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NIP but NOT holding a mobile phone, My son was holding it & simply showed me the screen
Pulsarlaser
post Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 14:54
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Hello,
In a traffic jam in Botley road, Oxford- my car has a Parrot hands-free system fitted and having been done already for picking up the phone to see who was calling me before answering on the Parrot, this time I asked my son to show me the screen whilst stationary in another jam- he was holding the mobile in his hand and I was not, however I was pulled in 100m down the road by another officer who had been tipped off.
My son & I explained that I had not touched it, but the officer said as his colleague had asked him to pull me in he could not contest his colleague.
I made him write the basic version of the above on the ticket before signing it, as I said I refused to be bullied into accepting a mistake- my son is 21 and a willing witness.
Do I have any chance of stopping this second mobile phone offence, which I genuinely am not guilty of?
Any advice gratefully received Thanks.
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post Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 14:54
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sgtdixie
post Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 15:02
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Unfortunately many people guilty of y he offence protest their innocence and come out with stories to cover their actions. The officers have no way of knowing if you made this up or it is true. As such the officer who 'saw' you holding the phone is obliged to process you if he genuinely believes you had the phone. This probably means you will have to go to court and let them decide.

How old is your son?
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Pulsarlaser
post Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 15:08
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My son is 21, on hol from Uni at the moment and holds a full licence of his own for 3 years.
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sgtdixie
post Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 15:13
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He is likely to be a good witness. There is no appeal if offered an fpn, all you can do is opt for court I'm afraid.
Unfortunately this is the way the justice system works. A police officer sees what he thinks is an offence. If the person concerned denies it then a court will decide if the offence is proved beyond reasonable doubt. No one is bullying you, it's simply how the system works.
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desktop_demon
post Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 15:18
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On the facts reported, I advise pleading not guilty and calling the son to give evidence as to the facts of the matter. While I do not agree with the overuse of a mobile phone while driving - I do think that the executive are often too quick to prosecute and not so quick to listen to the circumstances. I have advised five people to refuse a ticket and/or plead not guilty in such circumstances - and all, so far, have been successful in their own defence.

Some here will offer advice that it is much "worse"- financially speaking - to get convicted than to plead guilty. That is true - if one is convicted. On the flip side it is much better to plead not guilty and to have an unfounded charge dismissed by the bench. Going to court is always a worrying experience, but court is about presenting the facts as all parties see them and then determining the truth. "Chancers and time wasters need not apply" but citizens with a credible explanation should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Good luck!


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sgtdixie
post Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 15:29
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QUOTE (desktop_demon @ Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 16:18) *
Some here will offer advice that it is much "worse"- financially speaking - to get convicted than to plead guilty. That is true - if one is convicted. On the flip side it is much better to plead not guilty and to have an unfounded charge dismissed by the bench. Going to court is always a worrying experience, but court is about presenting the facts as all parties see them and then determining the truth. "Chancers and time wasters need not apply" but citizens with a credible explanation should be given the benefit of the doubt.

DD and often don't see eye to eye but I think he has pretty much nailed it.
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Pulsarlaser
post Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 15:44
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OK - Thanks all for the overview.
I see that if the FPN is issued I will have no option but to argue the facts of the case in Court (or take the hit if not)- is there perhaps any point or an opportunity to write to TVP before it is issued in order to explain that it was a genuine mistake & if issued it will be contested with a witness- perhaps adding that I am not the kind of parent who would ever suggest to my own son to lie in Court under oath for my (or anyone else's) benefit?
As you say, if it goes to Court there will be an element of 'reasonable doubt' no matter what, as my son will definitely testify that I did not touch the phone at all, and he will be a credible witness.
My only concern would be is there any way of being convicted of 'looking' at the phone instead, as some say that the law seems to be vague in this area?
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sgtdixie
post Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 16:15
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They won't drop it just because you say you are innocent. If it was that easy no one would ever be prosecuted. No one here doubts you or your son's honesty, but the phrase "I swear on my child's life" may give you some understanding that many people say they would never get their son/daughter/partner/friend/black judge to lie but sadly many do and the police have heard this all before.

