A person is guilty of reckless driving who fails to stop, when approaching from any direction, any school bus which is stopped on any highway, private road or school driveway for the purpose of taking on or discharging children, the elderly, or mentally or physically handicapped persons, and to remain stopped until all the persons are clear of the highway, private road or school driveway and the bus is put in motion. The driver of a vehicle, however, need not stop when approaching a school bus if the school bus is stopped on the other roadway of a divided highway, on an access road, or on a driveway when the other roadway, access road, or driveway is separated from the roadway on which he is driving by a physical barrier or an unpaved area. The driver of a vehicle also need not stop when approaching a school bus which is loading or discharging passengers from or onto property immediately adjacent to a school if the driver is directed by a law-enforcement officer or other duly authorized uniformed school crossing guard to pass the school bus. This section shall apply to school buses which are equipped with warning devices prescribed in § 46.2-1090 and are painted yellow with the words "School Bus" in black letters at least eight inches high on the front and rear thereof. Only school buses which are painted yellow and equipped with the required lettering and warning devices shall be identified as school buses.
The testimony of the school bus driver, the supervisor of school buses or a law-enforcement officer that the vehicle was yellow, conspicuously marked as a school bus, and equipped with warning devices as prescribed in § 46.2-1090 is prima facie evidence that the vehicle is a school bus.
This is a Class 1 misdemeanor criminal offense in Virginia with a maximum punishment including incarceration for up to 12 months, a fine of up to $2,500.00 and a suspension of your privilege to drive in Virginia for up to six months.
If convicted, in addition to a permanent criminal record, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) independently assesses 6 demerit points against your DMV record and your DMV record reflects the reckless driving conviction for 11 years.
In Virginia, police officers cannot charge you with the lesser offense of Improper Driving (46.2-869), a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $500 and accompanied by the DMV assessment of 3 demerit points against your driving record. However, if persuaded, the Commonwealth Attorney (prosecutor) has authority to reduce your reckless driving charge to improper driving. Additionally, if your case is tried and the court finds a slight degree of culpability, the court may find you not guilty of reckless driving, but guilty of improper driving traffic infraction.
If you've been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, don't make the common mistake of trying to go it alone without an experienced Virginia criminal defense lawyer. You need an aggressive and knowledgeable attorney who will fight for your rights. Let us be your legal advocate.
If saving your driver's license, minimizing fines, and avoiding a jail sentence are important to you, call The Wilson Law Firm at 703-361-6100 or toll free at 1-888-384-5997 for a free, no obligation consultation.