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You Mean I Can't Take Selfies While Driving in Minnesota after August 1st?

People are obsessed with their cell phones. Wherever you go, they are there. You know what I mean. We’ve all seen it, the couple having a romantic dinner in a restaurant and they are both on their cell phones ignoring one another. Sp much for romance. And of course, and this isn’t really a shock, people seem to act the same way when they are driving their cars, driving with their knees and dialing and texting, snap chatting and taking selfies. In fact, it might be even worse.

Well, if law enforcement here in Minnesota has it their way, that’s going to change on August 1, 2019. The new Minnesota Hands Free law only allows a driver to use their cell phone to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts and get directions, but only using voice commands or single-touch activation. Again, simply put, you may not hold your phone in your hand.

There are a couple of exceptions to the rule. You can use your phone if you need emergency assistance. Of course, realize you’re likely calling the police so it better be for a good reason. As the State put it, “if there is an immediate threat to life and safety, or when in an authorized emergency vehicle while performing official duties.” The other exception is for GPS but even that isn’t really an exception as it applies to separate systems that aren’t cell phones.

Of course, if you are one of those people trying to bend if not outright break the rules, think smart watch. Right? Wrong. Its also restricted. Drivers can use a smart watch the same way they use a cell phone as long as it’s by one-touch or voice activation. So, no typing, texting or whatever else might be distracting. And worse, its strapped to your wrist so a cop will argue the evidence is right there.

If you choose to risk it, you face a petty misdemeanor charge and a $50 fine for the first offense and $275 for each additional violation. And because its the government, they.will add court fees.

So, those selfies while driving may have just become a lot more expensive. Again, it all starts on August 1, 2019.

If you have criminal defense questions for Minnesota, please don’t hesitate to contact me.