Motorists charged with the use of cellphone, VTL 1225-c, or use of a portable electronic device, VTL 1225-d, may avoid the five-point DMV penalty associated with conviction under these offenses if they take the one-hour Distracted Driving Diversion Class ("the Class") offered by the Ithaca Police Department. This approach to distracted driving is available only to motorists charged with these offenses in the City of Ithaca. The Class, taught by police officers, presents information about the danger of distracted driving. Motorists must bring a copy of their traffic ticket and their driver's license to the Class.
Except in November, the Class will be given on the first Tuesday of each month starting at 6:00 PM at the Tompkins County Public Library, 101 East Green Street, Ithaca, New York, in the Borg Warner Room.
Upon proof of completion of the Class, the motorist will receive a written offer to enter a plea to a zero point ticket, VTL 1214 Unsafe Door Opening with a recommended fine of $32, plus the mandatory New York State surcharge of $88, total of $120 due. The fine amount is subject to change. After accepting the offer, the motorist can ask the court for extra time to pay the fine. The decision to offer this plea bargain is within the sole discretion of the prosecutor.
A plea agreement based on a motorist's completion of the Class constitutes an alternative to a trial on the charge of VTL 1225-c or VTL 1225-d. At any time the motorist can request a trial or enter a guilty please. both done at City Court.
A motorist is eligible to take this course only once to receive this reduction.
Motorists should plan on completing the Class as soon as possible, as it is offered only once per month and if City Court does not receive a plea within 60 days of the court date on the ticket, the license suspension process may begin.
These terms are subject to change at any time without further notice.