Running a school bus stop sign one of the more serious traffic tickets that an individual can receive. The consequences of such an offense can be particularly serious. These charges are also particularly hard to defend with the prosecution and judge unlikely to offer reduced charges.
Why Running A School Bus Stop Sign Is Treated as a Serious Offense
A large part of Georgia’s law enforcement takes the passing of a school bus particularly seriously due to the significant risk posed to children. Involved law enforcement officers are also often particularly motivated to show up to court dates in order to prosecute cases. Given this significant and strong force, individuals frequently find the assistance of strong and talented legal representation essential. Because all Georgia traffic tickets are misdemeanors, even getting a case reduced to a less serious offense can save an individual from going to jail or getting a court ordered license suspension. As a result, an attorney can prove essential in these situations.
Running A School Bus Stop Sign
Every individual in the state of Georgia should understand some of the applicable law in the state about passing school buses. Once the flashing lights of the school bus have turned red and stop signs have extended from the side of the bus, it is against the law for any motor vehicle to pass the stopped school bus. Motor vehicle drivers that are traveling on a highway divided by a median on the opposite side from the stopped school bus are not required to stop. Not all Georgia law enforcement officers, however, are aware of this defense and sometimes cite individuals who were not required to do so with unlawful passing of a school bus. Individuals are wise to remember how to respond to school buses in several different types of settings:
- Two Lane Roads. All traffic must stop.
- Two Lane Roads With a Center Turning Lane. All traffic from both directions must stop.
- Four Lane Roads With Median Separation. All traffic from both directions must stop.
- Divided Highways of Four Lanes or More With a Median Separation. Only traffic following the bus stops.
Every school bus driver who observes a violation of this code is authorized and directed to record specifically the vehicle description, license number of the offending vehicle, and the time at which the event occurred on forms that are provided by the Department of Public Safety. These reports must be submitted within fifteen days of the occurrence of the violation.
The Role of Running A School Bus Stop Sign and DUIs
In an effort to decrease the number of motor vehicle drivers who pass school buses that are loading and unloading children, Georgia legislature has recently increased the penalties that can be raised due to such an offense. In some cases, unlawful passing of a school bus is an offense upon which a driving under the influence arrest is built. In many driving under the influence cases, law enforcement requires initial reasonable suspicion in order to stop a motor vehicle driver. As a result, in a number of situations the unlawful passing of a school bus has been known to be related to driving under the influence charges.
The Consequences of Such an Offense
Individuals who are charged with unlawful passing of a school bus can expect to be charged with six points on their driving record, which is surprisingly the same amount of points as a driving under the influence charge and more points than a reckless driving charge. The accumulation of fifteen or more points on an individual’s driving record within the course of six months can result in a motor vehicle driver having their license suspended for six months.
In addition to these six points, individuals can also expect to face large fines that generally range from seven hundred to one thousand dollars. In addition to fines, individuals can also expect to spend twelve months in jail or on probation as well as be sentenced to alcohol and drug counseling, community service, defensive driving school, and any other penalty that the judge might believe is appropriate. Individuals under the age of twenty one can expect to face an automatic six month license suspension. The first time fine for passing a school bus is three hundred dollars, a seven hundred fifty dollar fine for a second offense, and one thousand dollars for a third or subsequent offense. All Georgia fines carry additional costs, which means that individuals can expect to pay significant amounts in addition to these fines for court costs and surcharges.
Advice for Motor Vehicle Drivers Involving School Buses From Yeargan & Kert, LLC
There are several safety tips that motor vehicle drivers should take concerning school buses. Drivers should always make sure to know and obey all of the applicable rules about school buses, which includes looking out for children who might be rushing to get to a bus and not paying attention to other motor vehicle on the road. Drivers should make sure they know all applicable rules about school buses as well, which include the following:
- It’s Illegal To Pass A Stopped Bus. Georgia motor vehicle drivers should always make remember that it is almost always illegal to pass children who are boarding or unboarding from school buses.
- The Most Dangerous Area. The area ten feet surrounding a school bus is where children are in the most danger of being struck.
- Never Pass on the Right. Passing a school bus on the right is both illegal and motorists risk injuring or even killing children.
- The Purpose of Flashing Yellow Lights. School buses use yellow flashing lights to alert drivers that the drivers are preparing to stop.
- The Purpose of Red Lights. Red lights indicate that a school bus is entirely stopped and children are loading or unloading.
- Remain Alert. Children are frequently unpredictable in nature and motorists should pay careful attention to bus riders.
Consult with a Skilled Attorney at Yeargan & Kert, LLC.
Even if you are not sure if you require the assistance of an attorney after being charged with running a school bus stop sign, consulting with the legal team of Yeargan & Kert, LLC will provide an idea with an idea of their options as well as explain the full repercussions of such a conviction. Seasoned legal counsel can also help minimize the chances o a serious accident occurring. Our legal counsel has significant experience practicing law in the area and knows just what it takes to successfully against these types of charges. Contact Yeargan & Kert, LLC today to discuss your unlawful passing of a school bus ticket.