Passing a stopped school bus is considered reckless driving in Virginia. If convicted, you face the same consequences as if you were charged with other reckless driving offenses. This includes a possible jail sentence, a fine of up to $2,500, driver’s license suspension, demerit points on your driving record, and a permanent criminal record. However, an experienced reckless driving attorney can help you build a strong defense to fight the charges you face.
Being Convicted of Reckless Driving for Passing a Stopped School Bus
To be convicted of reckless driving for passing a stopped school bus, the Commonwealth of Virginia must establish all the elements of this crime, or the charges against you may be dismissed. Here is what the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You were driving a vehicle.
- You approached a school bus on a road, highway, or school driveway.
- You failed to stop for the bus while it was stopped for the purpose of dropping off or picking up children, elderly persons, or mentally or physically handicapped individuals.
- You failed to remain stopped until all persons were clear of the road, highway, or school driveway and the bus was put into motion.
Defenses When Charged With Passing a Stopped School Bus
A skilled lawyer can help you identify defenses for this type of reckless driving charge and collect the evidence you need to support your case. Possible ways to fight this charge include:
- The bus did not meet the strict statutory definition of a school bus. It is defined as being yellow, having emergency lights when stopped, and being labeled in the front and rear with the words “School Bus” in black letters at least eight inches high.
- The bus was stopped for a reason other than letting off or picking up children, senior citizens, or individuals with mental or physical handicaps.
- The bus driver was not using the emergency lights when stopped.
- There was a median between you and the stopped bus, and you were going in the opposite direction.
- A police officer or school guard directed you to pass the stopped school bus.
Were you charged with reckless driving in Virginia? Attorney Charles V. Hardenberg is here to discuss the facts of your case and the possible defenses you may have. Learn more about how we may be able to get your charges dismissed or reduced. Call our office today to schedule your free initial consultation.