Street Racing “the operation of two or more motor vehicles from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance each other”
A Brief History of Street Racing
In light of the tragedy that occurred in Tampa as reported by the Saint Petersburg Times, We will review the history of street racing and law enforcement in Tampa Bay. Two drivers and a passenger face criminal street racing and homicide charges for killing a mother who was pushing her baby across the street.
Of the 130 ways you can go to jail for Criminal Traffic charges in Tampa, unlawful racing on the highway is one of them. Some jurisdictions have destroyed race cars used in street races and one Court in Florida has even chosen to declare the drag racing statute unconstitutional.
Drag racing on Gandy Boulevard, specifically on the bridge has been a Troublesome area for law enforcement in Tampa. Racers gather at 4th Street in Pinellas County and Stage there street races on Gandy Boulevard. When the racers exit the bridge they are in Hillsborough County and police attempt to stop cars involved in allegations of drag racing.
Prison for street racing has been imposed by courts in Tampa where a death has been involved. Sometimes police who do not witness the actual crash used video cameras from surrounding buildings to reconstruct what has occurred.
The Courtney Campbell Parkway has been the site of Street Racing incidents in the past years.
Usually police impose charges for misdemeanor racing. Those charges can result in an arrest and we have provided the racing statute Below in its entirety. Police have even given parking tickets to spectators for watching street racing.
The essence of a drag race is a competitive attempt to outdistance another vehicle. Sometimes that is difficult to prove. The police must establish that in fact what was underway what was a race. There is no requirement rent there is no requirement for a predetermined course just that the court or jury can reasonably interpret the driving event to be a race.
Spectators Can also be charged since it is an affirmative choice to attend or participate in the race. Courts are to look at the relationship between the race driver and the individual. Gambling or betting on the outcome of a race can be used to establish That a spectator was criminally involved in a race.
Vehicles used in street races can be forfeited by the state if the driver has been convicted within the past 5 years for street racing.
There are 130 ways to go to jail for traffic charges in Tampa. dui2go.com/130-ways-to-go-to-jail-in-traffic-court-florida-criminal-traffic-charges-complete-list/
Seizure and Destruction of Street Race Cars
Florida and California have seizure laws for street race cars. When the whoosh went out of the tires the street racer sighed, as glass exploded and rained down it all became real – the cops had crushed his car. The destruction was part of a smackdown on illegal street racing in Southern California. Cops crushed six race cars. A 350-horsepower 4 cylinder engine on which the racer spent at least $10,000 to get into top shape. The car would top out at 160 mph, the racer said, swearing it could beat a Corvette or even a Ferrari.
Prior Street Racing Cases in Florida
Drag Racing Statute Unconstitutional
Catching Street Racers just got a little tougher. Cops lost a valuable tool in the war on wheels. The street racing statute is unconstitutional according to the Fourth District Court of Appeals.
The court cleared a Broward teen who was driving 130 mph in a 65 mph zone. Officers couldn’t determine who was racing, and who was just passing another car that was also speeding. “You could have two people driving down the turnpike next to each other at the same rate of speed, and based on the way the statute is written, this is what the court said, that they both could be charged with drag racing,” says Elizabeth Parker with the State Attorney’s office.
70-people have been busted for drag racing in Palm Beach County in the last year. The penalties are harsh – Up to a year in jail and an automatic license suspension.
Drag Racing on Gandy Boulevard
Living around the Fourth Street/Gandy area is a drag for residents who adore peace and quiet. Drag racing in the area has been going on forever. Someone recently wrote the Saint Petersburg Times, “This stretch of road, from the Gandy/Roosevelt/Fourth Street intersection down to the Howard Frankland Bridge turnoff, has become a speedway. My safety concern is not only personal, but for the numerous families with children who live in the area.”
Cars regularly reach speeds well over 80 mph on Fourth Street N and drag racing on the weekends that starts on Friday and Saturday nights about midnight and goes until 2 or 3 a.m. “Cars with amplified motors and mufflers meet near the 7-Eleven at 115th Avenue and Fourth Street and drag race down the stretch of road and turn around at the last U-turn before the Gandy bridge. They often use the 7-Eleven as a turnaround as well,” a witness said.
The Pinellas County Sheriff”s Office said law enforcement is stymied by an organized underground group determined to break the law and evade police. One Deputy said, “Part of what makes it difficult is that the racers use the same technology we have. They use lookouts and radios and cell phones to communicate . . . We have undercover people in the crowd with cameras, documenting the crowds that gather there and we sometimes catch the spectators and have issued citations, but the citations have been dismissed by traffic court judges.”
Prison for Street Racing
Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney notes in a case where someone else was the defense attorney – Street racing in a Nissan 350Z, plus death of a bystander, plus a jury conviction equals vehicular homicide, reckless driving and unlawful racing, plus at least 15 years in prison.
As for the other racer – leaving the scene of the accident, plus testimony at the 350Z trial (to avoid a 30-year sentence) equals three years in prison.
