Section 11-1414 of the Illinois Vehicle Code defines the charge of passing a stopped school bus. Under this law, drivers must stop before meeting or overtaking, from either direction, any school bus that is stopped at any location for the purpose of receiving or discharging students. Drivers are required to stop before reaching the school bus when the “stop signal arm” on the driver’s side of the bus is extended and the red flashing lamps on the bus are activated.

Bus drivers are required to warn other drivers of their intention to stop by activating amber flashing lamps continuously for at least 100 feet in an urban area and for at least 200 feet while outside an urban area. Once a school bus has come to a complete stop, the amber flashing lights are to be shut off and the red flashing lights are to be activated and to remain activated until the bus again is placed in motion.

A driver who is required to stop for a loading or unloading school bus is not allowed to proceed until the school bus resumes motion, or the driver is signaled by the school bus driver to proceed, or the visual signals consisting of the stop signal arm and flashing red lights on the bus no longer are activated. People driving on a four-lane highway that permits at least 2 lanes of traffic to travel in opposite directions need not stop upon meeting a school bus that is stopped in the opposing roadway.

Although a traffic ticket for passing a stopped school bus is not a misdemeanor level offense, and a person may not be sentenced to jail if found guilty of this offense, a passing a stopped school bus ticket is, in many ways, far more serious and potentially problematic than the majority of other moving violations defined in the Illinois Vehicle Code.

A first violation of the passing a stopped school bus law carries a minimum $150.00 fine plus court costs; a second violation carries a minimum $500.00 fine plus court costs.

The HoffmanLaw Office defends drivers who have been ticketed for passing a stopped school bus anywhere in Lake County, Illinois. Attorney Matt Hoffman, a former Lake County traffic court prosecutor, appears routinely while defending his clients against traffic charges at the Lake County courthouses located in Mundelein, Park City, Round Lake Beach, and downtown Waukegan.

If you are charged with passing a stopped school bus, there are a number of different possible outcomes in your case. Although it is true that if you are found guilty of this type of ticket you will be convicted and temporarily lose your driving privileges, you should not assume those things automatically will occur.

A traffic ticket for passing a stopped school bus is merely an allegation. You have the right to a trial on the charge. If your case proceeds to trial, the burden of proving the allegation, and each of the various elements of the offense, will be on the prosecution. If the prosecution fails to prove the allegation, or any one of its elements, you should be found not-guilty and acquitted of the charge. If you are acquitted, or for some other reason the charge is dismissed, no record of your ticket will be forwarded by the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court to the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State.

At a trial, the prosecution would be required to prove that the school bus was at a complete stop when you allegedly passed it. The prosecution also would have to prove that the stop signal arm was extended, the red lights were flashing, and that the bus was stopped for the purpose of loading or unloading students. If the prosecution failed to prove any one of these elements of the offense, you should be found not-guilty of the charge.

As a former Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney who used to prosecute passing stopped school bus tickets in the Lake County circuit courts, Attorney Matt Hoffman knows what the prosecution must show in order to prove the alleged violation in a court of law. He is able to use his first-hand knowledge of both prosecuting and defending this type of ticket in helping his clients try to avoid the severe penalties that come from being found guilty of this charge.

In addition to trial, there are other ways to attempt to resolve your passing a stopped school bus ticket. Sometimes prosecutors, after learning more about you, your driving record and the facts and circumstances of your case, become willing to amend or reduce your charges and to make a plea offer that avoids a driver's license suspension and minimizes the negative impact of this ticket on your driving record.

The HoffmanLaw Office has a history of trial success. But it also has a strong record of accomplishment in successfully negotiating positive outcomes for its clients facing passing stopped school bus tickets. If you are considering a lawyer to defend you against this charge, the HoffmanLaw Office offers a free consultation on every case.

The HoffmanLaw Office represents clients charged with passing stopped school bus tickets and all other moving violations in the Lake County, Illinois traffic courts. There are many different police departments that forward passing stopped school bus tickets to the four Lake County traffic courthouses located in Mundelein, Park City, Round Lake Beach and Waukegan. If you were ticketed for passing a stopped school bus within the jurisdiction of any of these four court venues, it is likely that you were cited by one of the police departments listed below.