Passing a Stopped School Bus Attorney Lake County Illinois

Your Lake County, Illinois passing a stopped school bus ticket poses a problem the HoffmanLaw Office has many years of experience resolving: the possible mandatory suspension of your Illinois driver's license.

If you're charged with passing a stopped school bus under the Illinois Vehicle Code or under a similar provision of a local ordinance, the Illinois Secretary of State's Office will suspend your driver's license if you're found guilty and convicted of this offense.

We consider that an incredibly punitive result and something, if we defend you in Lake County traffic court, we'll work hard to avoid.

What can a HoffmanLaw traffic ticket defense attorney do to help?

Because the suspension of your driver's license is mandatory in a passing a stopped school bus case, the HoffmanLaw Office takes your defense against this charge very seriously.

In building your defense in this type of case, we'll carefully analyze the charge against you, as well as the facts alleged. We'll bring almost twenty years of Lake County traffic court experience to constructing a detail-oriented and powerful defense.

Passing a stopped school bus carries a tough mandatory penalty. This is why you need an even tougher defense.


Your passing a stopped school bus ticket is, in the opinion of the HoffmanLaw Office, quite serious. Yet this is not because you're charged with a misdemeanor offense. Passing a stopped school bus is not a misdemeanor violation. This offense does not carry misdemeanor fines or the possibility of jail time.

Passing a stopped school bus is serious because, upon conviction, it mandates the suspension of your Illinois driver's license or Illinois driving privileges.

In this regard, this type of severe consequence for a moving violation is a relative rarity in Illinois. There are very few traffic offenses in the Illinois Vehicle Code that carry a mandatory driver's license suspension for a first offense.

How does my license actually get suspended for this offense?

If you plead guilty to or are found guilty of passing a stopped school bus, the clerk of the court will notify the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State of that result. The Secretary of State then will suspend your Illinois driver's license or Illinois driving privileges based on that information.

This suspension is mandatory, whether you're charged with passing a stopped school bus under Section 11-1414 of the Illinois Vehicle Code or under a similar provision of a local ordinance. See, 625 ILCS 5/11-1414.

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If I'm convicted of passing a stopped school bus, how long will the suspension last?

The Office of the Illinois Secretary of State Office will suspend your driver's license for three months for your first conviction for the offense of passing a stopped school bus.

If you incur a second or subsequent conviction for passing a stopped school bus violation that occurred within five years of a prior conviction for the same charge, your suspension will be for a full year. See, 625 ILCS 5/11-1414(f).

Can't I just resolve my school bus ticket without going to court?

In Lake County, your passing a stopped school bus ticket requires that you appear in court before a judge. You are not allowed to resolve this type of ticket by mail.

Is there a minimum fine for passing a stopped school bus?

The minimum fine for passing a stopped school bus is $150 for a first offense and $500 for a second or subsequent offense. If your charge is not dismissed, court costs also will apply.


It's been stated a conviction for passing a stopped school bus will trigger the suspension of your Illinois driver's license.

Yet, you might ask if it would be possible for you to avoid a conviction for passing a stopped school bus by asking the court for and receiving court supervision in your case. That's an excellent question.

After all, court supervision, by its very nature, is not a conviction for the offense, right? That's correct. See, 730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.1.

And, if you're not convicted of the offense, then no suspension would occur. That's also correct.

A key problem in your passing a stopped school bus case arises from the fact that a disposition of court supervision is not allowed for this charge. See, 730 ILCS 5/5-6-1(f).

Whether you're charged with passing a stopped school bus under Section 11-1414 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, or under a similar provision of a local ordinance, you cannot receive court supervision for this offense.

Another way of viewing the fact that your passing a stopped school bus ticket is a mandatory conviction offense is to view it as a non-supervisionable traffic ticket: No supervision allowed.

What are the potential outcomes of a school bus ticket?

This means there are only two basic potential court dispositions for a passing a stopped school bus traffic ticket in Illinois: You're found guilty of the charge and therefore convicted and suspended, or you're found not-guilty or for some other reason the charge is dismissed.

