Stopping for Stopped School Bus in Ohio
As a society, we want to keep children safe. Accordingly, Ohio has laws designed to protect children as they get on or off a school bus. Every school bus is required to be equipped with amber and red lights and a stop sign which automatically extends when the bus is stopped to receive or discharge children. The driver of a vehicle who meets, from either direction, a school bus stopped for receiving or discharging children must stop at least ten feet from the end of the bus. The driver must not proceed until the bus resumes motion or until signaled by the bus driver to proceed. It is not a defense to this law that the bus failed to display the lights or stop sign.
Drivers sometimes fail to follow the requirements of this law. The driver may be distracted or may otherwise not realize a bus is stopped for children to get on or off the bus. Some drivers accidentally stop too close to the bus or proceed before the bus resumes motion. Whether the violation was intentional or an oversight, failing to follow this law is a moving violation subject to unique penalties.Penalties for Failing to Stop for a Stopped School Bus
The penalties are unique because this violation is an unclassified offense. Most traffic offenses are classified: minor misdemeanor, fourth-degree, misdemeanor, etc. Those classifications have categorical penalties. Failing to follow the law for stopped school buses, however, has its own penalty structure. First, a driver charged with this offense cannot pay a waiver and must appear in court. Second, a violation is punishable by a fine up to $500. Third, the driver may be subjected to a driver license suspension for up to one year. In addition, a conviction for this offense results in two points assessed to the driver’s license.Contesting a Charge of Failing to Stop for a Stopped School Bus
When a driver is accused of violating this law, the driver receives a traffic ticket. On the traffic ticket is a summons to appear in court. As indicated, a driver charged with this offense must appear in court and cannot simply pay the ticket. At the first court appearance, the driver is asked to enter a plea.
The plea options are Guilty, No Contest and Not Guilty. A guilty plea is a complete admission of guilt, and the judge or magistrate will enter a finding of guilt. A No Contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is an admission of the truth of the facts alleged in the traffic ticket. If the traffic ticket is sufficiently written, the judge or magistrate will enter a finding of guilt. If a driver pleads No Contest or Guilty, the driver is convicted, the sentence is typically imposed at that court appearance, and the case is closed.
If a driver pleads Not Guilty, the case is not finished at the first court appearance. Instead, the case will be scheduled for a trial. Before the trial, the driver can engage in the discovery process to exchange evidence with the prosecution. The driver can also undertake remedial measures to mitigate the sentence. In addition, the driver can engage the services of an attorney to provide a defense to the charge or to assist with obtaining leniency in the sentence, such as avoiding a license suspension.Defense Attorney for Failing to Stop For a Stopped School Bus
The attorneys at the Dominy Law Firm represent drivers who choose to contest a charge of failing to stop for a stopped school bus. Our lawyers focus on defending clients charged with criminal and traffic offenses in Columbus and central Ohio. If you are charged with this offense and required to go to a central Ohio court, we can help. To discuss our representation, a free phone consultation can be arranged by submitting a CONTACT FORM or by calling 614-717-1177.