How to Navigate a Charge for Passing a Stopped School Bus

 Posted on January 27,2024 in Traffic Violations

TX defense lawyerGetting pulled over and ticketed for passing a stopped school bus can be an unsettling and frustrating experience. However, understanding the law and your options is key to successfully navigating this type of traffic charge. A Texas criminal defense lawyer can help you break down the basics you need to know and how to move forward.

The Law in Texas

Texas has strict laws prohibiting drivers from passing school buses that are stopped to load or unload children. Under the Texas Transportation Code, both lanes of traffic must stop if a school bus displays its flashing red lights and extends its stop sign.

You are required to stop whether you are approaching the bus from the front or the back. It does not matter how many lanes there are—all traffic from both directions must come to a complete stop.

Penalties and Fines

The penalties for illegally passing a school bus in Texas depend on whether you are convicted, the number of offenses, and whether a child was endangered.

For a first-time offense with no child endangerment, you may face a fine between $500-$2,000. Subsequent convictions or instances where a child was put in danger can result in much harsher fines and even jail time.

Fighting the Charge

While penalties can be severe, there may be avenues to get the charge reduced or dismissed. A traffic ticket lawyer can review the details of your case and build legal arguments on your behalf.

For example, the lawyer may argue there was no proof children were present on the bus or that visibility conditions made it difficult to see the bus’s signals. There could also be issues with how the traffic stop or citation issuance was conducted.

An attorney can also advise you on whether options like defensive driving school or probation might be applicable. They can negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf so you get the best possible outcome.

Going to Court

If your ticket is not dismissed and you plead not guilty, you will have to appear in court. There, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you illegally passed the school bus.

An attorney can represent you in court, argue against the prosecutor’s case, cross-examine the witnesses, and advocate for you before the judge.

In court, the outcome often depends on the strength of the evidence and witnesses. For example, did the bus driver record your license plate or identify you? Are there children willing to testify they were put in danger? Your attorney can call these aspects of the prosecution’s case into question.

Avoiding Future Violations

The best way to avoid passing a school bus charge is to stop fully whenever you see those red lights flashing.

Be extra cautious in school zones and residential areas to anticipate buses making frequent stops. Pay attention to signage indicating school bus stops ahead.

Most importantly, remain alert, distraction-free, and focused on the road whenever children may be present. Patience and attentiveness are key to adhering to school bus passing laws.

Contact an Austin, TX Traffic Violation Lawyer

Being ticketed for illegally passing a stopped school bus can happen easily to even the most careful drivers. Try your best not to panic at first. Working with a San Antonio, TX criminal defense attorney can help you understand your options and potentially build the strongest case possible. Call Law Offices of Sam H. Lock at 210-226-0965 for a

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Bexar County

In the historic King William District

1011 S. Alamo,
San Antonio, Texas 78210