How Does Arizona Law Define Illegal Street Racing in Phoenix?
Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) §28-708 is the statute that provides the Police legal grounds to stop someone if they observe them street racing, racing on highway, or even merely displaying an “exhibition of speed”.
What is Racing?
One will be charged with racing if they do any of the following:
- Drive a vehicle or participate in any manner in a: Race, Speed competition or contest, Drag race, Acceleration contest
- Test of physical endurance
- Exhibition of speed or acceleration; or
- For the purpose of making a speed record on a street or highway.
A.R.S. §28-708 (J)(2) provides how the State defines “racing”. This definition differs from how you would commonly think racing is defined. The Statute defines racing as:
- The use of one or more vehicle;
- In an attempt to outgain or outdistance;
- Another vehicle or to prevent another vehicle from passing
The way the statute is written, it allows someone to be charged with racing even if they are not actually racing another vehicle. Very frequently, Officers use this specific language of “one or more vehicles” to tack this charge onto a simple speeding violation.
A.R.S. §28-708 (J)(1)(a) and (b) provides the State an alternative theory to charge this crime. This portion of the statute defines what drag racing in Arizona. Arizona defines drag racing as:
- Two vehicles, side by side, at accelerating speeds in an attempt to outdistance each other; or
- One or more vehicles over a common selected course and from the same point for the purpose of comparing relative speeds or power of acceleration of the vehicle(s) within a certain distance or time limit.
Drag racing is also defined very broadly in the law. To be charged with drag racing, there is no threshold speed you must reach or even be going over the speed limit. If the Officer sees what he believes two vehicles racing or one vehicle on a selected path going fast or trying to “show off” its power or performance, the Officer is within the law to charge the driver with drag racing.
What is Exhibition of Speed?
Exhibition of speed is interpreted by the Courts and police very broadly. If an officer sees an example of the following, it falls within the statute as an “exhibition of speed”:
- Acceleration or for the purpose of making a speed record on a street or highway.
- Often, the Officer will also look for any indication of comparison of speed or power of your vehicle with another (or merely to the public).
- In many instances, if the Officer thinks someone is trying to “show off” their vehicle, this is all the Officer needs to issue a citation.
Often the Officer can charge this part of the statute if he or she hears and sees squealing tires, “burn outs”, multiple loud revs of an engine, or even just a rapid acceleration from a stop sign.
Possible Penalties for Gilbert Drag Racing & Exhibition of Speed Charges
The penalties for a violation of A.R.S. §28-708 are severe. The consequences are much more than a simple ticket. A first violation of this statute will result in a class one misdemeanor. This class of misdemeanor is the most severe class of misdemeanor in Arizona. If convicted for racing in Arizona, the penalties you will be facing are:
- At least a $250 fine
- May be ordered to perform community service
- May be required to surrender your license or have it suspended up to 90 days
- Maximum of 6 months jail and up to a 3-year probation term
- 8 “points” will be automatically assessed to your driver’s license. Per Arizona law, this will require you to complete Traffic Survival School in order to even keep your driver’s license.
The penalties for second violation of the statute within 2 years are much more severe. You will be charged with a class six felony. The penalties for a class 6 felony are:
- Up to 2 years prison (This is not a probation eligible offense. A term of incarceration is required by law.)
- At least a $500 fine;
- Possible community service; and
- Revocation of your driving privilege for one year
Potential Defenses to Racing/Exhibition of Speed Arizona Offences
For drag racing, one of the most frequent, and successful, defenses may include the lack of knowledge of the other vehicle. If charged with drag racing, the fact pattern observed by the Officer will likely be two vehicles going fast on the highway together. If you do not know this other vehicle and were simply driving fast, you are not guilty of drag racing.
For exhibition of speed, the key element the State must prove is your intent. The State must prove you had the intent to “show off” your vehicle or set some sort of record. If you were not familiar with the car or had no intent behind the act, you are not guilty of the charge.
Lastly, regarding the criminal charge of racing. Your speed alone does not make you guilty or not guilty. You do not have to be going over the speed limit nor do you even have to be going the speed limit. However, the speed of the vehicle is an item that can be used to bolster your defense. The facts and circumstances surrounding the specific case are vital to crafting a defense.
Why Contact Gilbert Racing Defense Attorneys About Your Legal Options?
Our attorneys have years of experience handling these types of cases. In fact, did you know our Firm is founded by Attorney Brandon White who spent a decade as an Arizona State Police Officer? In addition, our team of criminal defense attorneys are made up of Former Prosecuting Attorneys. Now we put that experience to use for our clients in their criminal racing cases.
We know what to look for when analyzing these cases, communicating and updating our clients, reviewing the evidence, and while negotiating with prosecutors. We know what to look for while we read the reports, watch any surveillance that may have captured the actual incident, the Officer’s body camera footage, the types of questions to ask while interviewing witnesses, and what evidence is needed by the State to prove the charge.
Our attorneys will break down the evidence and craft an individualized defense strategy with our client based on the specific facts of their case. By employing this method and strategy, we have successfully defended our clients from these charges and have negotiated deviations to lesser offenses with lesser penalties.
Why Choose Brandon White Law Firm for Your Phoenix Drag Racing Case?
Our attorneys and service are firm provides is what separates us from all other firms in the area. From our office manager, receptionists, and attorneys, we will be with you each step of the way. Our staff has an extensive history in customer service and its worth mentioning again that all our attorneys have a lengthy background as Prosecutors or Law Enforcement Officers. This experience allows our attorneys to know what to look for because they used to be the ones on the other side.
Our Arizona Racing on Highway Attorneys
Managing Partner and Firm Owner Brandon White. Attorney Brandon is a former Department of Public Safety (DPS) Officer. While he was a State Police Officer, Attorney Brandon personally investigated several crimes ranging from simple traffic to violent offenses.
Managing Criminal Attorney Ahmed Islam. Attorney Ahmed is a former Chicago prosecutor and has successfully negotiated racing cases, amongst many others, to lesser charges. Attorney Ahmed also has an extensive background with juvenile, violent, and drug offenses.
Associate Criminal Attorney Nicholas Spare. Attorney Nick is a former Pima County Attorney and has negotiated racing cases to less severe charges. Attorney Nick has extensive experience in drug, white collar, and violent crimes as well.
Associate Criminal Attorney Chris Richman. Attorney Chris is a former Albuquerque prosecutor and has an extensive background in racing cases. Attorney Chris also has significant experience in DWI, drug, and violent crimes.
Consult a Phoenix Racing on Highway Lawyer in AZSchedule Consultation
Regular Phoenix DUI or DWI
A regular DUI is considered driving with a BAC of 0.08-0.14% or driving with a controlled substance in your bloodstream.
- Undergoing a substance abuse screening assessment;
- Completing substance abuse treatment program;
- Serving 10 consecutive days in jail and payin g jail costs;
- An additional 9 days in jail will be suspended if the substance abuse program is completed;
- $250 fine plus any surcharge;
- $500 State Prison Construction and $500 State General Fund payments.