In the state of Florida, street racing is a criminal traffic offense. Many assume that it is merely a ticket and points on their license. However, there are severe penalties that come with a conviction for street racing in Florida. These include substantial fines, a revocation of your driver's license, and possibly even incarceration.
If you are facing charges, you need a strong criminal defense for street racing charges. Contact attorney Matt Shafran at Weinstein Legal to start building your case today. Do not face the courts alone. You have too much to lose. Mr. Shafran has years of experience in the courtroom, fighting for his clients' rights. He will fight aggressively for you as well.
What Are the Charges for Street Racing in Florida?
If this is your first time receiving a criminal traffic charge for street racing, you will face a first degree misdemeanor. If you cause an accident as a result of the race, you will face more severe charges, particularly if another person is harmed. If a person dies in the accident, or from injuries they sustain during the accident, you may face felony charges of vehicular manslaughter.
Subsequent Florida street racing charges are still misdemeanors if you do not harm anyone. However, the penalties get steeper the more charges you incur. Since even a first-time offense can land you in jail, it's essential to hire a criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in criminal traffic law.
Penalties for Street Racing in Florida
A conviction for a first-time offense will result in a mandatory revocation of your driver's license for at least one year. If you depend on your vehicle to get to and from work or to and from school, this can pose a significant risk to your livelihood and well-being. Similarly, if you use your vehicle to transport your children or to fulfill daily obligations and you do not have your license, life will become much more challenging.
In addition to losing your license, you will likely have to complete safe driver courses. A judge will also sentence you to pay hefty fines and court costs, and a first-time offense can land you in jail for up to one year. Law enforcement may also impound your vehicle, or a judge may order that the state seize your vehicle when you appear in court.
As a misdemeanor charge, street racing will appear on background checks, and it will go on your criminal record. Employers and landlords will be able to see this.
Penalties for Multiple Convictions
If you have another street racing conviction in the past five years, the amount of your fines will increase to thousands of dollars. Additionally, you may lose your license for multiple years and still face one year in jail. A third offense may cost you up to $5,000 in fines in addition to the rest of the penalties.
How Does the State Prove Guilt?
As with all other criminal charges in the United States, you are innocent until proven guilty. If you are facing charges for street racing in Florida, you must appear in court. Also, as with all other criminal charges, the prosecutor's office must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of committing the crime.
In the state of Florida, street racing convictions are proven by examining the following things:
- There must be more than one vehicle involved in the race
- They must prove you were racing, and not merely speeding
- They must prove you challenged another vehicle to a race or accepted a challenge from another driver
There is also a specific definition of the word "race" in the state of Florida that the prosecutor's office must prove. To consider the event a race, one of the following things must be true:
- You must be trying to gain distance on another vehicle
- You attempted to prevent another vehicle from passing you
- You were trying to arrive at a specified location before another vehicle
- You were trying to see which vehicle could go faster for longer, or farther in a shorter amount of time
As you can see, it can be hard to prove that these things took place as a police officer or prosecutor's office cannot decipher your exact intentions. For this reason, you must hire a criminal traffic offense attorney to defend you. It is possible to beat your case.
Facing Charges When You Are Not the Driver
Many people are surprised to learn that you do not have to be the driver in a highway street race for law enforcement to charge you. If you knowingly ride in a vehicle with the intent to participate in a street race, coordinate an event with street racing in Florida, or participate in betting or gambling on a street race, you can still face charges.
If any of these situations apply to your charges, it is still imperative that you hire a defense attorney to represent you in court.
How to Avoid Conviction
In Florida, street racing convictions can be avoided. It is possible to have your charges dropped or dismissed entirely. Remember, a prosecutor's office must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were racing with intent against another vehicle, and not just speeding on the highway. An experienced defense attorney can help show that this was not the case. Your criminal charge may be dropped, in which case you may still have to pay a fine for speeding and receive points on your driver's license.
However, having to pay a speeding ticket is much better than having to hand over your driver's license and spend time in jail. Your lawyer may be able to prove that you were not racing. Instead, perhaps you accelerated too quickly. Or, you were weaving in and out of traffic without having another vehicle involved. Sometimes this looks like street racing to police officers when it isn't.
Hiring an Attorney
If you are facing a criminal traffic charge for street racing in Florida, do not wait to contact an attorney. While you may think that the charge will not stand up in court, you have too much to lose by taking the chance. An aggressive attorney will begin building your defense case immediately. That attorney is Matt Shafran at Weinstein Legal.
At the Weinstein Legal Team, the phones are open 24-hours a day 365-days a year. There will never be a time when your inquiry regarding a charge goes unanswered. We will provide you with an entire free case evaluation, free of any obligation.
If you require legal representation, call 954-845-0505 and ask for Criminal Defense Attorney Matt Shafran.