Racing / Exhibition of Speed in Arizona
Transcript of Racing / Exhibition of Speed Video
Arizona has a very common traffic violation that’s actually a lot more serious than people may otherwise expect. It’s called racing or exhibition of speed.
In Arizona this is a class one misdemeanor, which is the highest classification of a misdemeanor offense that we have.
It also carries with it eight points that would go on your license.
If you get convicted a second time within two years, this turns into a felony. It’s very serious. It’s important that it’s dealt with appropriately.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the most common ways that we see it charged and what some of the best defenses are.
Let’s take a look at where we see this most frequently.
If you look at the statute, it’s 28-708A. It’s not a very well written statute. It’s not something that is very clear on what it means.
It has some definitions in there but it’s very choppy-, it says a lot of things – it has a lot of “or’s”, or “and’s” and so the actual content – the actual definition of what constitutes a violation of the statute can be a little bit hard to decipher.
We’ll tell you the most common ways that we see it.
The most common is when people are in vehicles next to each other, and they are racing.
They are literally starting from the same starting point. The light will turn green and they will both take off.
This is probably the hardest type to defend.
An officer is likely to stop both people and they will both admit that they were racing.
Person in this car will say yes, that was my friend from work.
The person in car B will say yes, that was my friend from work.
Both will admit that they were racing.
That’s probably the hardest type to prove.
It is common but it’s actually not the most common.
What we see more frequently is these two people will not know each other.
It will be two people, they’ll be leaving a grocery store or a movie or something along those lines and they may have a little bit of an incident with one another while they’re on the road and they will be going quickly.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re racing one another.
They’re not starting from the same starting point and they’re not trying to out distance one another.
This is not a drag racing situation like we see in the Fast and Furious movies or any of those other racing movies.
It’s just two people who may be a little bit angry at one another and they’re just trying to get away from each other or one person is trying to get ahead of the other person, but they don’t actually know each other and this was not an actual situation where they sat down and said, let’s race, let’s see if my car’s faster than your car or any of those things.
We see that quite a bit as well. We also see sometimes where this person in this car will be very scared.
Person A will be flailing at them or flippin’ them the bird or they’ll be screaming at them and person B in this car will be trying to get away.
The officer may stop this person and not recognize that there was some sort of a road rage situation where somebody else was actually causing them to accelerate more quickly than they otherwise may have.
That’s pretty common.
The other way we see it is when somebody is squealing their tires.
Somebody is in a parking lot, they’re making a quick turn or they’re at a stop lot and they accelerate very quickly, and their tires will squeal.
This also happens in certain areas like downtown Scottsdale or Mill Avenue in Tempe, or in Glendale around the sports stadium where somebody will be making a sharp turn or they’ll be accelerating quickly in a nicer kind of higher performance vehicle and the tires will squeal.
They’re not actually racing but this is what’s called an exhibition of speed. And that’s the second part of the statute here.
It’s saying that they were doing something with their vehicle to exhibit the vehicle’s power, to exhibit the vehicle’s speed, to show that off and police love to write that.
They’ll write somebody for a class one misdemeanor for just squealing their tires
When you’ve ever driven a vehicle you know that this happens all the time.
If you’re in a parking garage, if you’re making a very tight turn, something may happen and depending on the surface of the road, depending on your tires, they may just squeal.
It’s just something that happens.
So, it’s important to know that these are kind of the two most common ways that we see it.
That don’t necessarily constitute racing, okay?
It’s not like it’s Vin Diesel and the other people in the movies sitting down and actually trying to race.
These are a little bit more common traffic infractions that may be elevated into that class one misdemeanor.
Defense in Exhibition / Racing Cases
Now, the defenses really start by attacking the elements.
If they’re saying that you were racing, they need to justify what that means and generally what the statute is saying is that it’s two people trying to outdistance on another or trying to avoid having somebody pass that other vehicle.
Let’s go to this example here.
So if car A is accelerating quickly and trying to stop car B from passing him and car A goes over here to stop car B, an officer may look at that and say, okay you were trying to prevent this vehicle from passing you so you were essentially racing that vehicle in order to get ahead of them.
