Illegal street racing occurs when two or more cars engage in a race on public roads in areas that are not designated for an official car race. Also known as “speed contests”, “drag racing”, or “speed races”, street races can be particularly dangerous due to the high speeds involved, which can often take place in residential areas or other similar areas. This increases the risk of a crash that causes injury to bystanders, pedestrians, other drivers, as well as property damage.

In many cases, illegal street racing also involves the use of vehicles that have been illegally modified to increase speed and acceleration. This also increases the risk of a crash occurring. Many “street racers” do not have experience or training handling cars at high speeds, and many street racing crashes are the result of the driver losing control of their vehicle.

Who Can be Charged with Street Racing?

In most cases, persons participating as drivers in a street race may face criminal charges. Depending on the circumstances, they can also be held liable for civil consequences if injuries or property damage results from the contest.

In some jurisdictions, “spectators” can also face the same criminal consequences as the drivers in an illegal speed contest. A spectator is usually defined as someone who is present at a street racing location for the purpose of viewing, observing, witnessing or watching the event.

Also, any person who engages, aids in, assists with preparations, or participates in a speed contest can be cited as well.

What are the Consequences for Criminal Street Racing Charges?

Criminal consequences for criminal street racing charges may vary by state or jurisdiction. Penalties for drivers, spectators, and other participants will usually include:

  • Arrest and imprisonment for up to three months (possibly longer, depending on the circumstances
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Criminal fines, often in the range of up to $1,000
  • Revocation of driver’s license
  • Cancellation of vehicle insurance or a drastic increase of premiums
  • Equipment violations and other related citations

The charges may be elevated to a felony traffic violation if certain factors are present, such as drunk driving, causing serious bodily injury to another person, causing serious property damage, or injuring a police officer.

Defenses to street racing can involve a lack of evidence, an inability to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt, and other similar legal theories.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Street Racing Charges?

Street racing charges can be complex and can involve many different parties and legal issues. You may need to hire a criminal law attorney in your area to assist you with a street racing charge. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice and representation for your case.