Have You Been Cited for Unlawful Passing of a School Bus in Georgia?
One of the most serious Georgia Traffic offenses is passing a school bus. The reason it's so serious is that it when someone passes a school bus, young children are placed in serious risk of being hurt or killed. It is as simple as that.
Richard Lawson has been defending people who have been charged with traffic violations throughout Georgia for more than 25 years. No office has more experience getting tickets reduced than his team of Georgia Traffic Ticket Attorneys. He is a former Georgia Prosecutor who puts that experience to work for you. He is also Georgia's most reviewed lawyer on Avvo.
Passing a School Bus in Georgia is a Serious Misdemeanor Traffic Offense:
Most Georgia prosecutors take passing a school bus cases very seriously because of the obvious risk to children and the politics of public safety violations. No prosecutor wants to look weak on issues that involve the safety and well being of young children.
Police officers also take passing a school bus cases seriously. They are far more motivated to show up at court and prosecute their cases. Most police officers are people with families and children. Everyone reacts negatively when a case involves children in harm's way.
That all being said, getting charged with passing a school bus or any other major traffic violation does not mean your situation is hopeless. If you have a good or at least decent driving record, your Georgia Traffic Ticket Attorney may be able to get the charge reduced to an offense far less serious. In that event, it could prevent your insurance rates from increasing significantly or your insurance being cancelled. In addition, a reduction to a less serious offense would also prevent a 6-point violation being added to your driver's record (MVR).
Finally, since all Georgia traffic tickets are misdemeanors, getting the case reduced to a less serious offense can save an accused person from going to jail, or getting a court-ordered license suspension. In fact, as a misdemeanor offense, the judge has wide discretion in fashioning any number of punishments outside of just a simple fine.
A Complete Summary Of The Passing a School Bus Law in Georgia:
The duty of a driver passing a school bus in Georgia is defined by O.C.G.A. § 40-6-163(a), which says that . . . the driver of a vehicle meeting or overtaking from either direction any school bus stopped on the highway shall stop before reaching such school bus when there are in operation on the school bus the visual signals, and such driver shall not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or the visual signals are no longer actuated.
This means that once the flashing lights have turned red and the stop signs have extended from the side of the school bus, it is unlawful for any vehicle to pass the stopped school bus while it is loading or unloading passengers. Vehicles traveling on a highway divided by a median on the opposite side from the stopped school bus are not required to stop.
Please note some police officers misunderstand the law in situations where there is a divided highway. If you are cited for passing a school bus in a situation where you were not required to stop, contact a Georgia Traffic Ticket Lawyer from our office as soon as possible. No person should be convicted where there was no actual violation of law.
In an effort to decrease the number of drivers who pass school buses while they are loading and unloading school children, Georgia lawmakers have recently increased the penalties that apply to unlawfully passing a school bus and now encourage school bus drivers to report violations to the local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction where the alleged offense occurred.
Our legislature has made it clear that our state is serious about punishing drivers who violate this law. Our police officers have been instructed to always issue a citation and never give a warning in these cases. Common sense should tell anyone who is charged with passing a school bus that they are facing more than just a slap on the wrist.
What are the Consequences of Unlawful Passing of a School Bus?
The consequences of unlawfully passing a school bus include any lawful punishments allowed in a misdemeanor traffic offense. This can include 12 months in jail or on probation, $1000 in fines, community service, defensive driving school, alcohol and drug counseling, and any other class a judge believes that will correct the driver's behavior.
In addition, the offense carries 6 points. For a person under 21 years of age, there will be an automatic 6-month license suspension. Any person under the age of 21 convicted of a traffic offense having 4 or more points shall have their license suspended for 6 months. For drivers under the age of 18, accumulating 4 total points before age 18 will also result in a 6-month license suspension.
For drivers over 21, their license can be suspended for accumulating 15 points. However, a judge can order a “court-ordered” suspension of the driver's license of anyone convicted of a misdemeanor traffic offense. Many Georgia Traffic Ticket Lawyers do not realize that a judge can suspend the license of a person, even though the offense does not carry an automatic license suspension.
Passing a school bus also carries a minimum fine of $300 for a first offense, $750 for a second offenses, and $1000 for a third offense. All Georgia fines carry additional court costs and surcharges. A $300 fine will usually increase by 60% when the surcharges are added to the base fine.
Have You Been Arrested for DUI and Unlawful Passing of a School Bus was the Reason You Were Pulled Over?
Unlawful passing of a school bus can be a predicate offense to a DUI arrest. In most DUI cases there has to be some initial traffic offense for the police officer to initiate a stop of the driver. A police officer needs an “articulable suspicion” that a crime has been, is, or is about to be committed, in order to stop a vehicle and detain them for further investigation. For this reason, most DUI arrests occur when a police officer observes an actual or perceived violation of a traffic offense.
Unlawful passing of a school bus is a serous charge in and of itself. However, it can be a predicate offense to a more serious DUI offense. When DUI is combined with a serous traffic offense, the poor driving and poor decision-making behind the wheel make the DUI charge even more serious. Common sense tells us that passing a school bus while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a scary combination. That is why it is important to have a top-rated Georgia DUI lawyer and Georgia Traffic Ticket Lawyer on your side.
Call Experienced Attorneys Today For Immediate Help:
Our attorneys exclusively practice DUI Defense in Georgia. All Georgia DUI cases include at least one traffic offense that became the precursor to the DUI investigation. That is why we are experts at handing Traffic tickets in Georgia.
We are the top-rated and most reviewed attorneys in Georgia. No office is more qualified to help you with your DUI case involving an unlawful passing of a school bus charge. Contact us today to discuss your unlawful passing of school bus ticket and your Georgia DUI if applicable. We are here 24/7 to protect your rights and answer your questions.