Have you been charged with VTL § 1174 passing a stopped school bus in New York?

Our lawyers have a vast amount of experience defending motorist against the charge of failing to stop for a school bus in New York. Representing drivers in New York accused passing a stopped school bus, NY VTL § 1174 is no easy task, but we are up to the challenge at Attack That Ticket. Contact our failure to stop for a school bus defense lawyers for a free consultation to find out how we can help. Being found guilty of NY VTL § 1174, failing to stop for a school bus, is a 5 point violation, a large insurance increase, and a substantial fine. Our New York traffic court defense lawyers represent motorists charged with not stopping for a school bus anywhere in New York State.

NY VTL § 1174 – the statute

The school bus law is technical and complex. To understand NY VTL § 1174 you must also understand New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 375(20), because VTL § 1174 references VTL § 375(20). Reading them together, motorists must stop before overtaking (passing) a stopped school bus as long as:

The bus is equipped red flashing signals in the front and rear

The signals are illuminated and flashing

The bus is stopped on a public or private roadway

The words “School Bus” must be painted on the exterior of the bus painted in black, at least 8 inches high, on the front and rear

The bus must be colored “National School Bus Chrome” (yellow)

The bus must be actively engaged in receiving / discharging passengers for transporting:

  • Students to / from school / school activities
  • Children to / from camp / camp activities
  • Children to / from religious activities
  • Disabled persons when used by state facilities / non-for-profit agencies licensed by NY State
  • Children to / from child care centers maintained for children of migrant farm workers or food processing laborers 

The motorist is not permitted to proceed not when the flashing lights go off. Rather, the motorist must wait until the bus resumes motion or is waived on by the bus driver or a police officer NY VTL § 1102).  

Penalties for violating NY VTL § 1174

Upon a first time conviction a motorist is facing total maximum fines of approximately $500.00, 5 points, and a major insurance merit system violation resulting in a 3 year auto insurance increase. In addition, the court could sentence a motorist to up to 30 days in prison and a license suspension. A second conviction within 3 years increases the maximum fines to approximately $800.00, another 5 points, more insurance increases, and the potential of up to 180 days in prison as well as a license suspension. Upon a 3rdconviction in 3 years, the total maximum fine will be over $1,000, another 5 points on your license, even more insurance increases, and potentially 180 days in prison as well as a license suspension. 

Defenses to NY VTL § 1174 failing to stop for a school bus

Being charged with passing a stopped school bus is a big problem because prosecutors and courts will not allow negotiating the charge of VTL § 1174, failing to stop for a school bus. This means that you either have to plead guilty “as charged” or take you case to trial. Inasmuch as you have nothing to lose and everything to gain my asserting your constitutional rights to a trial, it makes no sense to kowtow to the system.

What you need to understand is that by pleading guilty “as charged” you gain nothing and lose everything. Consequently, there is no downside to taking your case to trial and losing. The insurance companies and DMV don’t care how you arrived at “guilty,” be it by admission or swing of the gavel finding you guilty after trial.  When a prosecutor tells you that they do not negotiate school bus tickets they are giving you 1 choice – you are going to trial. 

Representing clients in a school bus trial is where we come in. We have litigated many school bus tickets. We have gotten the charge of VTL § 1174 dismissed by written motion, dismissed at trial, and in the criminal context had the predicate charge of VTL § 1174 dismissed which resulted in suppression of other evidence and dismissal of all charges. 

If you have been charged with failing to stop for a school bus, call us today for a no cost, no obligation phone consultation.