Improperly Passing Police Officer Or Emergency Vehicle

Improperly passing police officer or an emergency vehicle is a criminal misdemeanor here in the State of Michigan. When an individual is driving on roadways within the state and there is an emergency vehicle (i.e. police officer, fire department, etc.) stopped or parked on the side of the they must take caution when they are approaching or passing said emergency vehicle. MCL 257.653a(1) states that “[u]pon approaching and passing a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is giving a visual signal by means of flashing, rotating, or oscillating red, blue, or white lights as permitted by MCL 257.698, the driver of an approaching vehicle shall exhibit due care and caution.” Otherwise this would be considered improperly passing police officer or emergency vehicle.

Due care and caution has been statutorily explained, therefore, when an individual is “[o]n any public roadway with at least 2 adjacent lanes proceeding in the same direction of the . . . emergency vehicle, the driver . . . shall proceed with caution and yield the right‐of‐way by moving into a lane at least 1 moving lane or 2 vehicle widths apart from the stationary authorized emergency vehicle, unless directed otherwise by a police officer.” MCL 257.653a. However, “[i]f movement to an adjacent lane or 2 vehicle widths apart is not possible due to weather, road conditions, or the immediate presence of vehicular or pedestrian traffic in parallel moving lanes, the driver of the approaching vehicle shall . . . reduce and maintain a safe speed for weather, road conditions, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic and proceed with due care and caution, or as directed by a police officer.” MCL 257.653a. Again, if found to be violating this statute it would be considered improperly passing police officer or an emergency vehicle.

LEGAL NOTE: There are multiple statutory driving requirements regarded as right-of-way, such as improperly passing police officer or an emergency vehicle. The possible punishments, fines, and sanctions for each crime can and will vary among the variety of traffic infractions.

When looking whether an individual is found to be guitly of improperly passing police officer or emergency vehicle, the elements must be shown in order for a conviction can occur:

(1) Defendant drove a vehicle;

(2) Defendant approached a signaling emergency response vehicle; and

(3) while on a two‐lane public roadway,

(a) defendant did not approach the emergency vehicle with caution and yield the right‐of‐way by moving into a lane at least one moving lane or two vehicle widths apart from the emergency vehicle; or

(b) without at least two adjacent lanes proceeding in the same direction as the emergency vehicle, or if the movement by the driver of the vehicle into an adjacent lane or two vehicle widths apart is not possible, the defendant failed to reduce and maintain a safe speed and proceed with due care and caution.

Under MCL 257.653a(2), if convicted, an individual faces the possibility of imprisonment for not more than 90-days and/or a fine of not more than $500.00. Furthermore, four points will be placed on an individual’s driving record, which also reportable to the secretary of state. MCL 257.320a(1)(k). It should be noted that if any individual causes death while violating MCL 257.653a the possible punishment increases to a 15-year felony and $7,500 fine.

It is important always follow the rules of the road, not only for your own safety and the safety of others, but to also protect your driving and criminal records. Contact Josh Jones today for your free consultation. He always has your back when you are facing criminal matters (all misdemeanors and felonies), all marijuana matters (medical and non-medical), traffic citations, expungements, and drivers license restorations.

About Josh Jones

Josh Jones is an experienced and professional Michigan Criminal Defense attorney presenting Metro Detroit, Genesee County, Livingston County, Lapeer County, and others throughout the State of Michigan. He is available 7-days a week and handles all felonies, misdemeanors, probation violations, traffic tickets, and drivers license restoration. Josh is only a phone call away and is here to help when you are involved with the criminal justice system.