[Vehicle Code Section 23109(a)]
What Constitutes the California Criminal Offense of Engaging in a Felony Speed Contest?
In order for the District Attorney to prove that you have engaged in a felony speed contest, the prosecutor must prove the following elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant drove a motor vehicle on a highway; and
- While driving, the defendant willfully engaged in a speed contest; and
- The speed contest was a substantial factor in causing someone other than the defendant to suffer serious bodily injury.
A driver engages in a speed contest when the driver races against another vehicle, clock or timing device. The most common violation of this offense is street racing on public roadways that result in a collision and causes a serious bodily injury to another person.
Under California law, an individual does an act willfully when he or she does it on purpose. That individual does not have to intend to violate the law or injure anyone.
Serious bodily injury includes the following:
- Loss of consciousness
- Bone fracture
- Loss or impairment of bodily function, organ or limb
- Wound requiring extensive suturing
- Serious disfigurement
The person who is injured can be anyone other than the accused, meaning it may include such people as another driver who was participating in the street race, spectators, and bystanders in the vicinity among others.
Punishment for Engaging in a Speed Contest
If you are convicted of engaging in a felony Speed Contest, you can be sent to prison for up to three years. Additionally, amongst other things, you will be ordered to pay restitution to the person to whom you caused injury. This can included a lifetime of medical bills. A felony conviction may hinder you from receiving or keeping a job that can help you to compensate the victim. However, even if you are charged with engaging in a felony Speed Contest it may still be possible to have the charges reduced to a misdemeanor under Penal Code section 17(b) if you have an experienced criminal defense team, such as Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorney's at Law.
If you have been charged with illegal street racing, you need a Bay Area street racing criminal defense attorney who will stand by you, protect your legal rights and achieve the best possible results. Our experienced Santa Clara County drag racing lawyers will help you to investigate your case and gather evidence to build your defense. Call us today to discuss your case and your rights.