It will be down to court. The good news is that despite what some believe courts today are not liable to simply believe a police officer over 2 witnesses.
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gilan02
post Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 16:45
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I can see the question being asked of "Why did you get your son to hold it up for you rather than asking him who was calling you?"
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southpaw82
post Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 17:07
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Two points, neither of which I'm suggesting are good ones.

First, the legislation doesn't say that the person using the phone has to be the person holding it.

Second, let's hope an eventual summons isn't for not in proper control rather than the mobile phone offence.


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AFCNEAL
post Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 17:29
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QUOTE (gilan02 @ Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 17:45) *
I can see the question being asked of "Why did you get your son to hold it up for you rather than asking him who was calling you?"


21 years old and at Uni, but couldn't tell from whom an incoming call originated?............


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StuartBu
post Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 17:54
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QUOTE (AFCNEAL @ Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 18:29) *
QUOTE (gilan02 @ Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 17:45) *
I can see the question being asked of "Why did you get your son to hold it up for you rather than asking him who was calling you?"


21 years old and at Uni, but couldn't tell from whom an incoming call originated?............


Why are folk making such a big issue of this . The son picked the phone up and turned it to show the driver ..So What ? Perhaps the "contact" wasn't shown on the screen ..only the callers number which the driver might have recognised but the son wouldn't . Perhaps it was a Text Message ( I know the OP said "caller" but that might not mean a "call" ) that the son had opened and was showing the Text to the driver .
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RD400E
post Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 18:07
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 18:07) *
Two points, neither of which I'm suggesting are good ones.

First, the legislation doesn't say that the person using the phone has to be the person holding it.

Second, let's hope an eventual summons isn't for not in proper control rather than the mobile phone offence.


Assuming the driver had both hands on the wheel, how is glancing at a mobile phone held by another any different to glancing at the radio to change channel or to insert a CD?
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sgtdixie
post Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 18:09
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QUOTE (RD400E @ Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 19:07) *
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 18:07) *
Two points, neither of which I'm suggesting are good ones.

First, the legislation doesn't say that the person using the phone has to be the person holding it.

Second, let's hope an eventual summons isn't for not in proper control rather than the mobile phone offence.


Assuming the driver had both hands on the wheel, how is glancing at a mobile phone held by another any different to glancing at the radio to change channel or to insert a CD?

Or similar to reading a text, delivery note, map or email?
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RD400E
post Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 18:17
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QUOTE (sgtdixie @ Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 19:09) *
QUOTE (RD400E @ Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 19:07) *
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 18:07) *
Two points, neither of which I'm suggesting are good ones.

First, the legislation doesn't say that the person using the phone has to be the person holding it.

Second, let's hope an eventual summons isn't for not in proper control rather than the mobile phone offence.


Assuming the driver had both hands on the wheel, how is glancing at a mobile phone held by another any different to glancing at the radio to change channel or to insert a CD?

Or similar to reading a text, delivery note, map or email?



I use my mobile device for navigation, how is that any different (as I have to look at it) to viewing the screen held by another person, whatever the content may be?
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southpaw82
post Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 18:23
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QUOTE (RD400E @ Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 19:17) *
QUOTE (sgtdixie @ Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 19:09) *
QUOTE (RD400E @ Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 19:07) *
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Tue, 12 Aug 2014 - 18:07) *
Two points, neither of which I'm suggesting are good ones.

First, the legislation doesn't say that the person using the phone has to be the person holding it.

Second, let's hope an eventual summons isn't for not in proper control rather than the mobile phone offence.


Assuming the driver had both hands on the wheel, how is glancing at a mobile phone held by another any different to glancing at the radio to change channel or to insert a CD?

Or similar to reading a text, delivery note, map or email?



