Racing illegally may look cool and exhilarating in the moves, but the act comes with severe consequences. The State of Florida aggressively prosecutes people who have been charged with racing since the act is incredibly risky and can lead to severe property damage or injury. A racing conviction means you could be required to pay expensive fines and even spend time in jail or prison. Not only that, but it could result in your license being suspended for a period.
If you or someone you know has been accused or racing or drag racing, then we highly encourage you to hire an experienced attorney for representation. A skilled criminal defense attorney can build a sturdy defense for your case as well as poke holes in the prosecution’s. The only way to receive reduced or dismissed charges is to explore all your legal options with an experienced attorney. Do the right thing for your future and contact a knowledgeable defense attorney as soon as possible.
West Palm Beach Attorney for Drag Racing in FL
Florida has implemented harsh penalties if you’re found guilty of racing on public roads. Thankfully, if you hire representation with the right experience you will have a fighting chance against these charges. Avoid the stiff fines and possible incarceration and get in contact with an experienced criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A..
Meltzer & Bell, P.A. has represented numerous people accused of racing in Florida. We have a strong background and focus in traffic crimes that we can utilize for your case. To set up your first appointment, call (561) 557-8686. We practice throughout the greater Palm Beach County area including Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Jupiter.
Overview of Racing Charges in FL
- What Constitutes as Racing in Florida?
- What Are the Penalties for Racing in Florida?
- How Long Will My Car Be Impounded for Racing?
- Additional Resources
What Constitutes as Racing in Florida?
It’s common for people to confuse a racing charge with reckless or careless driving since both involve being negligent to the point it’s criminal. Although the two are similar, a racing charge is much more serious and must incorporate some sort of competition between two or more vehicles. It can range from speed, endurance or an exhibition of acceleration but for it to be considered a racing charge it must involve some type of competition.
Racing is defined under the Florida Statutes Section 316.191 as the following:
- Driving a motor vehicle in any race, speed competition, contest, drag race, test of physical endurance, exhibition of speed or acceleration or for the purpose of breaking a speed record on a highway or roadway. This also includes motorcycles;
- Coordinate, facilitate, participate or collect funds at any location for a contest, race, test competition or exhibition; or
- Rise as a passenger in any test competition, contest, race or exhibition; or
- Purposefully slow or stop the movement of traffic for any race, competition, test, contest or exhibition
Florida does use different terminology regarding racing charges. The term “drag racing” refers to the operation of two or more motor vehicles from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance one another. The race must occur at the same point to the same point for the purpose of comparing the two vehicle’s speed or acceleration within a certain distance or time limit.
“Race,” on the other hand, is defined as the use of one or more motor vehicles in competition arising from a challenge, either through a prior agreement or in the moment, in which the competitor attempts to outdistance the other vehicle, prevent the vehicle from passing, test the physical stamina of the drivers, the endurance of the drivers, or to arrive at a given destination that was agreed upon first. The Florida courts recognize both prearranged races and those that occur spontaneously.
Spectators under Florida law are determined by if they were present to the race by their own choice and knew while viewing the race that it was illegal. The court considers a person to be a spectator after examining their relationship between the racer and the individual such as any evidence of gambling or betting on the outcome of the race.
What are the Penalties for Racing in Florida?
The penalties for a racing depend on if you have any prior racing convictions on your record. Racing is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, which is punishable by:
- Up to one year in jail;
- A fine not less than $500, but no more than $,100; and
- Revoked driver’s license for up to one year
A second racing conviction within five years will mean your charges will still be a first-degree misdemeanor. However, you will be required to pay a fine no less than $1,000, but no more than $3,000. In addition, your license will be revoked for at least two years.
If it’s your third or subsequent conviction within five years, your fine will be enhanced even more. Instead your fine will be no less than $2,000, but no more than $5,000. Plus, your license will be revoked for a total of four years.
Racing spectators will face a noncriminal traffic infraction also known as a moving violation. If you admit guilt, then points will be added to your license. This may not seem dire, but if you have enough points on your record you could face a one-year license suspension.
How Long is Your Car Impounded After an Arrest for Racing?
Law enforcement can legally take you into custody without a warrant if they have reasonable suspicion you’ve been involved in racing. They can also enter an order of impoundment or immobilization as a condition of your incarceration or probation as well.
The cost and fees of your impoundment or immobilization unfortunately must be paid in full by you. These can include the expense of notifying you that the vehicle was restricted under court order. Law enforcement maintain the right to impound your vehicle for a period of 30 days after being taken into custody for racing. If this is your second or subsequent racing conviction, then your vehicle may be seized and forfeited as provided by the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.
Racing Laws in Florida – Visit the official website for the Florida Statutes to learn more about racing, drag racing and other competitive speeding violations. Access the site to learn the penalties, elements of the crime and possible exceptions to racing charges.
Driver Improvement Schools – Visit the official website for the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department (FLHSMV) and learn more about the driver’s improvement school. If you’re convicted of racing, it’s likely the judge will require you to attend driver’s schools. Learn more about how to sign up, what’s expected and how long it takes to finish a course.
Drag Racing Lawyer in Palm Beach County, FL
If you or someone you know has been arrested for racing or drag racing, then we highly encourage you to get in contact with an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can examine your case, structure a strong defense, depose witnesses, file motions and do whatever necessary to save you from your criminal charges. We suggest you call the skilled and knowledgeable attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. for counsel you can trust.
Our attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. have been representing people accused of traffic crimes for years and we can do the same for you. Call us now at (561) 557-8686 and we will set up your first consultation free of charge. We practice throughout the greater Palm Beach County area including Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Jupiter and West Palm Beach in Florida.