So, how does the HoffmanLaw Office deal with this enormous problem? Consider the following facts of an Illinois passing a stopped school bus traffic ticket, and then read further to see how a HoffmanLaw traffic lawyer confronts the unique issues in this type of case.

Passing Stopped School Bus FACTS


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Mandatory Conviction

A ticket for passing a stopped school bus is a mandatory conviction offense on a guilty finding.

Supervision Not Allowed

A sentence of court supervision, which keeps a conviction off your record, is not allowed.

Court Appearance Required

Your passing a stopped school bus ticket requires that you appear in court before a judge.

Mandatory License Suspension

If you are convicted of passing a stopped school bus your Illinois driver's license will be suspended.

Minimum 3 Month Suspension

Depending on your driving record, upon conviction your license suspension will be 3 months or 1 year.

Minimum Fines Apply

A passing a stopped school bus ticket carries a minimum fine of $150 or $500 based on your driving record.


In a great many cases we've been able to avoid convictions and therefore driver's license suspensions for our clients. We've achieved these exemplary results by fully analyzing the facts and evidence in our clients' cases and by working as a committed advocate for our clients' goals.

~Attorney Matt Hoffman, the HoffmanLaw Office



Understanding the penalties you can face for the traffic violation of passing a stopped a school bus, when the HoffmanLaw Office defends you against this charge, we never lose sight of the presumption of innocence.

If you're charged with passing a stopped school bus, you're presumed innocent of the charge.

You have the right to a trial, a right to see and hear the prosecution's evidence against you, a right to cross-examine the prosecution's witnesses, and the right to present your own evidence and testify in your defense if you wish.

Do you have to prove your innocence?

If your case proceeds all the way to trial, the prosecution has the burden of proof. The prosecution will be required to prove all the various elements of the offense as it's alleged. These elements are described below.

The burden of proof never shifts to you and you never have to prove your innocence.

If, at trial, the prosecution fails to prove any one of the elements of the offense, then you should be found not-guilty of the charge and the charge would be dismissed.

The HoffmanLaw Office has almost two decades of experience handling Lake County passing a stopped school bus charges. Over the years, we've defended many clients just like you against passing a stopped school bus tickets in the Lake County traffic courts of Mundelein, Park City, and Round Lake Beach.

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In a great many cases we've been able to avoid convictions and therefore driver's license suspensions for our clients. We've achieved these exemplary results by fully analyzing the facts and evidence in our clients' cases and by working as a committed advocate for our clients' goals.

Not every passing a stopped school bus ticket has to proceed to trial to be resolved. Sometimes it's possible to resolve your case by negotiating for a different or lesser charge.

Would my HoffmanLaw attorney have prior success in negotiating for lesser outcomes?

The HoffmanLaw Office has a long and highly successful track record in Lake County traffic court in negotiating for creative and protective outcomes for our clients in passing a stopped school bus cases.

If we defend you against a passing a stopped school bus charge, we will devise a global strategy for the defense of your case.

During our defense, we keep your options open. We can seek to convince the prosecution to "amend" and reduce your charge in an effort to avoid both a driver's license suspension and a conviction on any charge.

Or, together we can find or reach the conclusion that the prosecution is unwilling to make a palatable offer in your case. In this situation, it might become clear the best way to resolve your case is by battling it through a trial.

If need be, will my HoffmanLaw lawyer fight for me through trial?

What this dynamic highlights is that, if you work with the HoffmanLaw Office to defend your Lake County passing a stopped school bus ticket, you'll be aligning yourself with a Lake County traffic court trial law firm.

If we seek to negotiate on your behalf with the prosecution, we'll maintain a constant awareness that, if negotiating doesn't work, we'll need to be ready to try your case.

We have the proven ability to challenge the prosecution's evidence against you, to powerfully cross-examine prosecution witnesses, and to raise doubt around the allegations. With your Illinois driver's license or driving privileges on the line, if we take your case to trial, we seek to win.


