A driver ticketed $287 for texting at a Tim Hortons drive-thru in Beaumont, Alta., was on his smartphone even before he got into line, police say. 

A.J. Daoust, a carpenter, was in the drive-thru last Thursday morning when he was issued the ticket for distracted driving. He called the ticket "heavy-handed" and "ridiculous." 

But police say there's more to the story.

Beaumont RCMP Cpl. Tim Dunlap did not issue the ticket, but spoke with the officer who did and reviewed his notes on the incident.

"The officer actually saw the guy texting before he got to the drive-thru ... which just happened to be where the interaction happened," he said.

Once in the drive-thru, Daoust was texting with both hands and steering with his knees when forced to move forward, Dunlap said. 

"Other drivers are looking at him and looking at the officer, looking back at him, throwing their hands up like, 'Don't you see this? Why aren't you doing something?'"

So the officer approached Daoust's vehicle.

"The gentleman was not very nice, everything from name calling to actually giving him the middle finger," Dunlap said.

"The officer said, 'You know what? I'm not going to give you a break now.'" 

On Monday, Daoust said he would be attending his Jan. 6 court date to dispute the ticket, but is not optimistic about getting the fine reduced.

Provincial laws prohibit drivers from using hand-held cellphones, texting or emailing while behind the wheel. It applies to any road, highway or thoroughfare, whether publicly or privately owned.