law requires all drivers to maintain a high degree of caution on the road.


Like most laws, Section 39:4-97.3 has exceptions. The statute does not apply to the use of an amateur radio. It also permits citizen’s band radio use or 2-way radio by operators of commercial vehicles or emergency vehicles. If you’re driving a commercial vehicle or are an authorized emergency vehicle operator, these rules apply to you.

When Can You Use A Hand-Held Cell Phone?

Although the law is stringent about using hand-held phones while driving, there are specific situations where such usage is permitted:

  1. If you fear for your safety or believe a criminal offense could be committed against you or someone else.
  2. If you need to report emergencies like a fire, traffic accident, significant road hazard, hazardous materials or medical emergency, or a driver who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Cell Phone Ticket Violations: What Are The Consequences?

If you’re found violating Section 39:4-97.3, you can expect penalties:

  1. A first offense could lead to a fine between $200 and $400.
  2. A second offense increases the fine to between $400 and $600.
  3. For a third or subsequent offense, the fine ranges from $600 to $800.

If you’re caught three times or more, you might lose your driving privileges for up to 90 days, and you’ll also receive three penalty points on your driving record.

Ten-Year Rule For Reduced Penalties

Section 39:4-97.3 offers an opportunity for those with long periods of compliance between violations to receive reduced penalties. If more than 10 years pass between offenses, the court treats subsequent offenses as prior-level offenses for sentencing purposes.

Public Education And Information

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission is in charge of a public education program that informs the public about the provisions of this law. The fines collected from those who violate this law fund this program.

Drive Safe

In summary, New Jersey Revised Statutes Title 39, Section 39:4-97.3 emphasizes the importance of safety while driving. While there are exceptions and specifics to this law, it’s always safer and smarter to avoid using your phone while driving unless it’s absolutely necessary and hands-free. Penalties are steep, and the risk to your life and those around you is even higher. So, stay safe, and keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone.

New Jersey Cell Phone Ticket Lawyers

Are you under the stress of a traffic ticket violation, specifically 39:4-97.3 (texting while driving, using a cell phone while driving), or any other traffic law in New Jersey? It’s time to put that weight in the hands of proven professionals. Cell phone tickets lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are ready to step in and fight for your rights with over 200 years of combined legal experience, comprised of 11 dedicated criminal defense attorneys. Our team includes seven former prosecutors, four of whom held directorial positions with various divisions including Drug, Gang, Gun Task Force, Major Crimes, Trial, and Juvenile. In addition, several of our attorneys have been recognized among the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 or Top 40 Under 40. We’re also proud to have attorneys recently included in the Super Lawyers Rising Stars 2021 list for New Jersey, a recognition given to only 2.5% of attorneys in the state. For exceptional representation, including access to an attorney Certified by the NJ Supreme Court as a Criminal Trial Attorney, don’t hesitate to contact us at (855) 966-4931 or online.

Learn more about NJ traffic violations.

Contact The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall traffic ticket attorneys to fight accusations of texting while driving or using a cell phone while driving in New Jersey.