What Is Street Racing?
With the popularity of street racing movie franchises like Fast & Furious, it may be tempting to engage in one of these races in real life. However, street racing is actually illegal in California, and participating in one can lead to criminal charges against you. Under California Vehicle Code Section 23109, street racing is defined as a “motor vehicle speed contest on a highway.” In order to prosecute you under this section, the prosecutor must prove that:
- You drove a motor vehicle on a highway
- You willfully engaged in a speed contest against another vehicle, a clock, or other timing device
Street racing is considered dangerous and therefore banned for many reasons. To begin, drivers in these races often exceed the speed limit by 30 mph or more. The higher the speed of the vehicle, the more difficult it becomes to avoid another car or obstruction, increasing the chances of a traffic accident. In addition, as races heat up, drivers may become more and more aggressive, clouding their judgment. Speed racers may ignore red lights or other traffic signals in order to get a lead, producing fatal consequences. For these reasons, street racing is illegal. The penalties for street racing in California are detailed below.
Penalties for Street Racing
Generally, engaging in a speed contest is a misdemeanor charge. This is punishable by:
- $355 to $1,000 in fines
- Up to 90 days in county jail
- 40 hours of community service
- Suspension or restriction of privilege to operate a motor vehicle for 90 days to 6 months
However, depending on the circumstances of your case and your criminal history, you may face additional penalties. If your speed contest causes bodily injury to another person, the sentence enhancements for a misdemeanor include $500 to $1,000 in fines and 30 days to 6 months in county jail. For a felony conviction, the sentence enhancements are even harsher, including up to $10,000 in fines and 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in county jail. Similarly, if it is not your first conviction for speed racing, then you may face up to $1,000 in fines and up to 6 months in jail.
Avoiding Street Racing Charges
To avoid criminal prosecution for street racing, your best bet is to steer clear of street racing altogether. If the driver in the car next to you tries to provoke you by revving his engines, avoid engaging and drive the way that you want to drive. It may also be helpful to consider the consequences of participating in such a race. Not only could you face serious legal repercussions including fines, jail time, and the loss of your driving privileges, street racing is also highly dangerous and could lead to physical harm for both you and others. The most common injuries from street racing include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury, and broken bones. In severe cases, reckless street racing has led to the deaths of the driver and surrounding pedestrians. If you have already been arrested for street racing, it is crucial that you contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. Wallin & Klarich is here for you when you need us.
Contact Wallin & Klarich Today
With 40+ years of experience, Wallin & Klarich is your best choice amongst Southern California criminal defense firms. Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients, and we have the skills and resources to secure a successful outcome for you. We will examine the specific circumstances of your case to determine whether you qualify for any defenses, so that we can get your penalties reduced or even get your case dismissed altogether. If you want to avoid jail time and losing your driving privileges, contact us today to see how we can help.
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