Failing to stop for a school can have serious consequences for your driving privileges and your life. If you’ve been handed an Ohio failure to stop for school bus ticket, you may need the help of an experienced Columbus traffic ticket lawyer.
When a school bus stops and deploys the stop sign affixed to it, drivers on either side of the road must come to a stop. The idea is to keep children getting on and off the bus safe from nearby traffic. It makes sense, but sometimes stopping for a school bus, when you’re not expecting it, means having to slam on your brakes and potentially endangering yourself or other drivers. Despite the logistical difficulties of knowing when another moving vehicle is going to stop, failure to stop for a school bus is a heavily enforced traffic law in Ohio.
Penalties for Failure to Stop for a School Bus in Columbus
A ticket for failing to stop for a school bus could net you a hefty fine and even restrict your driving privileges. You may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $500, and the court also has the discretion to suspend your driver’s license or otherwise restrict it. You must appear in court to answer the charge of failure to stop for a school bus.
There are many potential ramifications to a failure to stop for a school bus violation. Even if you are only ordered to pay a fine, that fine is the same as a guilty plea, and it could follow you well into the future with increased insurance premiums and points and by reflecting negatively on you in a background check. To help avoid what could be years of trouble from a failure to stop for a school bus violation, you may consider consulting with a team of experienced Columbus traffic attorneys about your options for fighting the failure to stop for school bus ticket.
Other Consequences of Failure to Stop for a School Bus Violations
The ramifications for failure to stop for a school bus may not stop with fines. There are other consequences of having this violation on your driving record.
- Driver’s License Points – Failure to stop for a school bus adds 2 points to your license in Ohio. If you have over 12 points on your license, the BMV will automatically suspend your driving privileges for six months. Depending on your driving record, those two points could push you into an automatic suspension.
- Background Checks – Today, many institutions and organizations run background checks on applicants. This means employers, colleges, and licensing organizations like the state Bar. Having a failure to stop for a school bus violation on your record, especially if it’s in conjunction with several other violations, could make it harder for you to secure employment or get into a university. If driving is part of your current job, your employer may run periodic background checks. Violations on your record could lead to probation or even termination from employment.
- Higher Insurance – Insurance providers use traffic violations and points on your license to calculate what kind of risk you are, and what kind of rate you qualify for. More violations on your record means higher risk for insurance companies, and higher insurance premiums for you. Insurance rates can rise with as little as one violation on your record.
- Civil Liability – Depending on the circumstances leading to your ticket, you could be exposed to civil liability. If you were in an accident or injured a school bus driver or passenger getting on or off the bus, you may be sued for damages. A failure to stop for a school bus violation may be offered as evidence of proof of your guilt, increasing the chances of a judgment against you.
- Public Humiliation – In recent years, some judges have gotten creative when handing down punishments for traffic violations, including failure to stop for a school bus. In Ohio, a woman was ordered to stand on the street with a sign declaring her an idiot for driving on the sidewalk to avoid stopping for a school bus. Depending on the circumstances of your violation, and what your judge thinks of your behavior, you could be sentenced to the increasingly popular “public shaming.”
How a Columbus Traffic Defense Lawyer Can Help
When operating a vehicle on a highway that has been divided into four or more traffic lanes, you do not need to stop for a stopped school bus approaching from the opposite direction. Failure to stop for a school bus is regulated by the Ohio Traffic Code.
Under Ohio Revised Code 4511.22, a vehicle operator traveling on either side of the road must stop when a school bus is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging children going to school or a head start program, or people attending a community program for mental health or developmental disability. Drivers must stop at least 10 feet from the front or the rear of the school bus, and cannot continue on until the bus resumes motion or the bus driver signals that you may proceed.
A Columbus traffic ticket lawyer may explore several possible defenses on your behalf when it comes to overcoming your Ohio failure to stop for school bus ticket, including:
- The bus driver’s directions weren’t clear – You are allowed to proceed past a stopped school bus if the bus driver signals for you to do so. If the bus driver waved you along, or gave you some other unclear gesture that you interpreted as such, this may be a defense against a failure to stop ticket.
- No passengers getting on or off – You must stop for a school bus when it is loading or unloading passengers, but if there were no passengers, or there was some reasonable circumstance that led you to believe there were no passengers, this may be a defense against failure to stop for a school bus.
- You actually did stop – Police officers are capable of making mistakes. With so many things for a police officer to observe on the road, he or she may have simply been mistaken about your failure to stop. Your attorney will question your ticketing officer about what he saw, and how he was able to see it from wherever he was. Additionally, your attorney may be able to get witness testimony from other people on or near the scene.
- Good driving record – If you have a good driving record with relatively few or no traffic violations, your Columbus traffic defense lawyer may be able to convince a judge or prosecutor to be lenient. This may mean you pay fines but receive no points on your license, or you complete a driver’s training course instead of being found guilty at all.
Did You Receive a Columbus Failure to Stop for School Bus Ticket? Contact Us for Help
Call us today for a free consultation with one of our Columbus traffic ticket attorneys who can help you avoid the long-term consequences of having a violation on your driving record. We’re available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and to help build the defense against your Ohio failure to stop for school bus ticket. You can reach us by phone at (614) 500-3836, or by email at [email protected].