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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    2

    Default Passing A School Bus Ticket In Pennsylvania

    My question involves a traffic citation from the state of: Pennsylvania


    I received a ticket in the mail regarding "meeting or overtaking a school bus." (Sec 3345 Sub sec. A) The officer (who signed it) checked the box that says "Filed on Info. Received." I believe this means he received the information from a 3rd party, my guess the bus driver.

    I remember passing a bus that day, however the lights were yellow and it was still moving. (As a teacher and someone whose cousin was killed in a school zone, I would NEVER pass a bus when the lights were red, the sign was out and the bus was stopped.)

    More importantly, the location that is documented on my ticket for where this allegedly occured is on the same road, but not anywhere near where I truly passed the bus.

    Is the location error enough to get the ticket dismissed? I was never pulled over, questioned or anything about this. It seems reasonable since the ticket is officially charging me with overtaking the bus at this point and that never happened. Its not even physically possible on that part of the road.

    If it won't get dismissed, is it at least enough to begin putting reasonable doubt in the judge's mind?

    I appreciate the feedback.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    2

    Default Re: Passing A School Bus Ticket In Pennsylvania

    Addendum: I watched on the road today at the time I was accused and found out that there IS indeed a bus that stops where the ticket accuses me of overtaking one. It's definitely not the bus I passed when the lights were yellow (turns out there are 5 buses who drive this road at that particular time), so I'm wondering if I shouldn't even mention the bus I DID pass at my trial?

    It's difficult to know whether the ticket is incorrect location (meaning the bus that I actually (legally) passed sent in my info and somehow the location was miscommunicated)

    or

    the whole situation is fabricated (meaning I am truly being accused of overtaking a bus at the given location even though it is impossible for me to be in two places at once)

    Again, since I was never pulled over or questioned about this ticket, the only information I have to go by is what is written on the ticket.

    Help is appreciated, I'm starting to worry about losing my license so close to my wedding!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,206

    Default Re: Passing A School Bus Ticket In Pennsylvania

    First of all, you're not going to lose your license as a result of this alleged infraction...so don't worry about that. The whole thing sounds odd since the driver (or someone else) had to write down your license number.

    I don't know how your traffic court system works in PA. but you need to plead 'not guilty', go to trial and see who shows up to testify against you. My guess is that your accuser will be nowhere in sight...but if someone does show up to testify against you, you can tell your story and hope for the best. Congratulations of your upcoming nuptials!!

    P.S. Your accuser will testify before you do so base your defense on what's alleged and don't volunteer any information that's not pertinent.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Seattle
    Posts
    3,577

    Default Re: Passing A School Bus Ticket In Pennsylvania

    I go along with Chucky. Here's what the PA Vehicle Code states:
    Quote Quoting PA Vehicle Code, Chapter 33, Subchapter D, § 3345
    (a.1) Reports by school bus operators.--
    (1) The operator of a school bus who observes a violation of subsection (a) may prepare a signed, written report which indicates that a violation has occurred. To the extent possible, the report shall include the following information:
    (i) Information, if any, pertaining to the identity of the alleged violator.
    (ii) The license number and color of the vehicle involved in the violation.
    (iii) The time and approximate location at which the violation occurred.
    (iv) Identification of the vehicle as an automobile, station wagon, motor truck, motor bus, motorcycle or other type of vehicle.
    (2) Within 48 hours after the violation occurs, the school bus operator shall deliver a copy of the report to a police officer having authority to exercise police power in the area where the violation occurred. If the police officer believes that the report establishes a sufficient basis for the issuance of a citation, the officer shall file a citation and the report with the issuing authority. If the issuing authority determines that the report and citation establish a sufficient basis for the issuance of a summons, a summons shall be issued in accordance with general rules governing the institution of proceedings in summary traffic offense cases. The issuing authority shall send the defendant a copy of the citation, together with a statement that it was filed by the police officer named in the citation on the basis of information received.
    (3) A person may institute a proceeding pursuant to this subsection or in accordance with any means authorized by the Rules of Criminal Procedure.
    IMHO, the key here will be the school bus driver's ability to identify YOU as the driver of the vehicle. It's not enough that the driver can identify your car, even if he/she adds some vague description of the driver.

    It's one thing when an officer pulls you over and copies your information from your license, but it's entirely another thing for a bus driver (not a trained observer) to affirmatively identify ANY individual driving a car. How many seconds did they have? So, unless the driver is personally acquainted with you, it seems highly unlikely they'd be able to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that you were the person driving.

    Using whatever PA has for "discovery", you need to get a copy of the bus driver's report. That will tell you what the evidence is against you. Make sure it contains ALL the information required by the law. Also, note the 48 hour rule. Try to figure out if it was "delivered" to a "police officer having authority" within the 48 hour time limit. This is also something you can ask the prosecutor prove. If he/she cannot, move for dismissal.

    I did a quick search (not exhaustive, however) and couldn't find anything that states that the owner of a vehicle is "presumed" to be the driver -- for the purposes of a traffic infraction.

    So, I think you've got a reasonable defense. If it were me, I'd fight it.

    Good luck,
    Barry
    Where am I going? And why am I in this handbasket?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    636

    Default Re: Passing A School Bus Ticket In Pennsylvania

    Over my years of experince dealing with moving violations of my own. I find it is always best to hire an attorney to fight any and all traffic violations.

    If you are found guilty trying to defend yourself. It may end up costing you more over time then what the attorney would have cost to get you found not guilty.

    If you take the cost of the fine, court fees, and then higher insurance rates from the traffic violation. Most likely your going to pay those higher insurance rates for 2-3 years. Add all that up and I bet you could have hired an attorney and been found not guilty. Why because the attorney will most likely know a loop hole that will get you a not guilty verdict.

  6. #6
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    Oct 2005
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    California
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    1,206

    Wink Re: Passing A School Bus Ticket In Pennsylvania

    Quote Quoting bigcountrysg
    View Post
    Over my years of experince dealing with moving violations of my own. I find it is always best to hire an attorney to fight any and all traffic violations.

    If you are found guilty trying to defend yourself. It may end up costing you more over time then what the attorney would have cost to get you found not guilty.

    If you take the cost of the fine, court fees, and then higher insurance rates from the traffic violation. Most likely your going to pay those higher insurance rates for 2-3 years. Add all that up and I bet you could have hired an attorney and been found not guilty. Why because the attorney will most likely know a loop hole that will get you a not guilty verdict.
    I think that type of reasoning assumes at least two of these three possibilities:

    (1) You're guilty and have a miserable case.
    (2) You handle yourself poorly and your reasoning abilities are deficient.
    (3) There's something 'magic' about hiring an attorney and that all will be well when you do so.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Passing A School Bus Ticket In Pennsylvania

    In the state of PA, a school bus driver is the only person that can turn in information to a police officer and this result in a traffic violation. As for not losing your license you will. The fine is a 60 day license suspension, 5 points and a $250. I am a school bus driver if all of the other drivers wouldn't be in such a hurry and paying attention you would have a problem. But this is not true it's not the driver doesn't see the buses, it's they try to beat the buses instead of leaving on time to get to their destination. I just had a driver run my red lights I did get the driver's license plate number because they stopped at my rear bumper after they went through the lights and if the student would have gotten off the bus in a hurry the driver would have hit them. This driver was not paying attention and just staring straight ahead.

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