In recent years, the sport of street racing has returned to American towns and cities. Once practiced by teens in the 1950s and early 1960s, youths in American and around the world have rediscovered this extreme sport to the consternation of law enforcement.
Street racing is simply motor vehicles pitted against each other on city streets, country roads, parking lots or any straightaway and then racing at top speeds. Participants and spectators take videos of the events and post them on YouTube, especially if something goes wrong such as a spectacular crash.
There is a financial incentive to posting videos on YouTube since those who post them can get paid if there are a minimum number of views and there are advertisements on the page. The danger to those depicted, however, is that if they are engaged in an illegal act, law enforcement can use the video as evidence of a crime and arrest those who are participating.
In Florida, street racing is illegal. It is referred to by statute as “drag racing or distance racing.” The statute requires that the drivers are engaged in trying to “outgain or outdistance another vehicle...through a prearranged or competitive response.”
While many YouTube videos are of poor quality, local law enforcement may be able to identify participants and their vehicles either through license plates, markings on vehicles, or having knowledge of the participants through their criminal records.
Police can also identify the streets or areas where the racing is taking place, wait for the event to begin and then conduct a strategic sting.
If you are arrested for street racing in Florida, you face a first degree misdemeanor charge which carries a maximum one (1) year jail sentence, a year of probation and a fine up to $1,000. You can also lose your driving license for one year.
Should this be your second offense within 5 years, the fine is a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $3,000 and loss of your driving privileges for 2 years.
A third or subsequent violation means a fine of at least $2,000 and up to $5,000. Also, you can lose your license for 4 years.
Also, under certain circumstances, Florida law enforcement can impound your vehicle for up to 30-days.
Spectators at these events can also face penalties though it is considered a noncriminal traffic infraction.
Contact a street racing criminal defense attorney immediately to find out your rights.