PA - Passing School Bus

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Latest post Fri, Oct 14 2016 11:02 AM by Ford. 12 replies.
  • Sun, Oct 9 2016 1:25 PM

    • splum1
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    PA - Passing School Bus

    I am the registered owner of a vehicle in PA. I am older female.

    In PA a school bus driver is allowed to notify police a car passed the school bus.  If the police feel it is warranted, they will write the citation and send it to the registered owner of the vehicle.  Police contacted me this week and stated they received notification from a school bus driver that my registered vehicle passed a stopped school bus 3 weeks ago. This is a very serious offense in PA and wil result in 60 day license suspension, fine, and 5 points. The school bus driver wrote on the form it was a male driving.

    I have two sons, both licensed drivers.  Occasionally others drive the car as well.

    If the police send a citation to the registered owner which is me and not a male, I feel I could easily fight this since the school bus driver said it was a male. However, the policeman showed up at our house when I was not home and wanted to speak to both of my children and ask who did it so he could send them the citation.  The one son who was home stated to the officer it was not him. The officer has not spoken to the other son. (both sons are teens but legal adults).

    Without an admission of guilt from either one of them, how can he reasonably send a citation to one or the other without actually having any more evidence then the car's license plate number and it was a male.  Because of the repercussions of the fine, etc... I am quite upset about this and will fight it.  But I am trying to understand who would be cited?  and how do they prove who was driving since all they have is a license plate number and the sex of the driver?   The school bus driver only has to note the license plate number.  He did not have any further information regarding who was driving, and no driver information was provided that day. (nobody was stopped, it is the school bus drivers word)..   We all drive the vehicle as well as my sons girlfriend and occasionally their friends.  I will absolutely hire an attorney should a citation come buf who would they cite ?   This is a serious offense as I said so I am trying to understand best way to fight it (yes, will hire an attorney) and is the officer showing up here and speaking to them ok? He did not advise of any rights (don't know if that is required).

     

  • Sun, Oct 9 2016 4:17 PM In reply to

    • DOCAR
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    Re: PA - Passing School Bus

     He did not advise of any rights (don't know if that is required). 

    From what you posted, not required and since they did not incriminate themselves, nothing to exclude which is the remedy for violation of miranda rights.

    As for the procedure for the ticket, you would have to speak with a local attorney as this appears to be a local practice and procedure, which would not be done in any state I have practiced in.

    Good luck.

  • Sun, Oct 9 2016 5:04 PM In reply to

    Re: PA - Passing School Bus

    splum1:
    I am quite upset about this and will fight it. 

    I would be quite upset that one of my teen driver sons passed a stopped school bus.  If it were me I would fight personally being held responsible but at the same time which ever kid did it needs to step up and take responsibility for their incredibly bad decision.  I would NOT be fighting the state going after the kid that did it and if it were my son personally serve him up on a platter to the state for doing this.

    splum1:
    This is a serious offense as I said

    With very good reason.  17,000 children every year are injured if not killed when getting on or off the school bus. Your sons should know better and quite frankly are extremely lucky that they did not hit and kill another child doing something so incredibly stupid.

    splum1:
    This is a very serious offense in PA and wil result in 60 day license suspension, fine, and 5 points.

    For which an irresponsible teen driver should be held responsible.  Missing 60 days driving for a teen, fine, and points is an excellent way to cement in their thick skull that they should obey the laws before someone else gets hurt.

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • Sun, Oct 9 2016 7:49 PM In reply to

    Re: PA - Passing School Bus

    splum1:
    how can he reasonably send a citation to one or the other without actually having any more evidence then the car's license plate number and it was a male. 

    That's all the evidence he needs to write the citation "upon information and belief."

    He doesn't have to prove anything at the time he writes the citation.

    He did nothing wrong by investigating.

    The state will have to prove the offense beyond reasonable doubt if the defendant pleads not guilty.

    I agree with CM that the son who did it should be raked over the coals. Nevertheless, he has a right to face his accuser in court and require the state to prove its case.

    If you or your sons are contacted by the police again, neither they or you should be saying anything to anybody about this except a lawyer.

    You shouldn't even be asking who did it because you can be compelled to testify against your son if he gets cited.





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  • Mon, Oct 10 2016 3:10 PM In reply to

    • splum1
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    Re: PA - Passing School Bus

    Thanks. I spoke with a local attorney who disagreed with you.

    Said they can't just cite someone who has driven the car in the past without proof they are the person they should be citing. He said the officer likely has no way of knowing who it was and was just hoping one of them would admit to it.   If the bus driver had said it was a female and me as the registered owner am female, it would have come to me. (the citation).

    There are two sons and two other males that have driven that car, and without an admission of guilt from one of them, stated they would have to have more to go on than "it was a male who was driving."  You are saying you think it is legal to cite someone based on the gender alone without an officer witnessing the account nd no personal identification obtained that day and zero proof is required to do that?  Again, nobody was stopped that day. There was no exchange of information and no personal identification provided.  Can you tell me where I can find that in the state statutes so I can read more about that.

