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Racing, a Criminal Traffic offense in Florida

The criminal traffic offense of “Racing on Highways” is not limited to just what most people think of as a highway, street or road. Parking lots are specifically mentioned in Florida Statutes section 316.191, the racing statute and a violation of chapter 316 can be enforced on any road and even parking lots. Racing can be in any motor vehicle not just passenger cars and trucks. 

The charge includes any competition such as a typical race, any speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance, attempts to make a speed record etc. Furthermore, the mere exhibition of speed or acceleration can land a person accused of street racing. Actually, driving is not required because, coordinating, facilitating, or collecting moneys anywhere for any such race is deemed participation in a race under Florida law. Knowingly riding as a passenger or causing a traffic disruption such as the movement of traffic to slow or stop for the purpose of a competition or exhibition can also lead to criminal charges. Being a spectator at any drag race (two or more motor vehicles side by side) is a noncriminal traffic infraction but it is punishable as a moving violation which means points can be assessed to a driver’s license record or MVR.

The penalties for racing get more severe for each subsequent accusation. A first offense is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine between $500 and $1,000. A second citation, within 5 years, while still a first-degree misdemeanor carries a fine between $1,000 and $3,000. A third or subsequent racing ticket, within 5 years of a prior violation, is still a first degree misdemeanor but the mandatory fine is between $2,000 and $5,000.

The worst part of the racing sanctions for many people will be what happens to the insurance rates and/or coverage and the required driver’s license revocation. The first racing citation carries a required 1 year revocation, a second within 5 years a required 2 year revocation and a third within 5 years a required 4 year revocation of the driving privilege. A driver’s license revocation upon a sentence for racing is mandatory which means the judge has no discretion.  In addition, racing is one of the charges that counts towards an HTO suspension.

A person accused of racing should not face a court alone. Because racing is a criminal case the public defender can be assigned, if the accused qualifies. Otherwise, please click or call to begin to form a strategy for defending the case.

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