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Is Drag Racing Illegal?

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by | Nov 2, 2023 | Drag Racing

Is drag racing illegal?

Drag racing, often referred to as “speed racing,” is an exhilarating activity that involves two vehicles competing to cover a quarter-mile distance in the shortest possible time.   

However, when this adrenaline-pumping race takes to public roads, streets, and highways, it transforms from an exciting sport into a dangerous and illegal activity. 

In this blog post, we will be covering the aspects of drag racing, or speed racing that make it illegal and the associated penalties. Additionally, we will shed light on the dangers of engaging in such activities on public roads.   

Is Street Racing Illegal in Florida?

In October 2022, the laws in Florida were amped to combat the rise of street-racing accidents on highways.  

Section 316.19 outlaws racing on the highways and streets. This includes what is defined as stunt driving. Section 316.19 calls out drag racing, drifting, burnouts, wheelies, donuts, and street takeovers as being illegal and strictly prohibited activities.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles highlights the consequences of First, Second, and Third Violations.

Violating the laws laid out in Section 316.19 can result in criminal charges, typically categorized as misdemeanors, and may entail penalties including jail time, probation, and fines. 

Crimes Associated with Speed Racing

If you’re currently facing charges for drag racing and/or speed racing, you as a defendant should immediately obtain an attorney who has the experience in cases such as this to defend you.

The consequences of being charged with drag and/or speed racing lead to not just penalties but can also result to having a criminal record, heavy fines, license suspension, and imprisonment with heavy consequences that impact your current and future employment along with personal relationships including the relationships with your children and family.

Here are some of the key charges you might be up against and how your attorney can defend them:

Speed Contest

Under Section 316.19, a prosecutor needs to prove that the accused drove a motor vehicle on a highway and willfully engaged in a speed contest. A speed contest is defined as a race against another vehicle, a clock, or any other timing device. The statute applies to various types of motor vehicles, including passenger vehicles, motorcycles, buses, commercial vehicles, and truck tractors. 

This statute only applies to races that took place on “highways”, not private property. 

1. Speed Contest 

Under Section 316.19, a prosecutor needs to prove that the accused drove a motor vehicle on a highway and willfully engaged in a speed contest. A speed contest is defined as a race against another vehicle, a clock, or any other timing device. The statute applies to various types of motor vehicles, including passenger vehicles, motorcycles, buses, commercial vehicles, and truck tractors. 

This statute only applies to races that took place on “highways”, not private property. 

2. Reckless Driving

Reckless driving involves driving a vehicle disregarding the safety of people or property. It includes actions where the driver is aware of the substantial risk posed by their actions but intentionally ignores it.  

Speeding can be considered recklessness under certain circumstances, as determined by Florida courts. 

3. Other Charges Related To Street Racing

In addition to the charges highlighted above, other acts that are prohibited and tied to street racing include

  • betting on or collecting money for the street race 
  • knowingly choosing to attend and watch a street race as a spectator 
  • slowing or stopping traffic so the street race can happen 
  • coordinating and organizing the race 
  • being a willing passenger of one of the vehicles involved in the race 

Dangers of Drag Racing

Street racing, also known as illegal drag racing and/or speed racing, is dangerous to both the participants and bystanders. Here are the Top 4 Ways Drag Racing Is Dangerous: 

1. High Speeds 

Street racing involves excessively high speeds, making it difficult to react to obstacles or other vehicles, increasing the risk of severe accidents and injuries. 

2. Reckless Behavior 

Participants engage in reckless driving maneuvers, disregarding traffic laws and putting their lives and others at risk. 

3. Impaired Driving 

Some participants may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, further impairing their judgment and reaction times. 

4. Spectator Risks 

Spectators at street racing events are also at risk of injury or death due to the uncontrollable nature of illegal races.  

Promoting Safety

Drag racing/speed racing is illegal when conducted on public roads, streets, or highways. The potential legal consequences and inherent dangers associated with street racing underscore the importance of adhering to traffic laws and finding safer alternatives to satisfy one’s need for speed.  

Street racing is not only against the law but also endangers lives and has far-reaching implications for those involved. It is crucial to prioritize safety and responsible driving to ensure the well-being of all road users. 

Get Legal Help For Your Drag Racing Charges In Florida

If your vehicle has been impounded and you’re facing charges for drag racing, you need the right legal team to build your defense.

At Florida Ticket Law Firm, we can help! We’re a 5-star rated law firm that has been serving Florida and surrounding region clients, achieving successful case outcomes. Contact us online or call 844-352-3476.