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 are 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 are found guilty and convicted of this offense.

We consider that an incredibly punitive result.

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, we carefully analyze the charge against you, as well as the facts of your particular case. We bring almost twenty years of Lake County traffic court experience to constructing a detail-oriented and powerful defense to your passing a stopped school bus allegation. The HoffmanLaw Office is here to defend you. We are here to do what it takes to try not only to keep your driving record as clean as possible but also to keep you driving.

The charge of passing a stopped school bus carries a tough mandatory penalty. As your attorney in Lake County traffic court, the HoffmanLaw Office will endeavor to build an even tougher defense.





Your passing a stopped school bus ticket is, in the opinion of the HoffmanLaw Office, quite serious. This is not because you are charged with a misdemeanor offense. Passing a stopped school bus is not a misdemeanor violation. It 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.

If you plead guilty to or are found guilty of passing a stopped school bus, the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State will suspend your driver’s license. This suspension is mandatory, whether you are 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.

The Secretary of State’s 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).

In Lake County, your passing a stopped school bus ticket requires that you appear in court. You are not allowed to resolve this type of ticket by mail. 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 has been stated that 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. After all, court supervision, by its very nature, is not a conviction for the offense. Right? That is correct. See, 730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.1. And, if you are not convicted of the offense, then no suspension would occur. Right? That also is correct.

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

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

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.


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 are charged with passing a stopped school bus, you are 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.

If your case proceeds to trial, the prosecution has the burden of proof. The prosecution will be required to prove all of the various elements of the offense of passing a stopped school bus. These elements are described below. If, at trial, the prosecution fails to prove any one of these elements, then you should be found not-guilty of the charge.

The HoffmanLaw Office has almost two decades of experience handling Lake County passing a stopped school bus charges. Over the years, we have 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.

In a great many cases we have been able to avoid convictions and therefore driver’s license suspensions for our clients. We have 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 is possible to resolve your case by negotiating for a different or lesser charge.

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 may become clear that the best way to resolve your case is by battling it through a 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 will be aligning yourself with a Lake County traffic court trial law firm. If we seek to negotiate on your behalf with the prosecution, we maintain a constant awareness that, if negotiating does not work, we 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 against you. With your Illinois driver’s literally 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


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


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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 case. This intensive analysis exposes weakness in the prosecution's evidence and develops powerful defense arguments and strategies.

attorney preparation of lake county traffic tickets

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.

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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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Years Experience

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




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

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).

When looking over 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 is clear that the requirements are many. The HoffmanLaw Office, which is 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 that if we can show that one or more of the necessary elements is missing from the prosecution's case, then you should be found not-guilty of the charge. In this way, the fairly high degree of complexity that is 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 will use your version of what 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. We seek to do this job right.

~Attorney Matt Hoffman, the HoffmanLaw Office



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

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