Receiving a ticket for texting and driving is no laughing matter.  A new law goes into effect in Iowa on July 1, 2017. 

Before, texting and driving was a secondary offense, which means that an officer could not pull you over solely for texting and driving only. You could only be charged after being stopped or investigated for another matter such as speeding or running a red light. Typically, this would come about during an accident investigation.  

On July 1, 2017, texting and driving will become a primary offense. This means an officer can pull you over if you are seen texting or using a hand-held device behind the wheel. A ticket for texting and driving comes with a fine of $50, plus surcharge and court costs.  It also gives another reason for officers to initiate a stop, leading to more police interaction.  

Be aware that the new law is not limited to texting. It is unlawful to Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, FaceTime, Instagram or use other applications and games. Any time you are reading, writing, or sending any electronic message, you must be at a complete stop and off the road. 

The new law is also not limited to cell phones. This law covers the use of any hand-held electronic communication device which includes laptops and tablets. A “hand-held device” does not include voice operated or hands-free devices. 

There are certain exceptions that apply. Police officers and other members of public safety agencies can view and send text messages while driving so long as it is while they are preforming their official duties. Health care professionals can also be an exception to the rule if they are dealing with an emergency situation. 

The use of a phone or hand-held device for emergency, traffic, or weather alerts, will not be a violation of the law. 

Finally, it is not a violation of the law to enter or look up a person’s phone number for a phone call.   

If you have any questions about this law, please contact Ryan J. Ellis or Nicholas A. Carda.  

As a law firm founded by a former prosecutor, Ellis Law Offices, P.C. has a unique insight into the system that allows them to effectively defend their client’s rights. Visit their website to learn more, or call (515) 962-9080 to schedule a strategy session with an accomplished criminal defense attorney today. You can also like them on Facebook for the latest news and updates.   


The information provided in this blog is not meant to be nor should it be construed as legal advice, but rather general information on the subject matter. Statutes, case law and any other sources used to write this blog can be overruled, amended and changed over time. For any specific questions and/or legal advice contact a licensed attorney. 


Ashley Allen