School Buses and Reckless Driving
School is back in session in Virginia and with it comes more and more students on the sidewalks, crossing streets, and riding on buses.
This means drivers should be more aware and extra careful–especially around schools and buses. Children are often not paying attention when they cross the street or loading on and off the school bus – which is why Virginia law places the responsibility of care on the driver.
The Law in Virginia
In Virginia, it is a criminal offense to pass a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading students, senior citizens or people with disabilities. It does not matter how slowly or carefully you pass the bus. The statute only pertains when the bus is stopped for the purpose of loading or unloading passengers. Many school buses have flashing lights and a stop sign that will deploy when they are loading or unloading, but not all do. The best rule of thumb is to stop (on either side of the road) if you see a school bus stopped on the road, particularly when its lights are flashing.
If a law enforcement officer witnesses a driver passing a stopped school bus (stopped for the purpose of taking on or discharging passengers), the driver will be charged with Reckless Driving, which is a Class One Misdemeanor. A Class One Misdemeanor can result in up to a year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. The judge may also suspend your driver’s license for up to six months. It can also cost you six demerit points with the Virginia DMV, and the conviction remains on your driving record for 11 years.
On top of a criminal conviction, there are other implications of a reckless driving conviction. It can impact your job, your insurance, or a security clearance if you apply for one. Although it may seem like a minor infraction, it will show up as a reckless driving charge in a variety of situations, and can make your life far more difficult.
Get Legal Help
Shannon & Bedois are experienced in handling a wide variety of criminal law matters including a variety of reckless driving charges. We have a wide range of experiences both in and out of the courtroom. We know how important investigating a case independently is and we know the how important these matters are to you and will use our wide experiences to get you the best possible outcome in your case. If you are faced with a reckless driving charge, give Shannon & Bedois a call at (757) 228-5529 to set up a consultation today.