Unlawful Passing of an Emergency Vehicle in North Carolina

by | Oct 23, 2017 | Blog Posts, NC Criminal Defense

Charge with unlawful passing of an emergency vehicle in North Carolina? Just curious about what this charge entails? Check out the following blog to learn more.traffic lawyers in NC

There are a wide variety of a moving violations in North Carolina. All moving violations will result in points on your driver’s license and usually some associated fines. Additionally, some moving violations can also be misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the facts and circumstances that surround them. One such moving violation is the unlawful passing of an emergency vehicle. If you are charged with this or any other moving violation you should contact a traffic lawyer right away. Additionally, consultation with a criminal defense attorney may also become necessary.

Unlawful passing of an emergency vehicle defined

North Carolina General Statute 20-157 states that when an emergency vehicle, including but not limited to an ambulance, fire engine, rescue squad emergency vehicle, or a law enforcement is on the way to handle an emergency, the drivers in the near vicinity heading in the same direction, or obstructing that vehicle must stop and give the right of way to that emergency vehicle when:

  • When the driver of the emergency vehicle is traveling in response to an emergency; and
  • Has given a warning signal by appropriate light and by audible bell, siren or exhaust whistle, audible under normal conditions from a distance not less than 1000 feet

In general, drivers are required to stop until the emergency vehicle is no longer obstructed by that driver, or until they have been directed by a law enforcement officer that it is okay to resume normal driving.

Punishments for unlawful passing of an emergency vehicle

  • In general, this charge is an infraction. It can, however, become a Class 2 Misdemeanor, Class 2 Misdemeanor, or Class I felony, in certain situations. For example, it can become a Class 1 misdemeanor if the driver causes property damage in excess of $500 in the course of not adhering to this law. Further, this can become a felony if the driver causes serious bodily injury to an officer or emergency responded in the course of not following this law.
  • A plea of guilty or responsible by a defendant subjects them to the North Carolina Misdemeanor sentencing guidelines, or the North Carolina Felony sentencing guidelines.

Not all moving violations are created equal. Some have the potential to have some serious criminal consequences. If you have been cited for unlawful passing of an emergency vehicle, you should contact a criminal or traffic attorney right away.

DISCLAIMER – This forum is intended for general questions and comments about the particular law or topic. Comments are public and are not protected by confidentiality or attorney-client privilege; therefore, they can be used against you in court. Please refrain from revealing your identify or specifics about any actual criminal case. No attorney-client relationship is created in this forum.

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