Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Minnesota School Bus Stop-Arm Violation
In 2017, the State of Minnesota upped the penalty for failing to stop for a school bus --- a violation of Minn. Stat. 169.444. Specifically, the law requires that drivers in both directions stop --- when they see a school bus with its red lights flashing and its stop arm extended. The fine for failing to stop increased this summer from $300 to $500. Most importantly --- school bus drivers can (and do) report these violations directly to law enforcement and the registered owner of the violator vehicle can receive a ticket in the mail – even if they were not driving the vehicle at the time of the offense. If you have questions about a ticket you or someone you love has received for this offense, contact an experienced Minnesota Traffic Defense Lawyer.
What Should You Do?
Due to the presence of children surrounding a school, it is easy to understand why this law exists and why it is considered such a serious crime. With that being said, the penalties involved can be quite steep --- including the possibility that one's license could be revoked.
There are two types of driving conduct that can be cited. First, when a school bus is stopped and is displaying an “extended stop-signal arm and flashing red lights,” every driver must stop their vehicle at least 20-feet away from the school bus. Second, no driver may pass a school bus on the right-hand, passenger-door side “when the school bus is displaying the pre-warning flashing amber signals.”
Violating either or both of these two laws is a crime, simple violation of the above is a misdemeanor crime, leading to maximum criminal penalties of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. But, under certain circumstances, it may be a gross misdemeanor crime, which results in a maximum sentence of a year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine. Such as --- if you pass the bus when a child is outside the bus, it is a gross misdemeanor offense.
If you or someone you care about is facing criminal charges, contact me, a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney to set up a FREE – no obligation – consultation. You can reach me at (612) 234-1165 or firstname.lastname@example.org.