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Speed Contests (Vehicle Code 23109(a)) and Exhibition of Speed (Vehicle Code 23109(c))

speed contests
Illegal street racing (speed contests)

You’re driving home late one night, and get to a stop light next to a brand new sports car. The other car starts revving their engine at you. You decide to race them. So on green, you both go. You’re winning. And then the other car falls out of site.  Red and blue lights turn on, and you’re stopped. You now lose.

Speed Contests California Vehicle Code 23109(a)

Under California Vehicle Code 23109, you can be found guilty of violating the speed contest law by racing another vehicle on a highway or racing against a clock. The punishment for speed contests in California is severe, and you will need an experienced California criminal defense attorney to represent you.

Prosecution for Illegal Speed Contests in California

The prosecution must prove all of the following beyond a reasonable doubt in order for you to be convicted of this crime. These elements include:

  1. You were driving a motor vehicle on a highway (this includes any area publicly maintained and open to the public for vehicular travel); and
  2. You were willfully driving a motor vehicle at a high rate of speed while racing another vehicle, a clock, or other timing device.

A speed contest does not need to be a formalized race as seen in the Fast and Furious movies; it can be unarranged and happen in an instant. It is not required for the officer who stops you to also stop the other driver in order for you to be prosecuted.

Punishment for Speed Contest in California

If you are convicted of this crime, you face serious punishment. The maximum penalty you can face for a misdemeanor conviction of taking part in a speed contest is as follows:

  • A $1,000 fine;
  • 90 days in jail;
  • Suspension of your license for up to 6 months;
  • Impoundment of your car for up to 30 days; and/or
  • Community service for up to 40 hours.

For a second offense, the possible jail time becomes a maximum six months in addition to a mandatory six month license suspension. If a person other than the driver is injured, this crime can be charged as a felony.

If convicted of felony speed contest, you face 16 months, two or three years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Possible Defenses to a Speed Contest Charge

There are several defenses that a skilled defense attorney can use to successfully defend you in your case. Some of these defenses include:

  1. Not Willful. You should not be convicted of this crime unless it is proven that you willfully engaged in a speed contest.
  2. Insufficient Evidence. You cannot be convicted of this crime based upon insufficient evidence. However, you will need an experienced attorney to challenge the validity of the prosecutors claims in order to show that this evidence is insufficient.

 

 

exhibition of speed - burnout
Burning out or revving your engine to impress others is illegal in California

Exhibition of Speed California Vehicle Code 23109(c)

Exhibition of Speed is a crime related to Speed Contests under California Vehicle Code 23109. According to California Vehicle Code 23109(c), it is illegal for you to accelerate or drive at a rate of speed that is dangerous and unsafe in order to show off or make an impression on someone else.

Prosecution for Exhibition of Speed in California

The prosecution must prove several elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order for you to be convicted of this crime. These elements include:

  1. You were driving a motor vehicle on a highway (this includes any area publicly maintained and open to the public for vehicular travel);
  2. You were speeding or accelerating in a dangerous or unsafe manner; and
  3. You did so intending to show off or impress someone.

The prosecution is not required to prove that you intended to impress or show off to any particular person. Also, it is not required that you exceed the speed limit. You can be convicted of this crime even if you simply accelerate quickly from a stopped position.

Punishment for an Exhibition of Speed Charge

The maximum penalty you can face for a misdemeanor conviction of taking part in a Speed Contest is as follows:

  • A $500 fine;
  • 90 days in jail;
  • Suspension of your license for up to 6 months;
  • Impoundment of your car for up to 30 days; and
  • Community service for up to 50 hours.

Possible Defenses to an Exhibition of Speed Charge

There are several defenses that a skilled defense attorney can use to successfully defend you in your case. Some of these defenses include:

  1. No Intent. People mistakenly screech their tires all the time, not intending to do any annoyance or show off. In order to be convicted of this crime, the prosecution must prove that you acted intentionally. Thus, a valid defense is that the act was simply accidental and you were not trying to show off or impress someone.
  2. Insufficient Evidence. You should not be convicted of this crime based upon insufficient evidence. However, you will need a skilled attorney to challenge the prosecutors evidence.

Call Wallin & Klarich Today

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Wallin & Klarich traffic attorneys 2015

If you or a loved one is facing charges for engaging in a speed contest or an exhibition of speed, it is critical that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience defending persons accused of exhibition of speed and speed contest crimes. Our attorneys will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich Southern California criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

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