Racing occurs when someone competitively drives a vehicle in a speed or acceleration contest, engages in drag racing, or participates as a passenger or race facilitator. Penalties can include up to one year in Jail and a revocation of your driver’s license.
If you have been charged with racing in Florida, contact an experienced West Palm Beach racing lawyer to review the charges against you. A qualified reckless driving attorney can determine what legal defenses may apply to your situation, and decide what course of action makes the most sense for you.
What Constitutes Racing in Florida?
In Florida, racing on the highways essentially means a competition between vehicles to out-speed or outperform the other, preventing other vehicles from passing, arriving at a destination more quickly than another vehicle, or testing a driver’s stamina or endurance on highways.
Four Categories of Racing
According to Florida Statute Sec. 316.191, there are four categories of racing on Florida highways.
The first category is racing, competing, and engaging in exhibitions.This includes driving any type of motor vehicle (including motorcycles) in any race, speed competition, drag race exhibition, and any other form of racing
The second category is coordinating and facilitating. This includes participating in, coordinating, facilitating, or collecting money at any location for any race, competition, or exhibition
The third category is passenger participation which includes knowingly riding as a passenger in a race, competition, or exhibition.
The last category is traffic interference which includes purposefully causing the movement of traffic to slow or stop for any race, competition, or exhibition.
Elements the Prosecutor Must Prove
In order to be convicted of the crime or racing on highways, the prosecutor must prove that the person:
- Drove a motor vehicle
- Participated, coordinated, facilitated, collected monies at the location of the event or activity;
- Knowingly rode as a passenger in a participating vehicle
- Purposefully caused moving traffic to slow or stop for a race, a drag race, an acceleration contest, a speed competition, a test of physical endurance, a speed exhibition, or an attempt to make a speed record on a highway, road, or parking lot
Defenses for a Racing Offense
Racing on highways is generally considered a first-degree misdemeanor and can result in up to a year in jail, fines of up to $1,000, and a license revocation for up to one year. However, there are several defenses to racing on highway charges that a West Palm Beach racing lawyer may use. Some of the most common examples include:
- Conduct does not meet the statutory definition of race
- Intent to race on part of the other driver, but not the defendant
- Lack of proof
- Law enforcement arrest records contradict allegations
- Law enforcement officers did not actually witness or fully witness the incident
- Ordinary traffic infractions were mistaken for racing
- Racing was actually just careless driving
- Vehicle speed does not support racing
- Witness testimony contradicts allegations
Depending on the facts and circumstances of each case, these defenses can be raised to fight the case at trial or be used to negotiate a plea to a lower charge or to a simple traffic citation. A West Palm Beach racing attorney can try to get the best possible result for individuals who have been charged.
Contact a West Palm Beach Racing Attorney Today
If you have been charged with racing on highways in Florida, contact an experienced West Palm Beach racing lawyer to review the charges against you, determine what legal defenses may apply to your situation, and decide on a course of action going forward.