School Bus Ticket
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When Do You Stop?
Obviously, all motorists must stop when the school bus has its flashing red lights activated and the stop signal arm, if the bus has one, is extended and displayed. You also must stop 200 feet from the school bus stop, unless you were directly behind the bus, and continue to be at a stop while pupils are loading or unloading from the bus and may proceed only after all pupils are on or off the bus and the flashing lights are turned off.
A school bus driver must keep the red light and stop sign in operation when loading and unloading pupils unless the stop is at a place where traffic is controlled by a traffic officer.
You need not stop if the school bus is on the opposite side of a divided or multilane highway; in all other cases, you are required to stop even if the bus is on the opposite side of the roadway. Seeing the bus flashing its yellow lights is a warning that you should slow and prepare to stop.
Defenses to School Bus Tickets
If you were ticketed for being less than 200 feet from the bus, you can argue that the bus did not activate its lights or signs until you were too close. In a medical emergency, you can certainly argue that you took the safest steps possible before passing the bus.
Another defense may be that the bus driver failed to follow the proper procedures when loading or unloading pupils. A driver may have activated the signals when not discharging or taking on pupils. You or your traffic ticket lawyer should carefully consider under what circumstances you were ticketed, the vehicle code violation noted on the citation, and if the bus driver followed all the procedures required under the code section.
Fines and Penalties for School Bus Tickets
You will be assessed a fine of $616 for passing a school bus with flashing red lights. The fine is nearly always higher once the court and the county in which the ticket was issued adds its own fees and costs. In some courts, you could be paying up to $1,000.
You only receive one point for a violation. If you are eligible for traffic school, meaning that you have not attended a traffic school in the past 18-months, you should consider taking the class, many of which are online. You will have to pay the fine and the cost for the class before the point will be erased.
In California, your license will be suspended for the following number of points:
- 4 points in 12-months
- 6 points in 24-months
- 8 points in 36-months
California law requires the DMV to suspend your driver’s license for one year if you receive a third ticket for violating California CVC Section 22454 Unlawful Passing of School Bus, within three years.
Under some circumstances, an officer might charge you with reckless driving along with the unlawful passing of a school bus if you were speeding while passing the bus or if you nearly struck a student. An element of reckless driving is conduct that demonstrates a disregard for the safety of persons or property.
Retain a California traffic ticket attorney if you have concerns that you were improperly issued a traffic ticket. Traffic ticket lawyers are very affordable and can often find errors or loopholes in a case that can result in having your case dismissed or lead to a resolution where no points are imposed on your record and your fine substantially reduced.