So if something like that happens you need to basically refute that. You need to say no that’s not what happened factually.
There was no racing. I didn’t know this other individual. I wasn’t actually trying to pass him. I was trying to get away from him. The person was causing me anxiety. He was causing me to be scared or fear for my life and my safety and so I was doing some driving maneuvers.
It’s okay to drive and have some driving maneuvers when you’re driving on the road ways.
That doesn’t mean that everything constitutes racing or exhibition of speed.
Same here with the squealing tires.
It’s also important to say look I wasn’t trying to actually rev my engine or squeal my tires out.
I may have accidentally hit the gas too hard, the surface my have been very squealable.
There are some surfaces where cars just squeal like a parking garage, I’ve driven through many of them where every single lap and every single turn is a squeal all the way up.
So depending on the specifics of the case, you want to attack the facts. You want to attack the elements of the offense and say there was no racing. There was certainly no drag racing. We were stopped. We weren’t on a racing course. We weren’t having multiple people, bystanders watching the race or any of those things.
And certainly I wasn’t trying to exhibit a certain speed. I wasn’t trying to rev my engine or smoke my tires or any of those things and so quite simply the elements of the offense under the statute just don’t match the facts. That’s number one.
Number two, generally, there may or may not be a witness. So there may not be somebody who would, the other driver in this car, they may not have been around so sometimes the officer will stop both vehicles and both people will admit that they were racing.
In most cases that doesn’t happen. The officer will only stop one person and the other person will go about their business.
So if you don’t have that other person to affirm that there was some sort of race or their was some sort of competition between these two cars, and the person in the driver, the person who was stopped and who was being cited never admits to speeding, doesn’t acknowledge that there was actually any racing going on, was just explaining that they were driving normally or something along those lines and there’s really nobody else to testify that there was a competition between these two vehicles.
So, a lack of witnesses may also be a very strong defense. The other thing that you want to do is, and I touched upon this briefly is have some alternative explanations.
- What else would’ve caused this to happen?
- Were there external circumstances?
- Was the person who was cited for this violation even aware of the other driver?
- Were they actually racing?
- Did they accelerate very quickly or did the officer catch them after the acceleration started?
So they may have been speeding but they weren’t accelerating like you would in a race.
They weren’t going from zero to 100 extremely quickly.
The officer has basically caught them going 70 and said well I presume that you accelerated quickly because you were racing. You don’t, in a race you accelerate quickly.
You have to out distance the other member because, the other person because time is important. Time matters.
And if that’s not happening here, that may not constitute racing. There’s an alternative explanation for that. Just like with the squealing tires.
There are many reasons why tires squeal, doesn’t necessarily mean there was an exhibition of speed at all.
And of course mitigation is important. This is important in every single criminal case but it’s important to have a background on you the person who’s charged so we can say there’s no history of racing, driving record’s very good, no speeding tickets, no criminal record at all, and so the conduct that’s alleged in this case, is totally out of the ordinary.
It’s not something that is common.
We don’t have a, we don’t see a history of speeding or racing or any traffic or moving violations at all from this person. And so this is kind of a general overview.
You can imagine there are many more defenses.
A lot of it’s going to be very specific to your particular case.
- Where was an officer?
- What did he see?
- How did he measure speed?
- What did he call in it dispatch?
- What’s his background on this?
- What’s his training and experience or her training and experience?
There’s a lot of specifics that go through your case but it is important you understand at least the general overview on how this worked because it is a serious offense.
If you get charged a second time for this, within 24 months it’s a felony.
And they can ask for jail time, they can theoretically ask for prison if they wanted to if it’s felony, but it’s eight points that go on your record so, there’s a lot of consequences for this offense.
Some people don’t recognize that especially if it’s a tire squealing situation.
They just don’t understand, this is a very serious charge.
If you’ve been charged with this offense, if you want to speak to our office about your case specifically so we can develop a plan and make sure that you have the best options to make sure this doesn’t go on your record give our office a call.
We offer free case evaluations and we’re happy to sit down with you. Thanks for watching.
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