Reckless Driving by Passing a School Bus in Virginia

Criminal Defense Attorneys Serving Fairfax, Leesburg & Manassas, Virginia



If you pass a stopped school bus it may be classified as Reckless Driving in Virginia. 

Please review your ticket carefully.  If the ticket reads that you were charged with a violation of Virginia Code Section 46.2-859 it is considered to be Reckless Driving, a Class One Misdemeanor. 

Punishment for a violation of Virginia Code Section 46.2-859.

A permanent conviction of a Class One Misdemeanor

A fine of up to $2500.00; and/or

A loss of the privilege to drive in Virginia for 6 months; and/or

1 day to 6 months in jail.

6 Demerit Points if you have Virginia Driving Record.


Carlos Wall and Alex Gordon, the traffic defense lawyers at the The Gordon Law Firm have helped more than 3000 people charged with Reckless Driving in Fairfax, Prince William, and Loudoun county.

If you contact our firm for a free consultation, we will listen carefully to you as you describe the circumstances on the day you were charged with Passing a School Bus in northern Virginia.

First, we will discuss at whether the bus was clearly marked as a school bus and had working warning lights.  Next, we can determine if there was a median or barrier between your vehicle and the bus.  We will also look at the purpose for why the school bus had stopped.  It makes a difference if the school bus was picking up or dropping off passengers, or was it only stopped on the side of the road. 

If it is clear from our discussion that you really had passed a stopped school bus with the warning lights on, there is still hope. Many times we are able to have the charge reduced from a misdemeanor to a regular traffic infraction.  Passing a Stopped School Bus under Virginia Code Section 46.2-859 may be amended by plea agreement to Virginia Code Section 46.2-844, which is only a traffic infraction.

Your misdemeanor charge may also be reduced through pre-trial negotiations with the Commonwealth Attorney to Improper Driving (a non-misdemeanor traffic infraction).  Another minor traffic offense such as Failure to Obey a Highway Sign under Virginia Code 46.2-830 may also be a favorable outcome.

A charge of Improper Driving has a penalty of up to a $500.00 fine and a 3 demerit point reduction on your Virginia driving record.

A charge of Failure to Obey a Highway Sign has a penalty of up to a $250.00 fine and a 3 demerit point reduction on your Virginia driving record.


In some instances, the charge can be amended to Passing a Stopped School bus under § 46.2-844 which is a civil penalty of $250 and a 6 point offense on your driving record, but is not a misdemeanor and is considered not to be Reckless Driving.  Some police officers may charge a person with this code section if the case is not aggravated (such as the children are already on the bus but it hasn't yet removed its warnings).  In this case, we still work towards a reduction or dismissal depending on the facts and person's driving history.


If you are charged with Passing a Stopped School Bus as Reckless Driving in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William County then you should contact us immediately. We will work with you to try to get your reckless driving ticket reduced to a lesser charge. In the end it could save you thousands of dollars in increased car insurance costs and fines. 

Every person's case is different.  We look forward listening carefully to you about the circumstances of your case and developing a strategy for success.  Call Alex or Carlos at 703.218.8416 or text us a copy of your ticket to 703.591.6682.  We look forward to the opportunity to work with you.


Virginia Code Section 46.2-859  -  Passing a stopped school bus; prima facie evidence.

A person driving a motor vehicle shall stop such vehicle when approaching, from any direction, any school bus which is stopped on any highway, private road or school driveway for the purpose of taking on or discharging children, the elderly, or mentally or physically handicapped persons, and shall remain stopped until all the persons are clear of the highway, private road or school driveway and the bus is put in motion; any person violating the foregoing is guilty of reckless driving.

The driver of a vehicle, however, need not stop when approaching a school bus if the school bus is stopped on the other roadway of a divided highway, on an access road, or on a driveway when the other roadway, access road, or driveway is separated from the roadway on which he is driving by a physical barrier or an unpaved area.

The driver of a vehicle also need not stop when approaching a school bus which is loading or discharging passengers from or onto property immediately adjacent to a school if the driver is directed by a law-enforcement officer or other duly authorized uniformed school crossing guard to pass the school bus.

This section shall apply to school buses which are equipped with warning devices prescribed in § 46.2-1090 and are painted yellow with the words "School Bus" in black letters at least eight inches high on the front and rear thereof. Only school buses which are painted yellow, and equipped with the required lettering and warning devices, shall be identified as school buses.

The testimony of the school bus driver, the supervisor of school buses or a law-enforcement officer that the vehicle was yellow, conspicuously marked as a school bus, and equipped with warning devices as prescribed in § 46.2-1090 is prima facie evidence that the vehicle is a school bus.