Matney Law PLLC - Newport News Virginia - Traffic Court & DUI Attorney

Local Counsel for Federal Civil Cases

Local Counsel for Federal Civil Cases

Mr. Matney has served as local counsel for Federal Civil Cases is an allied attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, a network of Christian lawyers.  In this role he has helped out of state law firms with their representation of Virginia clients in cases involving election law, religious freedom, and free speech.

 

Civil Cases

  1. Herb Lux v. Virginia State Board of Elections, USDC – Richmond, 3:10-cv-482, 2010 to 2012

Local counsel for The Bopp Law Firm. Challenged Virginia election law on behalf of Tea Party candidate for congress. The Virginia Code was amended as a result of this case.

2. Christian Rights Ministries v. City of Chesapeake, USDC – Norfolk, 2:08-cv-154

Local counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom. A ministry was asked to remove their cross from their booth at the end of a parade. The City defended by claiming that there was a safety issue. The case settled.

3.  U.S. v. William Danielczyk, USDC – Alexandria, 1:11-cr-85 (JCC)

Local counsel for The Bopp Law Firm. Assisted with filing amicus curiae brief on behalf of The James Madison Center for Free Speech re: campaign contributions by corporations as free speech.

Passing a Stopped School Bus - Defense Attorney - Matney Law PLLC

Passing a Stopped School Bus

Passing A Stopped School Bus

Matney Law PLLC of Newport News Virginia has put together the following information for your information.  The Virginia Code penalizes passing a stopped school bus with two separate provisions.  Code section 46.2-844, Passing Stopped School Buses, punishes the offense as a civil penalty.  However, code section 46.2-859, Passing A Stopped School Bus, criminalizes the offense as a class 1 misdemeanor under the reckless driving category.

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Passing a Stopped School Bus - Defense Attorney - Matney Law PLLCThe Law

Section 46.2-844, the civil version, is considered a lesser included offense of the reckless driving code section, so the same driver cannot be convicted of both charges from the same violation.  This is significant because convictions of the two charges result in such different outcomes.  The less serious 46.2-844 provides only “a civil penalty of $250” and does not carry any DMV demerit points.  On the other hand, a conviction under the reckless driving section, 46.2-859, would result in a criminal conviction that would appear permanently on the driver’s criminal history and eleven years on the driver’s DMV transcript, while also subjecting the driver to six DMV demerit points and the possibility that a judge could impose a fine, license suspension, and/or jail.

The language of the two code sections is very similar with most of the charge descriptions being identical, as indicated by the underlined portions:

“The driver of a motor vehicle approaching from any direction a clearly marked 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, who … fails to stop and remain stopped until all such persons are clear of the highway, private road or school driveway …”  46.2-844, emphasis added to identify identical language.

“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 …”  46.2-859, emphasis added to identify identical language.

The two code sections also include identical language rendering it “prima facie evidence that the vehicle is a school bus” upon “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 …”

In practice, the difference between the two charges is the perceived risk that the driver imposed on those who were entering or leaving the bus.  Judges consider such factors as whether anyone was actively boarding or exiting the bus and whether the driver stopped and proceeded, slowed, or did not react at all in response to the stopped school bus.

Drivers run the risk of being charged under these code sections even if they are not stopped immediately at the location of the offense.  If the police are not available or able to stop and identify the transgressing driver at the time of the violation, then a summons may still be issued.  The Virginia Code provides that if a summons is “issued within ten days of the alleged violation,” then it will be presumed that the registered owner of the vehicle was the driver when the offense occurred.  The owner is entitled to present evidence that he or she was not driving the vehicle at the time in order to rebut or contradict this presumption.

The initial determination when charged with passing a school stopped school bus is whether code section for reckless driving or section for a civil infraction applies.  If charged with a criminal misdemeanor under the reckless driving code provision, then it is vital to prepare appropriately to seek an amendment to the lesser offense.

Passing A Stopped School Bus

Passing A Stopped School Bus

Posted by Mark Matney of Matney Law PLLC Newport News VA
www.matneylawpllc.com
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Traffic Violations

The Lawyers at Matney Law PLLC in Newport News Virginia defend people against traffic violations.  The Matney Law firm defends people in traffic court against reckless driving, speeding, expired registration, expired license, running a red light or stop sign, failure to wear a seat belt, DUI, DWI, driving without a license or with a suspended license, leaving the scene of an accident, hit-and-run accidents, passing a stopped school bus.  Our attorneys serve Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, Yorktown, Gloucester, Surry County, Toano.

So You Got A Ticket

Traffic tickets are serious business.

While many view traffic violations as minor infractions and nuisances, traffic tickets and moving violations have the power to wreak havoc on your life. Fees quickly mount, and points from tickets can cause your insurance premiums to skyrocket or result in a revoked or suspended license. Matney Law PLLC does not underestimate the seriousness of traffic violations and doggedly works on your behalf to get the charges you face reduced or dismissed.They can result in fines, court costs and points being placed against your driving record. Accumulating enough points within a two-year period subjects a person to additional sanctions by the Motor Vehicle Administration, including driving school, an official warning letter, a point system conference, suspension or even revocation or driving privileges. And imagine how high your car insurance will be.

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Handling a wide array of traffic violation cases

I regularly represent clients charged with traffic violations, including:

Reckless driving
Speeding
Expired registration
Expired license
Running a red light or stop sign
Failure to signal when changing lanes
Failure to wear a seatbelt
Driving under the influence (DUI)
Driving without a license or with a suspended license
Leaving the scene of an accident
Violating license restrictions
Hit-and-run accidents
Passing a Stopped School Bus
Failure to Yield
Unsafe Lane Change
Following too Closely
Whether you have been charged with a moving or nonmoving violation, I possess the knowledge needed to protect your best interests in traffic court.