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Reckless Driving for Passing a School Bus
Most people on their way to or from work have been stuck behind a school bus picking up or dropping off children. This can be frustrating and cause a seriously delay in one’s commute. So why not pass, especially if you do so carefully? In Virginia, you can end up with a Reckless Driving charge, which is prosecuted strictly in Fairfax County. Unfortunately, most people aren’t aware that this simple action can lead to such a serious charge, and are then faced with excessive fines as well as potential license suspension and jail time. If you find yourself in this situation, a Fairfax Reckless Driving attorney can help. At S&R Law Firm, we have successfully helped many people with this type of charge and we may be able to help you as well.Charges for Passing a School Bus in Fairfax
In Virginia, even when passing with care, you could be charged criminally and civilly with Reckless Driving. Virginia Code Section 46.2-859 states that passing a school bus which is stopped, discharging children, elderly, or mentally or physically handicapped persons are guilty of Reckless Driving. The criminal charge carries 6 demerit points on your driving record, up to a $2,500.00 fine, a potential 6-month loss of license, and up to a year in jail. Criminal charges of this nature are often best handled by a Reckless Driving lawyer in Fairfax, as they will be familiar with the opinions of local judges and the strategies of local prosecutors. This can help them navigate your case.
Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Explains What the Commonwealth Must Prove Before You Are Found Guilty for Passing a School Bus
For starters, the applicable Reckless Driving statute defines a school bus as a vehicle which is equipped with warning devices and is yellow with “School Bus” painted in black letters at least eight inches high on the front and rear of the bus.
To be found guilty of Reckless Driving, the Commonwealth of Virginia must show that you were:
- Driving a vehicle
- Approached a school bus on a highway, private road, or school driveway
- Failed to stop for that vehicle while the bus was stopped for the purpose of picking up or dropping off children, elderly, or mentally or physically handicapped persons and
- The driver must remain stopped until all persons were clear of the highway, private road, or school driveway and
- The bus is put in motion.
As you can see, the Commonwealth has many steps to prove to establish their case! It is important to note that there are some exceptions where you cannot be charged with Reckless Driving, such as when a school bus is stopped on a roadway of a divided highway in which the road is separated with a divider, median, fence, or other physical barrier.
An officer pulling someone over for passing a school bus does have another option. Instead of charging the driver with the criminal violation of Reckless Driving, they may instead charge them with a civil violation. The civil violation is not a Class 1 misdemeanor; however, it does carry a $250.00 fine and 6 demerit points on your driving record. This can cause problems if you already have points against your license, as it could put you in danger of suspension.Get Help from Our Fairfax Traffic Attorneys
If you've been charged with Reckless Driving, be sure to call a Fairfax Reckless Driving lawyer at S&R Law Firm at 703.273.6431 for a FREE consultation. Benjamin Schaefer and Ryan Rambudhan are experienced Fairfax and Prince William County attorneys who focus on these sorts of offenses. Don't be a victim; fight back!