Street Racing Crimes Affect More Than Just the Driver
In the state of Florida, street racing is a common problem among young motorists. While it is illegal for drivers to engage in the activity, many ignore the law and race anyway. As a result, those who get caught are taken into police custody, placed under arrest, and often incarcerated. Passengers and others who help organize street races can also be arrested and charged with the crime
If you currently face criminal charges for racing in Orlando, you should consider working with a reputable criminal defense lawyer.
Consequences for Street Racing
Section 316.191 of the Florida Statutes defines racing. In general, street racing is a second-degree misdemeanor in Florida that can land a person in jail for 60 days for the first offense.
You can be arrested for street racing if you:
- Drive a vehicle for racing, engaging in an acceleration contest or a speed exhibition
- Assist in coordinating a street race, including people who collect money for the activity
- Knowingly ride in a vehicle used for street racing as a passenger
- Deliberately stop or slow down traffic for a race
If any of the offenders have a prior offense relating to street racing crimes within the past five years, they face a misdemeanor that may result in one year of incarceration in the county jail. The fine is also higher at a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $5,000. You may also face a two-year revocation of your license.
Committing a third offense within five years of a prior charge, you face the same one-year jail term, with your license suspended for four years. Even spectators at a street race can receive fines of up to $500 and have points levied against their own driver’s licenses–even if they didn’t drive.
After an arrest, any vehicles used in racing can be impounded and immobilized. Subsequent arrests can bring include forfeiture of a vehicle under Florida’s Contraband Forfeiture Act.
People who engage in any of these activities don’t just face jail time. Race participants may also face fines from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $1,000. Racers also face a one-year revocation of their driver’s license.
There are other charges that you can face for street racing as well as a spectator. If the state takes legal action against you for participating in an illegal event, you will need a lawyer to represent you in court
For racing in a reckless manner without regard for the safety of others, you can also be charged with:
- Vehicular homicide – A person who causes the death of another due to their reckless driving can face Class 2 felony charges that can result in up to 15 years in state prison. If the driver flees the scene of an accident, it is a Class 1 felony with a maximum of 30 years in prison. Both crimes result in the loss of the driver’s license for three years.
- Reckless driving with serious bodily injury – A person who recklessly drives a vehicle without regard for other people’s safety and seriously injures someone faces third-degree felony charges. If a victim suffers disfigurement, impairment, or death, the motorist will face prosecution. This crime can result in up to five years in state prison.
Defense Against Street Racing Charges
Common defenses to street racing are a lack of evidence, an inability to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt, and knowingly speeding but not racing. Whether you were driving or simply watching, if you are charged with illegal racing, you need an experienced lawyer to prepare your case and defend you in court. Lawyers with The Umansky Law Firm have over 100 years of combined experience in all types of criminal cases, including defending against vehicular charges. Call us or contact us online to arrange your free consultation.