Reckless Driving for Passing a School Bus

Virginia Traffic Attorney Discusses Reckless Driving for Passing a School Bus Charge

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, 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.

Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Explains What the Commonwealth Must Prove Before You Are Found Guilty for Passing a School Bus

To be found guilty, the Commonwealth of Virginia must show that you were:

  1. Driving a vehicle
  2. Approached a school bus on a highway, private road, or school driveway
  3. Failed to stop for that vehicle while
  4. The bus was stopped for the purpose of picking up or dropping off children, elderly, or mentally or physically handicapped persons and
  5. The driver must remain stopped until all persons were clear of the highway, private road, or school driveway and
  6. The bus is put in motion.

As you can see, the Commonwealth has many steps to prove to establish their case! In addition, 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. Exceptions include, school buses 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 being charged with the criminal violation, you can be charged with a civil violation. The civil violation is not a class one misdemeanor, however, it does carry a $250.00 fine and 6 demerit points on your driving record.

If you've been charged with reckless driving, be sure to call 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!