Illegal sideshows, also known as car sideshows, are automobile exhibitions that are illegally held on public highways or roadways. In most instances, these illegal automobile exhibitions will often attract large groups of people to watch as drivers perform car stunts like drag racing, doing donuts (i.e., driving in circles and pulling the emergency brake), and various other types of vehicular tricks.
One of the major issues with illegal car sideshows is that they tend to cause traffic backups; especially, on public highways. This can create a number of risks that threaten the safety of the general public. Aside from different traffic violations and/or car citations, illegal car sideshows may also involve many other criminal violations, such as:
- Disturbing the peace;
- Trespassing on private property;
- Loitering violations;
- Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other illegal substances;
- Driving recklessly or with serious disregard of the traffic laws;
- Criminal charges for street or drag racing;
- Exhibition of speed charges;
- Destruction of property; and/or
- Various other violations of specific local or state rules.
In addition, illegal car sideshows subject both the motorists performing the stunts and the spectators to a high risk of injury due to the high speeds at which vehicles are operated as well as the dangerous vehicular tricks being executed by the motorists. Another significant concern that may occur during these automobile exhibitions is the likelihood of serious car collisions or a car crash that involves a pedestrian and/or spectator at or near the event.
Given the ramifications that illegal car sideshow charges can lead to, it is strongly recommended that you speak to a local criminal law attorney for further legal advice on such matters.
An attorney can also accompany you to a criminal hearing and can defend you at any criminal proceedings related to your case. Additionally, an attorney can draft important legal documents for your case and can find out if there are any ways to get the charges against you reduced or dropped as well.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Illegal Sideshow Charges?
As previously mentioned, illegal car sideshow events can be extremely dangerous and may result in charges for various criminal offenses as well as traffic violations or citations. In many cases, persons who participate in such events as the driver of one of the motor vehicles involved in the automobile exhibition will often face criminal charges for engaging in an illegal activity.
In addition, many jurisdictions have enacted laws that allow persons who participate as spectators of an illegal car sideshow to be criminally charged as well. In some instances, a spectator involved in an illegal car sideshow can face criminal charges as well as criminal consequences that are just as serious as those issued to the drivers in these types of events.
For example, a spectator of an illegal car sideshow may be required to pay criminal fines and could potentially receive some amount of jail time. The definition of a “spectator” will typically vary based on the laws adopted by the jurisdiction hearing a case involving illegal car sideshow charges. However, the term is usually defined as a person who attends and is present at an automobile exhibition on a public roadway for the purposes of either:
- Witnessing; and/or
- Watching such an event.
Finally, any person who also engages in any of the following activities while attending an illegal car sideshow event may also face the same or similar criminal charges and criminal consequences as a motorist or a spectator involved in these events, including:
- Aids in;
- Participates in;
- Assists in preparations for; and/or
- Encourages others to partake in an illegal car sideshow event.
What Are the Criminal Consequences for Illegal Sideshow Charges?
There are a number of criminal consequences that an individual can face if they are convicted of illegal car sideshow charges. Some common examples of the criminal consequences that one can face after being convicted of illegal car sideshow charges may include the following:
- A prison sentence for longer than one year;
- A jail term of up to one full year in a county facility;
- Heavy criminal fines;
- Probation or parole requirements;
- A felony or misdemeanor event on their criminal record;
- A cancellation or drastic increase of automobile insurance premiums;
- Impoundment of their motor vehicle; and/or
- A temporary suspension or a permanent revocation of their driver’s license.
In addition, charges for a misdemeanor level offense may be increased to charges for a felony offense if there was severe damage done to others’ property or motor vehicles and/or if another individual suffered serious bodily injuries or became deceased. A motorist can also face charges for a felony offense if they are found to have operated a motor vehicle while they were under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or any other kind of illegal substance.
If convicted of a felony level offense, a driver involved in an illegal car sideshow may not only need to serve a prison sentence, but will also have a permanent criminal record that contains a felony conviction.
A person who is considered to be a felony offender may lose their right to vote in elections, to obtain child custody over their kids, to own or possess firearms, to apply and be hired to work for certain jobs, and/or to apply for and receive a loan or desirable housing.
It is also important to note that law enforcement officers will be permitted to use any photos, videos, witness statements, or any other material that is posted on websites or downloaded from social media platforms as evidence against a criminal defendant in court. Felony charges may result as well if any police officers were hurt while attempting to stop an illegal car sideshow event or while trying to protect spectators watching or any nearby pedestrians.
Lastly, parties who are injured or who lose a loved one as a result of severe bodily injuries sustained in an illegal car sideshow may also be able to take legal action against a defendant by filing a private lawsuit for a monetary damages award in civil court. In addition, a party whose motor vehicle or property is destroyed due to illegal car sideshow activities may also be able to recover damages to pay for repairs of the vehicle or property.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help With Illegal Sideshow Charges?
Cases that result from illegal sideshow charges can often involve multiple parties as well as may be subject to various federal, state, and/or local laws. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to hire a criminal law attorney who practices law in your county if you need to secure a legal representative to defend you in criminal court against your illegal sideshow charges.
An experienced traffic violation attorney will be able to help you navigate the necessary legal procedures as required by the criminal justice system. Your attorney will also be able to provide valuable legal advice on your rights as a criminal defendant and can discuss how the laws in your area may affect the outcome of your case. In addition, your attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea deal on your behalf.
Finally, if you have any questions or concerns regarding illegal sideshow charges, your attorney will be able to address those as well.