Whether you are thinking about street racing or have already been cited for racing on the highway, there are some things you need to know about the law. Even passengers in cars or spectators may be cited for their participation in such an event and need the help of a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer.
Florida Law Prohibits Street and Highway Racing
Florida Statutes, Section 316.191 prohibits the driving of “any motor vehicle, including any motorcycle, in any race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance, or exhibition of speed or acceleration or for the purpose of making a speed record on any highway, roadway or parking lot.” Passengers who know the race will take place as well as knowing spectators may also receive a citation.
Penalties depend on whether or not it is the first offense and the driving record of the racer. Penalties are increased if the racing “impeded traffic,” or anyone was injured or killed. The racer’s car may be impounded and kept for up to 30 days.
If found guilty of a first offense of racing on the highway, fines of no less than $500 and no more than $1,000 will be imposed. The driver will also lose his or her driver’s license for one year. All costs related to the impounding of the vehicle must also be paid before the vehicle is returned. A second or third offense within five years of the first one will result in increased penalties.
If you were arrested and given a citation for racing on the highway, you can fight the charge. As with any offense, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were racing. Some possible defenses include:
- You were speeding, but not racing.
- Speed of the car was not consistent with a charge of racing.
- You accelerated rapidly as you pulled away from a red light or stop sign, just as the car next to you did, but you were not racing.
- You were passing another vehicle.
- Your tires were screeching as you pulled away from the stop sign or red light, but it was not because you were racing anyone.
If you have received a citation, or been arrested for street racing, contact a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of James Davis, P.A. He will carefully evaluate your case and help you prepare your defense.