[Vehicle Code Section 23109(a)]
The popularity of movies like Fast and Furious has glamorized street racing particularly among teenagers. However, street racing is taken very seriously by law enforcement. Individuals who participate in or aid an illegal street race may be apprehended, arrested, and jailed for their actions. They will also likely face criminal prosecution for their actions. In addition, the vehicle used in the race may be impounded for up to thirty days. While many people are aware that street racing is illegal, most people do not know that assisting with the organization or act of a street race also constitutes a violation of the criminal offense of engaging in a speed contest. This means that people who help the race get started or help "block off" sections of the road for a race may be charged with crimes as well as those who are driving.
The punishment for a first time offender who does not proximately cause injury to another is between 1 to 90 days in jail, and a fine between $355 and $1,000, or by both that fine and imprisonment. Additionally, that person shall also be required to perform 40 hours of community service. Moreover, the court may order the individual's driving privilege to be suspended for between 90 days to six months. Alternatively, in lieu of suspending the individual's driver's license, the court may restrict the individual's driving privilege for 90 days to six months to allow necessary travel to and from that person's place of employment and, if driving a motor vehicle is necessary to perform the duties of the person's employment, restrict the privilege to allow for driving in that person's scope of employment.
If someone is injured because of an individual engaging in a speed contest, that driver may be facing between 30 days to 6 months in the county jail, and a fine between $500 - $1,000. If the driver has suffered a previous conviction for engaging in a Speed Contest and receives a new conviction for engaging in a Speed Contest, the potential punishment can be up to three years in the state prison if the driver proximately caused serious bodily injury to another person as a result of the Speed Contest. "Serious bodily injury" means a serious impairment of physical condition, including, but not limited to, the following: loss of consciousness; concussion; bone fracture; protracted loss or impairment of function of any bodily member or organ; a wound requiring extensive suturing; and serious disfigurement. Although, the driver is still eligible for probation (i.e., no prison time) even if the driver causes serious bodily injury to another person while engaging in a speed contest.
A motor vehicle speed contest is essentially defined as a motor vehicle race against another vehicle, a clock, or other timing device. However, an event in which the time to cover a prescribed route of more than 20 miles is measured, but where the vehicle does not exceed the speed limits, is not a speed contest. If you have been charged with engaging in a speed contest, the San Jose criminal defense lawyers at Ahmed and Sukaram, Attorneys at Law, may be able to help.
Call us today to set up a consultation to discuss your rights and options.
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