Yes. Even if a driver is only holding the phone and not typing, he or she can still be cited for violating Vehicle Code Section 23123.5. This section prohibits drivers from holding a cell phone or other electronic wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle. Even if the driver is only reading a message or looking at a maps app, he or she can receive a traffic ticket. To avoid a violation, it is best to mount the cell phone on the dashboard or center console and in a manner not to obscure your view of the road.
The fine for a violation of Vehicle Code Section 23123.5 is $20 + penalty assessments (approximately $150-$200) for a first offense and $50 + penalty assessments for repeat offenders (approximately $250-$300). The exact total amounts vary by courthouse. Moreover, conviction of a second violation within 3 years of the first violation is considered a "moving violation" which results in one point being assessed to your driving record. If you are traffic school eligible you would need to attend traffic school to avoid the point.