EXHIBITION OF SPEED

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. However, if you are charged with exhibition of speed, sometimes referred to as drag racing or racing on the highway, you have been charged with a traffic crime and the penalties are much more serious.

Exhibition of Speed

Arizona’s Exhibition of Speed Law Explained

Exhibition of speed involves more than exceeding the speed limit. In fact A.R.S. § 28-708A, expressly prohibits driving a car or participating in any type of :

  1. Race;
  2. Speed competition;
  3. Drag racing;
  4. Acceleration contest; or
  5. Exhibition of speed.

Certainly drag racing and similar contests are covered under the law, however, there does not have to be more than one vehicle involved. Driving behavior that is commonly prosecuted under this statute includes:

  • Drag racing with 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;
  • Preventing another vehicle from passing you.
  • Enticing another vehicle to race by revving the engine or driving in a manner so as to invite a race.

Classification and Penalties – First Offense

The primary difference between a racing on the highway or exhibition of speed and a minor traffic violation is that exhibition of speed is a class 1 misdemeanor. This means that it is a criminal charge, and the consequences of a first offense include:

Mandatory Penalties

  • A fine of no less than $250;
  • 8 points on your license;
  • Traffic Survival School.

Potential Penalties

  • A fine of up to $2,500;
  • Community restitution;
  • Loss of license for up to 90 days;
  • Up to 6 months in jail.

Classification and Penalties – Second Offense

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.

Mandatory Penalties

  • Mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail;
  • A fine of no less than $500;
  • 8 points on your license;
  • Mandatory License Suspension.

Potential Penalties

  • Up to 2 years in prison;
  • Community restitution;
  • Felony probation for up to 3 years.

Racing on the Highway

Defenses to Exhibition of Speed Charges

Most tickets for a violation of A.R.S. § 28-708A 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:

  • Drag Racing. 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.
  • Racing. 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 reduction in the charges or 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.

Criminal Traffic 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 have handle all types of vehicular and traffic crimes from criminal speeding to vehicular homicide. Contact us for a free consultation.