Street Racing and Exhibition of Speed Charges in Arizona

Speeding is one of the most common moving violations in Arizona. It is an infraction that means a driver has either exceeded the posted speed limit or is driving too fast for current conditions, such as bad weather. Speeding is punishable with fines and driver’s license suspension in Arizona. When a driver shows an exhibition of speed or participates in an illegal street race, however, the penalties can increase. Someone convicted of street racing in Arizona may face jail time.

Difference Between Racing, Drag Racing and Exhibition of Speed

Arizona Revised Statute 28-708 contains the state’s street racing law. It states that no driver may participate in any way in a race, drag race, exhibition of speed, speed competition, acceleration contest or contest for the purpose of breaking a speed record. The definitions of race, drag race and exhibition of speed differ slightly in the State of Arizona. Knowing these definitions could help a driver avoid sizable racing penalties.

  • Trying to outdistance or outrun a vehicle using another vehicle. Racing could also describe speeding to try to prevent another vehicle from passing.
  • Drag racing. A competition between two or more vehicles in which the vehicles travel side by side at accelerating speeds to try to outpace one another. Drag racing can also describe driving two or more vehicles on a selected course for the purpose of comparing each vehicle’s speed, acceleration or power.
  • Exhibition of speed. An unlawful exhibition of speed can describe many specific actions by a driver in Arizona. They include unnecessary engine noise, burning out, squealing the tires, rapid acceleration, weaving between lanes, leaving tire marks on the road, skidding and drifting.

These three actions are against the law in most states, including Arizona. One exception to the rule in Arizona is if a director has given someone written authorization to conduct an organized and carefully controlled racing event on part of a highway, such as a Grand Prix event. The authorization must specify the event’s date, time, location and any special required conditions.

Legal Consequences of Street Racing in Arizona

The law prohibits racing of any kind on all of Arizona’s streets and highways. If caught racing or showing an unlawful exhibition of speed, a driver could face serious penalties. A conviction for drag racing in Arizona, for example, could result in probation, fines, community service and possible jail time. Violating ARS 28-708 is a class 1 misdemeanor for a first offense and class 6 felony for a second offense within two years of the first. The statute outlines specific penalties for committing any type of street racing or exhibition of speed crime in Arizona.

  • Fine of $250 (first violation) to $500 (repeat offenders), plus surcharges
  • Jail time
  • Probation
  • Mandatory community restitution
  • Driver’s license suspension or revocation
  • Points on the driver’s record

If convicted of a second, third or subsequent street racing violation, the defendant will lose the possibility of probation, pardon and suspension of sentence until he or she has served at least 10 days in jail or prison. The penalties could further increase if convicted of other crimes in addition to street racing, such as driving while intoxicated or reckless endangerment.

Who Can Be Charged With Street Racing?

Any driver involved in an unauthorized street race, drag race or a similar competition could face street racing charges in Arizona. Spectators caught watching or observing the street racing event could also face street racing charges in some jurisdictions, as could passengers inside the vehicles. Citations could also go to anyone involved in arranging, setting up, preparing for, assisting with or participating in the street race. Someone charged with street racing in Arizona may not only face criminal consequences, but also civil charges for property damages or personal injuries caused by the race.

If you have been arrested or cited for street racing or exhibition of speed in Arizona, contact a criminal defense attorney in Glendale right away.