Illegal Street Racing in Florida
Definition of “Street racing”
The offense of street racing or racing on the highways is defined in Section 316.191, Florida Statutes. Commonly speaking, “racing” consists of four categories of behavior.
- Racing, Competitions, and Exhibitions- driving any vehicle (as well as motorcycles) in any race, speed competition, speed contest, drag race, acceleration contest, speed exhibition, acceleration exhibition, or speed record.
- Coordination and Facilitation- joining in, organizing, enabling, or collection of moneys at any place for any race, competition, contest, test, or exhibition.
- Passenger Participation- consciously riding as a passenger in a race, competition, contest, test, or exhibition; and
- Traffic Interference- Intentionally causing the movement of traffic to slow or stop for any race, competition, contest, test, or exhibition.
Legal meaning of the term “race”
The Florida Standard Jury Instructions and Section 316.191 explain the term ‘Race’ to suggest a competition concerning the use of one or more vehicles to:
- Outgain or outdistance another motor vehicle.
- Prevent another motor vehicle from passing.
- Reach a certain destination before another vehicle.
- Test the physical stamina or endurance of drivers over extended distance driving routes.
What consequences you could face for street racing
Racing on Highways is a first-degree misdemeanor, with punishments of up to 1 year in jail. As well as potential incarceration, a plea to the charge of Street Racing will have the following consequences:
- Fines– For a first offense, there is a minimum $500 fine and maximum fine of $1,000. For a second offense, the minimum fine rises to $1,000, with a maximum fine of $3,000.
- Driver’s License Revocation– Under Section 316.191(3)(a), Florida Statutes, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles must withdraw an offender’s driving privileges for a minimum period of one year if convicted. For following offenses, the cancellation period can increase to four years (for a third offense).
- Possible Vehicle Impoundment/Immobilization– When a law enforcement officer establishes that a person was participating in a drag race or race, as described in Section 316.191, the officer can immediately arrest and take the alleged person into custody. The officer can then get the vehicle impounded for a period of 30 business days if the person being arrested is the registered owner or co-owner of the motor vehicle. Section 316.191(5) also permits the trial court to submit an order of impoundment or immobilization as a term of incarceration or probation.
- Possible Vehicle Forfeiture– any motor vehicle used in defiance of the statute by any person inside five years after the date of a previous conviction for a violation of the same statute, may be seized and forfeited as provided by the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act. See Section 316.191(6), referring to 932.701, Florida Statutes. However, this provision can only be applied if the owner of the motor vehicle is the person charged with a violation of the statute.
- Creation of a Criminal Record– A conviction for Racing on Highways or street racing will create a criminal record, harming possible employment opportunities, adding points against your driver’s license, and considerably raising your insurance premiums.
How we can defend you
There are many legal and factual defenses we can use to fight a racing charge in Florida. Common examples include the following:
- Police officer did not witness or fully witness the incident.
- Insufficient proof of competition.
- Witness testimony contradicts the officer’s allegations.
- Common traffic infractions confused for ‘racing;’
- Thoughtless driving or other non-criminal traffic maneuvers (i.e., passing, accelerating, changing lanes).
- Officer’s current allegations are contradicted by his or her own citation/arrest report.
- Tangible speed of the vehicle(s) does not equate to an allegation of ‘racing.’
- Lack of proof as to the defendant’s intent.
- The other driver in the incident intended to race, but not the defendant.
- Absence of proof that more than 1 vehicle was participating in the alleged ‘competition:’
- Alleged act not covered by the statutory definition of ‘race.’
If you have been arrested or cited for racing on highways in the state of Florida, give us a call for a free consultation. We take cases all across the state and it would be our pleasure to protect your rights and help minimize any consequences you could face. We also offer payment plans.
Smith & Eulo Law Firm have over 20 years of combined experience serving the state of Florida. We have offices in Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Sanford, Ocala, Daytona Beach, Melbourne, Lakeland, Kissimmee, Fort Myers, Sarasota, and Miami
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