Understanding North Carolina's Passing a Stopped School Bus Law

Traffic Violations

While most people tend to think of passing a stopped school bus as a fairly minor traffic offense, the police and judges throughout Mecklenburg County and Cabarrus County view the violation as a serious matter. If you have been ticketed for Passing a Stopped School Bus, you need the assistance of a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer.

Attorney Chris Connelly provides over 25 years of criminal defense experience, personally manages each client's case. He has defended many clients charged in a wide range of traffic violations including those in violation of state school-bus stop laws.

(Note that we may associate an attorney in another firm to assist with some cases. We also, of course, employ capable support staff who handle various administrative aspects of cases.)

Minor traffic offenses can turn into big trouble. Protect your rights. Call 704-376-9376 or e-mail our Charlotte law firm to discuss your situation.

The state's school bus stop law considers it a Misdemeanor traffic crime to fail to stop at any school bus "displaying its mechanical stop signal or flashing red lights and the bus is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging passengers." Drivers approaching the bus from either direction must not attempt to pass the vehicle until after lights and stop sign are off and the bus moves. However, the driver on a road divided by a median or barrier highway traveling in the opposite direction need not stop. This exception includes a center lane for left turns if the roadway consists of at least four more lanes.

  • All traffic in both directions MUST STOP on a two-lane road with or without a center turning lane
  • All traffic in both directions MUST STOP on a four-lane road without a separating median
  • Only traffic following the school bus must stop on a four-lane road with center turning lane or a divided highway

Consequences for Violating the School Bus Stop Law

State law enforcement agencies are aggressively enforcing "stop arm" violations. As a Class One Misdemeanor, you risk up to four points against your driver's license, four points on your insurance and substantial fines for a violation. Like other serious traffic offenses, these criminal convictions go on your record.

Effective December 1, 2013, a minimum fine of $500 must be set for a misdemeanor violation and repeat violations will result in mandatory license revocations.

By law, you can not receive a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC) on this type of offense.

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Call us at 704-376-9376 or e-mail our Charlotte office to schedule a consultation regarding violation of the school bus stop law. Put the value of an experienced lawyer on your side in a traffic violation matter.

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