Holding a GPS Device While Driving Ruled Illegal

We all know that driving while talking or texting will land you in hot water.  If you are caught, the DMV can slap you with a $200 fine, $93 surcharge, and assess 5 points to your license.[add link]  Think 5 points isnt a big deal?  Well, if you accumulate 6 points within an 18-month period, the DMV will charge you a “Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee.” [add link].  The fee is $100 per year, for 3 years.  What if you have more than 6 points?  In that case, the DMV will charge you an extra $25 per year for each point over 6 points.  Failure to pay the Assessment will result in the DMV suspending your license.

 Recently, the Appellate Division, 3rd Department decided that merely holding a GPS device in your hand while driving is enough for the police to stop and ticket you.   

The case, Matter of Clark v New York State Dept. of Motor Vehs.(2017 NY Slip Op 05133 [3rd Dept 6/22/2017]), the Appellate Court held that “holding that a global positioning system (GPS) "meets the statutory definition of a 'portable electronic device' inasmuch as it is a 'hand-held device with mobile data access' (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1225-d [2] [a])."  The Appellate Court pointed out that the “legislative history regarding Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1225-d demonstrates that the Legislature intended Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1225-d (2) (a) to encompass any portable electronic device that diverts a driver's attention away from the road and prevents the full use of a driver's hands ...." (emphasis added.)

Therefore, the Appellate Court supported the police’s power to stop and ticket a driver who is merely holding a GPS while driving.

What does this mean for drivers?  It means that you can no hold a GPS device or a cell phone or any other portable electronic device while driving.  If you do, you are subject to being stopped and ticketed by the police.

But there is hope!  My office has successfully defended traffic tickets throughout the City and State of New York.  If you receive a ticket, call us at (212) 951-0555 today!

New Year; New Beginning

Let Us Begin


Matthew R. Smalls, Esq., Senior Vice President

Matthew R. Smalls, Esq., Senior Vice President

2017 marks the start of my new adventure.  The MirRam Group (http://www.MirRamGroup.com) has named me Senior Vice President.  In this role, I will manage the Albany office, which focuses on New York State government relations. 

This is an amazing opportunity.  The MirRam Group is a premiere boutique organization.  Founded in 2000, by former New York State Assembly Member Roberto Ramirez, and former Chairman of the Board of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation Luis A. Miranda Jr.

MirRam is highly respected as an ethical, effective firm.  And, importantly, they are a close-knit family.  I am honored to be welcomed into the family.  And, I pledge to work hard and make my family proud.


DA: Black Boy is a A Predator

Today, a Manhattan prosecutor called a 17 year old kid a “predator” in court.  The kid was accused of standing by while his 16 year old friend stole a man’s phone on the subway.  The prosecutor the told the judge that the kid deserves a criminal record for the rest of his life, as well as 3 – 6 years in state prison.  A Predator.  This young man had family in court supporting him.  His dad works full time, and listened to the proceedings through the assistance of an English/Spanish translation device.  The young man was a senior in high school.  He has never been in any kind of trouble before.  He was taking the subway to his part-time job at a recycling plant in New Jersey.  A predator.  Deserving of 3 – 6 years in prison.  17 years old.

Remarks like this cut me to the core.  The prosecutor sees nothing of that boy but a case file.  He is not a kid.  He is not a teenager.  He is not a high school student.   The DA sees him as a violent being who deserves a cage.  Barely human…. A Predator.


Stories from Criminal Court

Friday Night in Manhattan.....

For many New Yorkers, Friday night can be magical.  Food, wine, dancing..... thousands of pleasures and pursuits await us. 

Not the Public Defenders.

Tonight, I am in Manhattan Criminal Court.  As an "on duty" public defender, I am in court representing people who have been charged with felonies and misdemeanors of all kinds.  Here, in the heat and humidity, a judge presides as people stand accused of robbery, narcotics, and other forms of mayhem.  My job is to fight tooth and nail for each and every client's release.  I have to pull at the strands of allegations that support the charges filed against my clients.  And if I pull hard enough, and skillfully enough, the charges can begin to unravel, and my clients will go free.