When most people think of racing on the highway, they conjure up memories of flashy street races with souped up cars from television and movies. Like many of Florida’s criminal charges though, racing may not be what it seems to the untrained eye. The difference between a simple speeding traffic ticket and the criminal charge of racing is often left in the subjective hands of overzealous police officers who, thanks to the racing law’s vague language, can arrest people for racing under a broad range of circumstances. A dedicated traffic criminal lawyer in Clearwater can help you fight against these charges.Racing Penalties
Racing on a highway in Florida is a first degree misdemeanor which is punishable by up to one year in jail or on probation. The statute also requires a $500 to $1000 fine to be assessed. What makes racing charges even more harsh is that a conviction for racing carries a mandatory one year drivers license suspension.’\ Those convicted of subsequent racing offenses face even stiffer penalties. A second offense within five years carries a $1000 to $3000 fine and a two year suspension. A third conviction carries a $2000 to $5000 suspension and a lengthy 4 year suspension.
It is important to consult with an attorney who has experience defending clients from racing charges due to the enhanced penalties involved. An experienced lawyer can get your charges reduced or dropped, and can advise you when you have a viable case for trial.Understanding the Elements of Racing
A person can be charged with racing on a highway if they engage in any race or speed contest. A “race” under the statute has a nearly 150 word definition that encompasses a wide range of scenarios. A race can be a prearranged, organized contest or an impromptu contest of speed between two strangers. A race under Florida’s statute does not even have to exceed the speed limit on the roadway. This means you could be charged with racing even if you were driving below the speed limit. This vague statute gives law enforcement officers a great deal of authority to determine what is and is not a race. In order to combat these overzealous officers, you should retain an equally zealous Clearwater traffic criminal attorney to fight your case.
Florida’s racing statute, paradoxically, does not even require that a person be involved in a race in order to be charged with racing. The prosecution need only prove that a person drives “in an exhibition of speed or acceleration,” in order to prove that someone violated the racing law. The law does not require that the exhibition of speed involve more that one car or vehicle.
Even worse, a person can be charged with the criminal offense of racing on a highway even if they were the passenger in one of the vehicles. This section of the statute is one of the rare instances where a person can be convicted for a crime for simply sitting in a passenger seat. By far, the worst aspect of Florida’s racing law, is that a person can be convicted of racing for simply being a spectator of a race. Florida has made the act of watching someone else commit a crime an offense in and of itself. Hire a knowledgeable and dedicated Clearwater traffic criminal lawyer to help you challenge this ridiculous law.Speak yo a Clearwater Traffic Criminal Lawyer Today
The attorneys at Hanlon law have years of experience litigating and defending all manner of traffic criminal cases. We have the trial experience and knowledge necessary to envision the best defense for your specific case. If you have been arrested or charged with racing on the highway or any other driving related offense, we are here to defend you. Call us today at 727.897.5413.