Some people really love their cars. Self-described motorheads and other auto enthusiasts often spend their time souping up their vehicles to run better, be louder, and drive faster. While being enthusiastic about cars is a perfectly normal hobby, you must be careful when taking your hotrod on the road. It may be tempting to test out your car in a street race, but this is illegal and extremely dangerous.
Street racing or engaging in an exhibition of speed can be criminally charged under the Utah Code. You do not necessarily have to be engaged in a race or speeding contest to be charged. You could be driving alone while showing off your car’s speed capabilities. There may be additional charges and consequences too. You could strike another person, be criminally charged, and be sued civilly for damages.
You can take your car out for a spin after a tune-up, but you must be careful about your speed or face criminal charges. Our Utah motor vehicle crimes defense attorneys can help you fight the charges. Reach out to the legal team at Overson Law, PLLC for a free case review. Call us as soon as possible at (801) 758-2287.
What is an Exhibition of Speed in Utah?
Charges for street racing or participating in an exhibition of speed are not the same as speeding tickets. A speeding ticket is a moving violation and is not considered a criminal offense. Charges for street racing or exhibitions of speed are in fact crimes and punishable with fines and jail time. There are also distinctions between street racing and exhibitions of speed, as they are not interchangeable terms.
Illegal street racing and exhibitions of speed are ruled by the same criminal statute, Utah Code § 41-6a-606. Street racing involves a motor vehicle contest on a road or highway. As with any kind of race, multiple drivers may be participating, making the entire situation extremely dangerous. Exhibitions of speed are similar in that they involve speeding vehicles. However, they are not necessarily contests and may involve only one vehicle. Exhibitions of speed can be thought of as drivers showing off their fast cars by speeding down the highway.
The charges for street racing or exhibitions of speed can be tricky to understand. There is a fine line between general speeding and dangerous racing, and the line is sometimes a bit blurry. Our Utah motor vehicle crimes defense attorneys can help clarify your charges and challenge their validity in court.
Penalties for Exhibition of Speed
As discussed above, criminal charges may be assessed for illegal street racing or exhibitions of speed. These charges not only apply to street racing and speeding exhibitions, but they also apply to anyone who assists in setting up the race. For example, if you help set up barricades or obstructions along a highway to clear the road for a race, you can be criminally charged even though you are not the one driving.
You can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor for racing or speeding exhibitions. A Class B misdemeanor may be punished by a jail term of up to 6 months and fines of no more than $1,000. You will also lose your driver’s license for 60 days for your first conviction and 90 days for a subsequent conviction. Our Utah motor vehicle crimes defense lawyers have experience fighting charges for illegal racing or speeding exhibitions.
That is not the end of your potential consequences, though. Street racing or exhibitions of speed are incredibly dangerous, and it is not uncommon for innocent people to get hurt. If you struck another vehicle or injured a passenger in your vehicle, you could face additional criminal charges. The victims, if they survive, could sue you civilly and force you to pay for their damages.
You might also be cited for reckless driving. Reckless driving is a moving violation and is technically not a criminal offense. However, the citation may impose points against your license and come with steep fines. If you rack up enough points, you can lose your driver’s license.
Why Exhibitions of Speed and Street Racing in Utah Are Dangerous
Charges amounting to a Class B misdemeanor might not seem like the biggest deal in the world. A first-time offender might spend minimal time in jail. However, street racing and speeding exhibitions can quickly lead to additional criminal charges and leave you on the hook for someone’s civil damages. Talk to our Utah motor vehicle crimes defense attorneys about your case today.
Street racing comes with a high potential for injury and death. You could seriously injure yourself or others. Illegal street racing or speeding exhibitions can be unpredictable, and other drivers or pedestrians might unknowingly wander into the path of a racing vehicle. For example, you might decide to race a friend down a highway at a very high rate of speed. If another driver attempts to cross an intersection or make a turn onto the highway, you could easily T-bone them and hurt or even kill the other driver.
Defenses to Exhibition of Speed Charges in Utah
Situations of speeding and racing are not always straightforward. Exhibitions of speed do not necessarily involve racing. They could instead encompass showing off a nice car by speeding down a highway. As stated before, the line between a simple speeding ticket and a criminal violation is sometimes hard to pinpoint.
Officers often piece together the situation and determine charges based on multiple small pieces of evidence, often circumstantial. Accidentally squealing your tires could falsely lead the police to conclude you were showing off in a speeding exhibition. In reality, you just need to get your tires checked. Generally speeding, even by only a little bit, in a nice sports car could also be used against you. Police are sometimes prone to unfairly judge a driver based on their car. People who drive nice sports cars or muscle cars are sometimes labeled as dangerous when they are doing nothing wrong.
We can challenge the evidence against you as insufficient to support the charges. When the evidence supporting your charges is mostly circumstantial, we can argue that the police had no probable cause to arrest you. Speak to our Utah motor vehicle crimes defense lawyers about your charges.
Call Our Utah Motor Vehicle Crimes Defense Attorneys
If you are charged with crimes related to street racing or exhibitions of speed, our Utah motor vehicle crimes lawyers can help you fight those charges. Our team at Overson Law, PLLC offers free case reviews for those in need of assistance. Call us at (801) 758-2287.