We maintain a constant awareness that, if negotiating does not work, we need to be ready to try your case. If we take your case to trial, we seek to win.

~Attorney Matt Hoffman, the HoffmanLaw Office



If the time is taken to analyze what the prosecution must prove against you in a passing a stopped school bus trial, it becomes apparent, quickly, that it must prove many different things in order for you to properly be found guilty of this charge.

The HoffmanLaw Office believes it's your attorney's job to know what must be proven, and to have a firm grasp on whether or not the prosecution can prove the offense at all.

The passing a stopped school bus statute states that a driver must stop before meeting or overtaking a school bus stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging students. See, 625 ILCS 5/11-1414(a). Breaking apart this statement, then, in your passing a stopped school bus case the prosecution must be able to prove that:

  • As a driver of a vehicle, you failed to stop
  • Before you met or overtook
  • A school bus
  • That was stopped
  • For the purpose of receiving or discharging students.

In addition to requiring proof of the foregoing five elements, the passing a stopped school bus statute also requires you to stop before reaching the school bus when it is displaying the visual signals described in Sections 12-803 and 12-805 of the Illinois Vehicle Code. See, 625 ILCS 5/11-1414(a).

With this additional sentence, the passing a stopped school bus statute mandates that certain visual signals were "in operation" on the school bus when you allegedly failed to stop.

Two different statutes, entirely outside the passing a stopped school bus statute, describe these "visual signals." This "visual signal" component of the passing a stopped school bus law adds two more elements that must be proven at trial:

  • Visual signals as specified in Section 12-803 were in operation on the school bus, and
  • Visual signals as specified in Section 12-805 were in operation on the school bus.

Section 12-803 of the Illinois Vehicle Code describes the "stop signal arm on the driver's side of the school bus." See, 625 ILCS 5/12-803.

Section 12-805 describes the "8-lamp flashing signal system" on a school bus. See, 625 ILCS 5/12-805.

The passing a stopped school bus statute proceeds to state that the stop signal arm required by Section 12-803 has to be extended after the school bus has reached a complete stop for the purpose of loading or discharging school students and then must be closed before the school bus proceeds. See, 625 ILCS 5/11-1414(b).

This sentence adds yet another element to the offense of passing a stopped school bus that must be proven at trial. Specifically, the prosecution must prove that:

  • After the school bus came to a complete stop to load or discharge students, the stop signal arm was extended.

Drivers ticketed for passing a stopped school bus report frequently that the stop signal arm was not extended and that the bus was still in motion at the moment they are alleged to have broken the law.

If the prosecution fails to prove that the stop signal arm was extended and that the bus was at a complete stop, then this element would be missing from the alleged offense.

The passing a stopped school bus statute also states that alternately flashing red signal lamps required by Section 12-805 must be activated after the school bus reached a complete stop for the purpose of loading or discharging students and must be turned off before the school bus moves forward. See, 625 ILCS 5/11-1414(c).

This part of the passing a stopped school bus statute requires the prosecution to prove that:

  • Alternately flashing red signal lamps were activated after the school bus came to a complete stop for the purpose of loading or discharging students.

If the prosecution fails to prove that the "alternately flashing red signal lamps" were activated and that the school bus was at a complete stop, then this element would be missing from the offense.

The passing a stopped school bus law even describes what the school bus must do to warn drivers that it is coming to a stop.

Specifically, the school bus must activate the amber colored lights of an 8-lamp flashing signal system continuously during the last 100 feet before stopping to load or discharge students in an urban area and for at least 200 feet outside an urban area. See, 625 ILCS 5/11-1414(d).


Occasionally, people contact us with the question, "I think I might be getting a ticket for passing a stopped school bus. How long does it normally take to get a ticket in the mail?"

Although we've seen circumstances where a client received traffic tickets in the mail, in most cases this is not how police in Lake County issue traffic tickets and notices to appear in court.

If the police didn't witness the alleged offense, how can they still charge me?

