Eric J. Dirga, P.A., Criminal Traffic Defense, Telephone 407-841-5555

What Is Racing On The Highway

What You Need to Know About Your Defenses

Orlando Criminal Traffic Attorney

Last Updated: September 1, 2014

Street racing was a civil traffic ticket up until 2002. The new law not only criminalized street racing, it also put in place minimum mandatory penalties. One of those penalties is a one year driver's license suspension. Fortunately, there are defenses to many of the situations that can cause you to be arrested for racing.

What You Need To Understand About A Racing Ticket

  1. This is a serious charge.
  2. If you plea to it:
    • You may get a stiff penalty.
    • You may get a light penalty.
    • YOU WILL LOSE YOUR DRIVING PRIVILEGE FOR A YEAR.
  3. There are defenses to most situations where the police charge people for racing.

Racing on the Highway (in Florida)

In Florida the Racing On Highway law does not just refer to highways. As written it means the driving of any motor vehicle, including any motorcycle, in:

  • any race (defined);
  • speed competition or contest (undefined);
  • drag race or acceleration contest (defined);
  • test of physical endurance (undefined);
  • exhibition of speed or acceleration or for the purpose of making a speed record (undefined);

... on any highway, roadway, or parking lot within the state of Florida is a violation of the Racing statute. In addition you cannot in any manner:

  • participate in;
  • coordinate;
  • facilitate;
  • or collect moneys;

... at any location for any such race, competition, contest, test, or exhibition. Nor can you knowingly:

  • ride as a passenger;
  • purposefully cause the movement of traffic to slow or stop;

... for any such race, competition, contest, test, or exhibition.

Write Down What Happened

It is very important to remember what occurred before, during, and after you were stopped, particularly what was said. Take the time to try and write down what you remember was said - what was asked, your reply, any conversation with the police. Write this down as soon after the stop as possible.

That is the description of the prohibitive act of the racing statute.

Penalties If Found Guilty For Racing On Highway

Racing on the Highway carries with it the following penalties only if you enter a plea of guilty or no-contest or have been found guilty after a trial:

  • It is always a first degree misdemeanor.
    • Up to 1-year in jail.
    • Up to 1-year probation.
    • Up to $1,000.00 fine (unles specified by statute).
  • First offense requires a $500 to $1,000 fine.
  • The Department [DMV] is required to suspend your license for 1-year on the first conviction.
  • Multiple convictions for Racing carry progressively harsher penalties.

A first degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail. The fine amount varies based on the number of racing convictions a person has. The fine and the time of suspension get progressively worse with the number of prior racing convictions a person has. For more information on the statute itself you can read the statute on my Florida Racing Laws page.

You Were Not Racing If...

Let's look at some common reasons people are charged with racing when they weren't racing. You are not racing if you were only doing the following things:

  • Speeding.
  • Accelerating fast from a stop.
  • Accelerating fast from a prior speed.
  • Passing another vehicle.
  • Screeching your tires.
  • Weaving in and out of traffic.

Do any of these examples seem like you. If you are still confused as to why you were charged with racing go to the driver's dilemma page to see how the statute's poorly written language ensnares innocent people.

Should You Hire An Attorney

When facing criminal charges you should always consult with a criminal attorney. If you have been charged with racing you should definitely consider hiring an attorney for one salient fact - if found guilty you will lose your drivers license for a year. Regardless of any other penalties you receive, the license suspension will occur. Additionally, you are facing up to a year in jail. Street racing is a serious charge and the court and prosecutors take them very serious.

Moreover, there are defenses to racing on the highway charges. For that reason you should consult with an attorney. Find out what situation you are in. Seek out a consultation with several criminal lawyers before making a decision. You can contact me at any time. For more information about hiring an attorney please go to my How An Attorney Can Help You page.

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