I use my mobile device for navigation, how is that any different (as I have to look at it) to viewing the screen held by another person, whatever the content may be?


Hand held. Now, I think it would be absurd to claim that the legislation captures such a circumstance but it isn't my opinion that matters.


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desktop_demon
post Wed, 13 Aug 2014 - 10:54
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One person I know who got a ticket for using a mobile phone while "driving" (even though stationary for ten minutes in a traffic queue and only dictating a letter) wrote to the ticket tubbies and laid out the facts as she saw them. Although a ticket had been issued and not paid in the required time - the police decided not to prosecute. So sometimes (just sometimes) a well worded letter based on the facts can influence a decision of whether or not to prosecute.


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Pulsarlaser
post Wed, 13 Aug 2014 - 11:04
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Thanks- some good input here and some have made a correct assumption, but just to clarify, as I didn't put this in the original post, it was a (meaningless) text that arrived and beeped on the parrot hands free - so my son picked up the mobile and opened the text and then showed me the screen, as he didn't know if it was of any importance...
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The Rookie
post Wed, 13 Aug 2014 - 11:32
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It would be very unusual for a court to convict (If they believe your version of events) based on that, but as SP says there is an argument you were driving while using a hand held mobile, just not your hands holding it.

I, like many, can't understand why you wouldn't just get your son to read it to you though, surely that makes more sense than driving while looking at the screen?


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Spenny
post Wed, 13 Aug 2014 - 11:39
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QUOTE (Pulsarlaser @ Wed, 13 Aug 2014 - 12:04) *
Thanks- some good input here and some have made a correct assumption, but just to clarify, as I didn't put this in the original post, it was a (meaningless) text that arrived and beeped on the parrot hands free - so my son picked up the mobile and opened the text and then showed me the screen, as he didn't know if it was of any importance...

I think that is where you will be in the lap of the magistrates. They may decide that what you have done is in the spirit of the legislation which you may be aware is not crystal clear ("using" is the offence) and stationary in a queue is still most likely driving. Going down from pressing a button on a radio to switching concentration to reading a text might be enough to sway them. To answer a previous question, glancing across can be a problem, (have you never had that moment where you glanced across at something just at the wrong time?) but reading a text requires you to stop and focus, comprehend and so on, and is such a significant switch that you will not be able to think about what is going on around you.

If you do write with this explanation then you are really admitting to allowing your passenger to distract you so leave yourself open to admitting the alternative offence, which makes an informal chat with the police potentially more dangerous.

So:

1) A minor infraction. Did you talk yourself into a ticket by denying that there was a problem?
2) The law is vague on the definition of using, but I'd suggest that reading a text while driving requires a certain amount of concentration and I'd be surprised that a magistrate would not be persuaded that it was inappropriate. While you were stationary, we know people have silly accidents in queues because they are not concentrating and set off thinking the queue has moved when it hasn't, or hold up traffic.
3) Allowing yourself to be distracted is potentially an admission of an alternative offence. While to me it would seem trivial if it was stationary in a queue (people take the opportunity to do all sorts of things) it doesn't make it something that the police would not pursue. It may well be that as you have strongly refuted their kindly advice to keep their eyes on the road at all times and not allow yourself to be distracted, that they feel it is appropriate to follow through. Have a think about how the conversation went - were you deferential and apologetic or were you self-righteous and knowing the law?

So, it is not clear cut. There are things that make the offence trivial and hardly worth pursuing, but perhaps the police, being aware of your previous conviction will be less inclined to see the harmlessness. After all, you have received a text and your reaction appears to be that you need to know about it immediately, it is a distraction - myself, if I am driving I make a note that it has bleeped and I'll take a look sometime in the next couple of hours.

Unfortunately, you are a marginal case on an emotive topic, where it is clear that mobile phone use is a major problem when driving, but enforcement is difficult and patchy.
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