In the case where you might be accused of passing a stopped school bus, but where you were not ticketed for the alleged offense at the scene, it's possible the school bus driver or another witness could make a complaint about your driving to the local police department.

In this sitaution, the school bus driver could provide the license plate number of the vehicle you were allegedly driving to the police, and give the police a specific description of how you allegedly violated the passing a stopped school bus law.

Wouldn't someone have to identify me as the driver in open court?

A witness claiming you violated the law would be required to identify you as the person who did so in court.

How do the police investigate this type of case?

In investigating this type of case, the police would be tasked with determining whether there's credible evidence you violated the passing a stopped school bus law.

It's possible the police would contact you to give you an "opportunity" to provide "your version" of what happened before they charged you with an offense.

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You should keep in mind that anything you say to the police could be used to incriminate you in a court of law.

Most attorneys would recommend that you make no statement to the police in this situation without an attorney being present.

What if the police tell me to come pick up my ticket or mail it to me?

In other scenarios, the police might simply decide, upon receiving the complaint of a school bus driver or of some other witness, that they have probable cause to charge you with an offense.

The police could contact you and invite you to the police department to "pick up" a copy of your ticket. Or, they might mail the citation to your home.

An attorney would be able to review your case and determine if the method by which the police charged you and served you notice complies with Illinois law. Rules and procedures govern how traffic tickets may be issued in Illinois.


When considering everything a school bus must be doing in order to place a driver, like you, in the position of potentially violating the passing a stopped school bus law, it's clear the requirements are many.

The HoffmanLaw Office, led by a former Lake County, Illinois traffic court prosecutor, believes that if it defends your passing a stopped school bus case all the way through trial, the prosecution must be required to prove not just some, but all of the elements of the offense alleged.

Additionally, we believe if we can show one or more of the necessary elements is missing from the prosecution's case, then you should be found not-guilty of the offense.

In this way, the fairly high degree of complexity intrinsic to the charge of passing a stopped school bus actually can work in your favor in Lake County traffic court.

Your version of what happened out on the street is incredibly important to us. We'll use your version of what really happened in crafting an overall defense of your case.


The HoffmanLaw Office believes it is your attorney's job to know the different elements the prosecution must prove and to have a firm grasp on whether or not it can prove them in your case at trial.

~Attorney Matt Hoffman, the HoffmanLaw Office



Put Experience on Your Side


Your Passing a Stopped School Bus Ticket


An Effective Resolution

The HoffmanLaw Office works in all of the traffic courthouses of Lake County, Illinois to defend our clients against passing a stopped school bus charges. We understand the issues you are facing in your case. When we defend you against a passing a stopped school bus ticket, it is our goal to seek to avoid a conviction for this offense. We know that a conviction will trigger the suspension of your Illinois driver's license. We work hard to prevent that from happening and to keep your driving record as clean as possible.

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Failing to Stop Your Vehicle Before Meeting or Overtaking a School Bus

That is Operating Specified Visual Signals and is Stopped on a Roadway or any other Location

For the Purpose of Receiving or Discharging Students


attorney analysis of lake county school bus passing traffic charges

Analysis.

The HoffmanLaw Office always is focused on the presumption of innocence. Building on this presumption, the HoffmanLaw Office performs a systematic and searching ANALYSIS of the facts alleged in your Lake County passing a stopped school bus case. This intensive analysis exposes weakness in the prosecution's evidence and develops powerful defense arguments and strategies.

attorney preparation of lake county school bus violations

Preparation.

The HoffmanLaw Office strives to know completely the facts and law of your case. In traffic court, good results do not often emerge by chance. They come through intense PREPARATION that lays the groundwork for success. When you select the HoffmanLaw Office as your legal advocate, you team yourself with a philosophy of extreme preparation.

attorney producing effective results in lake county traffic court on school bus charges

Results.

The HoffmanLaw Office views every time it appears in court with you as an opportunity to achieve RESULTS. Whether it is negotiating during a pretrial conference, cross-examining a witness, or delivering a closing argument at trial, the HoffmanLaw Office strives to be your best advocate at all times.

