When you think of getting a traffic ticket, you probably imagine a small fine, and maybe a couple of points on your license. And if the violation is something minor like rolling through a stop sign, you’d be correct. But if you are charged under A.R.S. 28-708 with exhibition of speed, the penalties are much more serious.
What is “exhibition of speed”
Exhibition of speed involves more than exceeding the speed limit. The statute contains some examples, including:
- Speed competition.
- Drag racing.
- Acceleration contest.
- Exhibition of speed.
While drag racing and similar contests are covered under the law, it is clear that to be ticketed there does not have to be more than one vehicle involved. First, a drag race under the statute is defined as either two vehicles competing with each other, or one vehicle competing with a speed or rate of acceleration over a particular distance. Accelerating quickly, “burning out,” or performing similar stunts, could also lead to being charged. Finally, the charge could be based on actions such as preventing another vehicle from passing you.
Classification and Penalties
The primary difference between a racing/exhibition of speed ticket and a minor traffic violation is that the former is a class 1 misdemeanor. That means it is a criminal charge, and the consequences of a first offense include, at a minimum, a fine of $250 and 8 points on your license. The potential penalties could include, at a maximum:
- A fine of up to $2,500.
- Community restitution.
- Loss of license for up to 90 days.
- Up to 6 months in jail.
If you were unfortunate to be cited for a second exhibition of speed charge within two years, you are facing a class 6 felony. Obviously, this is a much more serious charge, with potential consequences that reflect that classification. Additional charges can also arise if the exhibition of speed leads to physical injuries.
Defenses to Exhibition of Speed Tickets
Most tickets for violation of A.R.S. 28-708 are not as simple as you might expect. The average ticket is not a response to two vehicles engaged in an obvious drag race on the highway, with friends cheering you on. Here are a few examples that illustrate some of the possible charges and defenses:
- You are pulled over and given a ticket for racing. The officer says he saw you changing lanes and passing cars along with another vehicle, and it was obvious to him that the two of you were engaged in some kind of competition or race. In fact, you were completely unaware of the presence of the other vehicle, and you were just trying to get home in time for a family function. If you were not aware of the other vehicle, there was no racing or speed competition.
- Exhibition of Speed. You just got a new car, and you’re still getting used to the way it handles. The traffic light turns green and you “burn rubber.” It happened because you were still feeling out the new car, and were unfamiliar with how it reacts to pressure on the gas pedal. Nevertheless, you are given a ticket, and the officer says that although no other car was involved, you were showing off. If you did not intend it, you are not guilty of exhibition of speed.
- Speeding, in and of itself, is not a violation of the racing law. On the other hand, you do not have to travel beyond the speed limit in order to be cited for exhibition of speed. If you were traveling at or below the speed limit, however, it bolsters the argument that there was no racing, competition, or exhibition involved.
If a plausible defense can be developed, it may lead to a not guilty verdict. In many cases, the mere existence of the possible defense will cause the prosecutor to propose a reduction in the charge in exchange for a guilty plea to the lesser traffic offense.
Exhibition of Speed Lawyers in Phoenix, AZ
An exhibition of speed charge is a serious matter, even for a first offense. Make sure that your rights are protected. The attorneys at Feldman & Royle can help. Contact us for a free consultation.