Racing on The Highway
Racing on the Highway, otherwise known as a “racing” charge is just exactly what it sounds like. Two cars or motorcycles on the road that decide to race can be charged with this crime. Though this charge sounds like innocent horseplay it can be very serious if you ultimately enter a plea to the charge. Not only does this charge carry with it the possibility of up to 11 months, 29 days in jail, depending on the number of racing charges on your record you will lose your driver’s license from one year up to four years. Adding to the potential penalties for a driver with this charge is the fact that a passenger who knowingly participates in racing on the highway can suffer the same penalties as the driver. Florida’s racing statute is famous for being very vague and overbroad. Due to this, innocent conduct is often encompassed in this allegation in violation of your rights. Our Tampa criminal lawyers have successfully defended these charges and have consistently earned charge reductions to reckless driving, thereby preventing our clients from having their driver’s licenses suspended.WHAT MUST THE STATE PROVE?
In order for a Tampa area State Attorney’s Office to prove this charge, they must prove each element below beyond a reasonable doubt.
You, as the Defendant did one or more than one of the following:
Drove a motor vehicle in
Participated, coordinated, facilitated, collected money at the location of
Knowingly rode as a passenger in
Purposefully caused moving traffic to slow or stop for
a race, a drag race or acceleration contest, a speed competition or contest, a test of physical endurance, an exhibition of speed or an attempt to make a speed record on a highway, road, or parking lot. The state will select the term available under the jury instruction that is most applicable to your set of facts.WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES?
First Violation- First Degree Misdemeanor punishable by up to 11 months, 29 days in the county jail and a fine between $500 and $1000. Regardless of classification of your case disposition your driver’s license will be suspended for 1 year. So, even if the Judge withholds adjudication you are considered “convicted” for suspension purposes.
Second Violation within 5 years of First Violation- First Degree Misdemeanor punishable by up to 11 months, 29 days in the county jail and a fine between $1000 and $3000. Two year driver’s license suspension.
Third Violation within 5 years of the date a Prior Violation- First Degree Misdemeanor punishable by up to 11 months, 29 days in the county jail and a fine between $2000 and $5000. Four year driver’s license suspension. Seizure of your vehicle pursuant to the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.HOW CAN WE HELP?
These charges are serious in that not only will you be punished through potential jail time and probation but you will also lose your ability to drive for a significant amount of time should you plea to this charge. Our lawyers understand the penalties and how to avoid them for our clients. Due to the vague nature of the definition of “racing” within the statute, it has in the past been found unconstitutional under Florida’s criminal code. Though this vagueness has been corrected through legislative change, the racing statute seems to always walk on the edge of constitutionality. To this end, racing is a difficult charge to prove. Our criminal attorneys have a near perfect success rate in negotiating a charge reductionand a plea agreement acceptable by our clients. If you have been charged with racing on a Florida highway in Tampa, contact our racing lawyers immediately. The penalties are too severe to go at this alone. We’re available at 813-444-7435.