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Cases Handled
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Facing a Lake County Illinois Passing a Stopped School Bus Ticket?




Defending Serious Passing a Stopped School Bus Tickets in Lake County Illinois Traffic Court

We are Here to Help



Can I resolve my school bus ticket by mail?

No. You are not allowed to resolve your Lake County, Illinois passing a stopped school bus ticket by mail. Your passing a stopped school bus ticket requires that you appear in court before a judge. Reasons for this are that the ticket carries a minimum statutory fine of at least $150, the ticket does not allow for court supervision, the ticket carries a mandatory conviction, and a conviction will cause the suspension of your Illinois driver's license. These serious potential consequences mean that the court system has determined your case must be heard by a judge.

Will my license automatically be suspended?

No, your Illinois driver's license will not automatically be suspended just because you have been charged with unlawfully passing a stopped school bus. Although the suspension of your license is mandatory if you are found guilty and then convicted of the offense, the suspension will not be imposed if neither of those things happen. Even though a police officer charged you with this offense, you are presumed innocent of the violation and you have the right to a trial on the charge. At a trial, the prosecution has the burden of proof and is obligated to prove the offense. There is nothing "automatic" about the suspension of your driver's license in this type of case, since you have the right contest your ticket.

Other than trial, how can my case be resolved?

Taking your passing a stopped school bus ticket to trial is not the only way to resolve your case. The HoffmanLaw Office has represented and defended many drivers just like you who were charged with passing a stopped school bus in Lake County traffic court. In many of those cases the HoffmanLaw Office was able to convince the prosecution to lower or reduce the stated offense. The process of negotiating for a lesser, known result often is referred to as "plea bargaining." When the HoffmanLaw Office seeks to obtain a plea offer from the prosecution on your behalf, it is with the goal of trying to convince the prosecution to step away from your passing a stopped school bus charge, to convert the charge to something else, and to agree to a resolution that avoids a conviction on any offense.

Does the school bus driver have to testify?

There is no legal requirement that the school bus driver testifies in your passing a stopped school bus case. Although sometimes the bus driver appears in court and is called by the prosecution as a witness, in many other cases only the police officer who issued you the ticket appears in court in your case. What the prosecution is required to prove in your case is that you violated the parameters of the passing a stopped school bus statute. They can attempt to do this by calling to testify any witness who claims to have observed the offense. Most often, the police officer who issued the ticket tends to be the prosecution's "star witness." There are cases where the school bus driver is called to testify as well.

Does my driving record count?

In the experience of the HoffmanLaw Office, your driving record can have an enormous impact on the overall outcome of your case. We have represented clients who have maintained spotless driving records for many years, only to suddenly find themselves charged with passing a stopped school bus and facing the possibility of the mandatory suspension of their drivers' licenses. A conviction for passing a stopped school bus is serious. It will suspend your Illinois driver's license. It will place a conviction on your driving record and that conviction could lead to higher insurance rates. If you have a good driving record, the HoffmanLaw Office will view that as a factual asset in the defense of your case. We will bring your good driving record to the prosecutor's attention and make the strongest possible use of it in an effort to most favorably resolve your case.

What if the stop sign wasn't out?

If the stop sign, or "stop signal arm," was not extended at the time you allegedly passed the school bus in question in your case, then you should be found not-guilty of the violation. It is common that drivers observed that the stop sign was not extended, or was being extended, at the moment they passed a bus. It may be distinctly possible that the police officer who issued you your ticket was not able to observe the stop sign as well as you. This is an issue that can be debated in your case. So, too, if the red flashing lights were not activated, or if the bus was still moving when you passed it, can these additional issues be raised and facts contested. The HoffmanLaw Office wants to know your version of the events. We were not there when you were ticketed. In this regard, you can help us create an accurate picture of what really happened in your case.

Here to Defend You Every Step of the Way



Office Location


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Mundelein

TRAFFIC COURT

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Park City

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Round Lake Beach

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Waukegan

TRAFFIC COURT