(A) Except as provided in division (B) of this section, no person who is the owner of a bus that previously was registered as a school bus that is used or is to be used exclusively for purposes other than the transportation of children, shall operate the bus or permit it to be operated within this state unless the bus has been painted a color different from that prescribed for school buses by section 4511.77 of the Revised Code and painted in such a way that the words "stop" and "school bus" are obliterated.
(B) Any church bus that previously was registered as a school bus and is registered under section 4503.07 of the Revised Code may retain the paint color prescribed for school buses by section 4511.77 of the Revised Code if the bus complies with all of the following:
(1) The words "school bus" required by section 4511.77 of the Revised Code are covered or obliterated and the bus is marked on the front and rear with the words "church bus" painted in black lettering not less than ten inches in height;
(2) The automatically extended stop warning sign required by section 4511.75 of the Revised Code is removed and the word "stop" required by section 4511.77 of the Revised Code is covered or obliterated;
(C) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one or more violations of this section or section 4511.63, 4511.76, 4511.761, 4511.764, 4511.77, or 4511.79 of the Revised Code or a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any of those sections, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
(D) Whenever a person is found guilty in a court of record of a violation of this section, the trial judge, in addition to or independent of all other penalties provided by law, may suspend for any period of time not exceeding three years, or cancel the license of any person, partnership, association, or corporation, issued under section 4511.763 of the Revised Code.
Effective Date: 01-01-2004 .