January 24, 2018 11:12 AM EST

Heads up: sending emojis still qualifies as “texting.” And if you do it while driving, you might just get caught and fined, despite your pictorial defense.

That’s what happened to a Merseyside, U.K. driver this week, who was picked up by police and fined £200 for his transgression on Tuesday, the BBC reports. Besides using his phone, he was also not wearing a seatbelt. In the ticket written up by the Merseyside Police and shared to Twitter, the driver is quoted as saying that he “was just putting a laughing emoji to my girlfriend.” In their tweet, the police drily noted that this qualified as a “very unusual reply.” And, of course, it did not mitigate the driver’s punishment.

While it’s notable that the man’s girlfriend has managed to gain this level of her partner’s attention even while on the road, perhaps she should gently suggest that he limit his texting behavior to times when he’s not behind the wheel. We know those popular laughing emojis are an addictive expression. But they can wait.

Looks like the police decided to have a little fun with it, adding their own string of emojis to describe the situation in fitting form.


Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com.

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