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Racing may look exhilarating and cool in action movies, but in reality if you’re found vehicular racing then you will face serious criminal charges. Since racing automobiles on public freeways is incredibly risky and can lead to severe injuries the state aggressively prosecutes those accused of racing on highways. This means you could face expensive fines and even be required to spend time in jail or prison because of one careless decision. 

If you or someone you know has been accused of drag racing, then we highly suggest you hire an experienced attorney to represent you. With a skilled criminal defense attorney’s help, you can build a sturdy defense and poke holes in the prosecution’s case. Fighting your charges is the only way you can avoid or lessen the criminal penalties. Do what’s best for you and your future and get in contact with a knowledgeable defense attorney immediately. 

Drag Racing Defense Attorney in Palm Beach County, FL

Competitively racing in a public roadway is a serious criminal violation carrying heavy penalties. It’s important you have the tools to fight the charge if you were arrested for drag racing in the state of Florida. Don’t waste another second to build a sturdy and effective defense and get in touch with the skilled defense attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.

Meltzer & Bell, P.A. is a reputable group of traffic ticket attorneys with a strong focus in traffic crimes. They can utilize their knowledge and past practice for your case. You can set up your first appointment completely free by calling (561) 500-5000. We practice throughout the south Florida area including Broward County, Palm Beach County, Martin County and St. Lucie County. 

Overview of Drag Racing in Florida

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What Does Florida Law Consider to be Racing?

Some may confuse the crime of racing with reckless driving because both involve careless operation of a motor vehicle and being criminally negligent. However, a person can only be charged with racing if they have a speed competition or other type of test of endurance and exhibition of speed. Racing is defined under Florida Statutes section 316.191 as: 

  • Any person who is:
    • Driving a motor vehicle, including motorcycles, in any race, speed competition, contest, drag race, test of physical endurance, exhibition of speed/acceleration or for the purpose of making any speed record on any highway, roadway or parking lot of any kind;
    • In any manner coordinate, facilitate, participate or collect money at any location for any race, contest, test competition or exhibition;
    • Knowingly ride as a passenger in any contest, test competition, race or exhibition; or
    • Purposefully cause the movement of traffic to stop or slow for any race, competition, test, contest or exhibition

Florida law defines “drag race” as the operation of two or more motor vehicles form a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance one another. The race occurs from the same point to the same point for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds of power of acceleration of such motor vehicle or motor vehicles within a certain distance or time limit. 

Now it may sound confusing but the term “race” under Florida law is different than “drag race.” In the Florida Statutes, race refers to the use of one or more motor vehicles in competition, arising from a challenge, either through a prior arrangement or in immediate response, in which the competitor attempts to outdistance the other vehicle, prevent the other vehicle from passing, test the physical stamina of the drivers or their endurance, or to arrive at a given destination ahead that was agreed upon. 

The race can either be prearranged or can occur through a competitive response to conduct on the part of one or more drivers, which under the totality of the circumstances, can reasonable be interpreted as a challenge to race.

Florida law defines “spectator” as any person who is knowingly present at and viewing a drag race and their presence is the result of their own choice to attend. When determining whether a person is a spectator the court examines the relationship between the racer and individual such as evidence of gambling or betting on the outcome of the race.

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Penalties for Racing Under Florida Law

The consequences for racing depend on several factors and if you’ve ever been convicted of racing in the past. Racing without any aggravating factors is a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalties for a first-degree misdemeanor include:

  • 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

If this is your second racing conviction within the last five years, then you will still face a first-degree misdemeanor. However, you will be required to pay an enhanced fine no less than $1,000 and no more than $3,000. You will also have your license revoked for two years.

A third or subsequent racing conviction within 5 years of the previous violations will enhance the fine even more. You will still face first-degree misdemeanor charges and the fine will be elevated to no less than $2,000 and no more than $5,000. In addition, your license will be revoked as a result for four years. 

Spectators of races will face a noncriminal traffic infraction, otherwise known as a moving violation. The ticket will add points to your license and if you have enough points accumulated you could have your license suspended as a consequence. 

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How Long is My Car Impounded After Being Arrested for Racing?

If law enforcement has reasonable suspicion to believe you were involved in racing, then they are legally allowed to take you into custody without a warrant. Not only this, but they can enter an order of impoundment or immobilization as a condition of your incarceration or probation.

All costs and fees for the impoundment or immobilization must be paid by you. This includes the cost of notifying you that the vehicle was restricted under court order. Law enforcement have the right to impound your vehicle for a period of 30 days if you were taken into custody for racing.  A second or subsequent conviction for racing within 5 years may be seized and forfeited as provided by the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act. 

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Additional Resources

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.

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Lawyer for Drag Racing in West Palm Beach, FL

If you or someone you know has been arrested for racing or drag racing, then we implore you to get in contact with an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can examine your case, structure a strong defense and represent you effectively in court. We suggest you call the experienced 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 which includes racing and other speed-related violations. Call us now at (561) 500-5000 and we will set up your first consultation absolutely free. We practice throughout the greater Palm Beach County, Martin County, St. Lucie County, and Broward County areas. 

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Meltzer & Bell, P.A.

Lawrence Meltzer & Steven Bell

Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Super Lawyers Martindale-Hubble
Meltzer & Bell, P.A.
Palm Beach
515 N Flagler Dr #240
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(561) 557-8686
110 SE 6th St Suite 1749
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
(954) 745-7457