Law enforcement agencies in Pinellas County are on high alert to “be on the lookout” for drivers who are potentially engaging in street racing on a highway. Although this offense can occur in any location with a football field length of roadway, we have found that the majority of persons cited for “Racing on a Highway” stem from the following geographic locations in Pinellas County:
- The Gandy Bridge
- The Courtney Campbell Causeway
- The Bayside Bridge
- Memorial Causeway
- The Pinellas Bayway
What is Considered Racing on a Highway
Under Florida Statute 316.191 provides that it is unlawful to drive any vehicle in a street takeover, stunt driving, race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance, or exhibition of speed or acceleration or for purposes of making a speed record on any highway, roadway or parking lot. Stunt driving is further defined as burnouts, doughnuts, drifting, wheelies, or other dangerous motor vehicle activity.
The statute goes a step further to encourage citizens to not engage in racing conduct. In that regard, the statute criminalizes being a passenger in a vehicle where another person is engaging in the prohibited conduct, or even promoting or coordinating the behavior on social media.
Why Are the Police Enforcing Racing So Zealously?
Although racing has always been taken seriously by law enforcement in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and the surrounding areas of Pinellas County, law enforcement officials have been especially attentive to Racing on a Highway due to a recent traffic fatality in which a young boy was killed when he was struck by a vehicle as a spectator at a street racing event.
What are the Penalties for Racing on a Highway?
If you are charged with Racing on a Highway, your privilege to operate a motor vehicle is on the line. Any person convicted of racing suffers a one-year driver’s license revocation. A second offense for Racing results in a two-year driver’s license revocation. Any subsequent Racing offense results in a 4-year loss of license. Fines and court costs for Racing vary from $1,000.00 up to $5,000.00. Other common penalties include community service, probation, traffic schools, and vehicle immobilizations. However, any person charged with Racing could face up to one-year in jail. In some cases, vehicles used in Racing can also be subject to the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act – in other words, the government can take your car or motorcycle.
If I have Been Charged with a Racing, What do I do Next?
If you or a loved one has been charged with Racing on a Highway in Pinellas, contact our top-rated criminal defense lawyers at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan. During your free consultation with our office, we will discuss the unique facts and circumstances of your case and formulate a strategy to minimize the impacts such an offense will have on your life. In some cases, our office is able to seek an amendment in the charge so as to sidestep the driver’s license revocation. In other cases, may be able to establish that a “Racing” did not occur and that a dismissal is appropriate. Call our office today at 727-578-0303 for a free consultation with one of our highly experienced criminal defense attorneys.