    Regarding the emotion of it, I appreciate what you are both saying however I was looking for legal thoughts.

     

  • Mon, Oct 10 2016 3:34 PM In reply to

    • DOCAR
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    Re: PA - Passing School Bus

    While the law may be different in your state, where I have lived and practiced and they have used the hated red light cameras, they always issue the citation to the registered owner, even if they can't make out who was driving.  It is up to the person cited to defend on the grounds they weren't driving. a citation is merely an accusation, not proof of guilt, which would be needed at trial.   Again, the law may be different in your state. Did you ask the attorney to cite state law for his position?

  • Mon, Oct 10 2016 5:39 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: PA - Passing School Bus

    See pa motor vehicle code. 33 D 3345 ......note report must be made inside 48 hours ....and each element must be made ...you are not male ....can you prove being elsewhere at the time in question ....not your duty to force some male to admit to being there .....but smarter to use counsel....



  • Mon, Oct 10 2016 5:41 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: PA - Passing School Bus

    PS around me the schools don't always give drivers paid time off to testify....so sometimes the only witness is no show ...



  • Tue, Oct 11 2016 11:11 AM In reply to

    Re: PA - Passing School Bus

    splum1:
    Without an admission of guilt from either one of them, how can he reasonably send a citation to one or the other without actually having any more evidence then the car's license plate number and it was a male.

    This is an oddly worded question.  How he can send it is by mail or any number of ways, and the lack of an admission of guilt isn't relevant to that.  I suspect your intended question was whether the lack of an admission somehow sets up a legal bar to the sending of a citation, and the answer to that question is no.  The cop apparently knew the driver was a male, and one son denied liability.  If the officer believed him, then it would be appropriate to infer that the driver was your other son.  That's probably not enough to get a conviction, but it's certainly enough for a citation.

     

    splum1:
    I am quite upset about this and will fight it.  But I am trying to understand who would be cited?

    If the bus driver noted that the driver was a male, then you should have little difficulty fighting successfully (although distinguishing gender under the circumstances is a dicey proposition, and the bus driver easily could testify that you were driving upon seeing you in court).  I don't really understand this second sentence about "who would be cited."  You wrote that you were cited.  Whether anyone else will be cited remains to be seen.

     

    splum1:
    is the officer showing up here and speaking to them ok?

    Of course.  Cops are free to ask to speak to anyone they want.

     

    splum1:
    He did not advise of any rights (don't know if that is required).

    It wasn't.

  • Tue, Oct 11 2016 11:13 AM In reply to

    Re: PA - Passing School Bus

    splum1:
    There are two sons and two other males that have driven that car

    By the way, I hope all of this is teaching you that having so many others driving your car is not a very good idea.

  • Tue, Oct 11 2016 5:53 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: PA - Passing School Bus

    yes or no....the bus driver met the 48 hour requirement in the statutue .....OP, your post is unclear but it suggests bus driver w as a few weeks in filing with  local police 



  • Wed, Oct 12 2016 9:22 AM In reply to

    • splum1
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    Re: PA - Passing School Bus

    Thanks Drew.

    I questioned the officer when he had received it because he did not contact me until October 4th.  He stated the incident happened Septebmer 15th and the delay in him contacting me was because he was out for training since then.  He never confirmed when he received it.   I was aware the driver had 48 hours to refer it to the police.  That will definitely be something I look further into if this goes any further.  I did advise the officer if the citation is sent  I would retain counsel and he seemed surprised. Not sure why. Appreciate your help.

     

  • Fri, Oct 14 2016 11:02 AM In reply to

    • Ford
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    Re: PA - Passing School Bus

    The attorney you spoke with is correct in the LEGAL sense that the cop cannot just cite anybody for a crime.  He needs "probable cause" to issue a criminal citation.

    In reality, however, you can't hit probable cause with a hammer.  It isn't something you can touch.  Different people will have different perceptions of it.

    Moreover, in many/most states there quite possibly is no method to challenge the probable cause on a traffic ticket.  You fight it at trial.

    Time limits likely don't matter much.  In my state there is no statute of limitations on a traffic citation.  You could argue due process and prejudice to a defendant's ability to defend himself, but that would likely require the passage of a lengthy amount of time, and witnesses dying and such.

    Nobody has been cited yet.  You have no obligation to speak with the police and your silence should not be held against you at court.  If he issues a cite for the non-denying son, lawyer-up as you have said you would, but don't argue it with the cop because: 1) he isn't going to listen and yank the cite; 2) you might say something that would damage your son's case.

    I suspect the 48 hour thing is not a prohibition on the state still seeking to prosecute someone.  Meeting the requirement may REQUIRE the cop to issue a cite, but that's different than providing a safe haven for drivers who might have violated the law.  I looked at 75 PA CS 3345 and no where in there does it lay out a prohibition.  Additionally, (a.1)(3) indicates the Rules of Criminal Procedure can be followed in the alternative.  Clearly, if there is an alternative way to prosecute the event, the 48 hour thing is mostly worthless.

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