In Florida, common highway driving practices can be mistaken for illegal racing. Charges for “racing on the highway” are always considered a first degree misdemeanor crime. A race occurs when drivers compete in a speeding or acceleration challenge. Drag racing also falls under general racing charges. Even if you are allegedly involved as a passenger or enabler of a race, or you allegedly placed money on it, you can face charges for this offense. You do not simply receive a traffic citation.
This offense, often known simply as “street racing,” is defined by Section 316.191 of the Florida Statutes. A “race” defined by the statute means the use of one or more motor vehicles in competition, arising from a challenge to demonstrate superiority of a motor vehicle or driver and the acceptance or competitive response to that challenge…in which the competitor attempts to–
A “drag race” is defined by the statute as the operation of “two or more vehicles, from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance each other, or the operation of one or more motor vehicles over a common selected course, from the same point to the same point, for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of such motor vehicle(s) within a certain distance or time limit.”
The statute cannot be applied in situations in which vehicles are not actually competing with each other. Speeding is common on Florida highways, and it may be difficult for a law enforcement officer to be sure that vehicles are engaged in a race. To prove racing the prosecution must show that the people involved had agreed to a competition.
A first degree misdemeanor incurs penalties of up to one year in jail, as well as fines of up to $1,000 for a first offense. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles must revoke the driving privileges of any offender for a minimum of one year upon conviction. In addition, the police officer who arrested you can have your vehicle impounded for a 30-day period.
There are several defenses for racing on the highway. A tough criminal defense attorney is your best chance at making a strong case. Attorney Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel has practiced criminal litigation for over 25 years throughout Palm Beach County and is determined to stand up for your rights. Call 561-622-5575 for a free consultation.
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Attorney Brian Gabriel of Gabriel & Gabriel focuses in criminal defense. We handle all criminal defense matters including DUI, narcotics offenses, violent offenses, sexual offenses, domestic violence offenses, juvenile offenses, serious traffic offenses, as well as appeals, drivers license suspension and violation of parole/probation issues.
Serving all counties in the State of Florida including Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Broward Counties.
Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, LLC
4601 Military Trail, Suite 206
Jupiter, FL 33458
Phone: (561) 622-5575
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