The bystanders were making a U-turn when the 350Z slammed into them, according to published reports. Traffic Homicide investigators estimated speed at over 100 in a 45 mph zone. The defensee argued that what happened was nothing but a tragic accident. In a twist, the St Pete Times reported that “Prosecutors used video surveillance from a carwash . . . that captured the two cars racing.”
Tampa Street Racers and Spectators Need Lawyer
Tampa Traffic Lawyer notes an area cops cracked down on street racers and fans along Fourth Street N. Everyone began a dash for their cars when cops came down the I-275 interstate ramp. Cops blocked off the street to prevent escaping to I-275 or Gandy Blvd. Another target for traffic law enforcement is the Courtney Campbell Parkway.
The stretch of Fourth from I-275 to the Inlet Bay at Gateway apartment complex is flat and straight, four lanes surrounded by nothing but grass and water.
Earlier officers have arrested four people on misdemeanor racing charges. Cops videotaped license plates of racers and fans alike. A few days later, 130 drivers got $30 parking tickets in the mail. It’s now clear that fans are targets too. A $151 ticket and three points can be placed against a driver’s license. According to the media, the last ticket was written at 4:40 a.m. 31/2 hours, 221 citations, and a DUI arrest.
Tampa Street Racing Defense Attorney Penalties
Definitions of Street Racing in Florida:
(a) “Conviction” means a determination of guilt that is the result of a plea or trial, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld.
(b) “Drag race” means the operation of two or more motor vehicles from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance each other, or the operation of one or more motor vehicles over a common selected course, from the same point to the same point, for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of such motor vehicle or motor vehicles within a certain distance or time limit.
(c) “Race” means the use of one or more motor vehicles in competition, arising from a challenge to demonstrate superiority of a motor vehicle or driver and the acceptance or competitive response to that challenge, either through a prior arrangement or in immediate response, in which the competitor attempts to outgain or outdistance another motor vehicle, to prevent another motor vehicle from passing, to arrive at a given destination ahead of another motor vehicle or motor vehicles, or to test the physical stamina or endurance of drivers over long-distance driving routes. A race may be prearranged or may occur through a competitive response to conduct on the part of one or more drivers which, under the totality of the circumstances, can reasonably be interpreted as a challenge to race.
(d) “Spectator” means any person who is knowingly present at and views a drag race, when such presence is the result of an affirmative choice to attend or participate in the race. For purposes of determining whether or not an individual is a spectator, finders of fact shall consider the relationship between the racer and the individual, evidence of gambling or betting on the outcome of the race, and any other factor that would tend to show knowing attendance or participation.
(2)(a) A person may not:
1. Drive any motor vehicle, including any motorcycle, in any race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance, or exhibition of speed or acceleration or for the purpose of making a speed record on any highway, roadway, or parking lot;
2. In any manner participate in, coordinate, facilitate, or collect moneys at any location for any such race, competition, contest, test, or exhibition;
3. Knowingly ride as a passenger in any such race, competition, contest, test, or exhibition; or
4. Purposefully cause the movement of traffic to slow or stop for any such race, competition, contest, test, or exhibition.
Penalties Under Florida Law
Any person who violates any provision of this paragraph commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. Any person who violates any provision of this paragraph shall pay a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $1,000, and the department shall revoke the driver license of a person so convicted for 1 year. A hearing may be requested pursuant to s. 322.271.
(b) Any person who violates paragraph (a) within 5 years after the date of a prior violation that resulted in a conviction for a violation of this subsection commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, and shall pay a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $1,000. The department shall also revoke the driver license of that person for 2 years. A hearing may be requested pursuant to s. 322.271.
(c) In any case charging a violation of paragraph (a), the court shall be provided a copy of the driving record of the person charged and may obtain any records from any other source to determine if one or more prior convictions of the person for violation of paragraph (a) have occurred within 5 years prior to the charged offense.
(3)(a) A person may not be a spectator at any drag race prohibited under subsection (2).
(b) A person who violates the provisions of paragraph (a) commits a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.
(4) Whenever a law enforcement officer determines that a person was engaged in a drag race or race, as described in subsection (1), the officer may immediately arrest and take such person into custody. The court may enter an order of impoundment or immobilization as a condition of incarceration or probation. Within 7 business days after the date the court issues the order of impoundment or immobilization, the clerk of the court must send notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the registered owner of the motor vehicle, if the registered owner is a person other than the defendant, and to each person of record claiming a lien against the motor vehicle.
(a) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the impounding agency shall release a motor vehicle under the conditions provided in s. 316.193(6)(e), (f), (g), and (h), if the owner or agent presents a valid driver license at the time of pickup of the motor vehicle.
(b) All costs and fees for the impoundment or immobilization, including the cost of notification, must be paid by the owner of the motor vehicle or, if the motor vehicle is leased or rented, by the person leasing or renting the motor vehicle, unless the impoundment or immobilization order is dismissed. All provisions of s. 713.78 shall apply.
(c) Any motor vehicle used in violation of subsection (2) may be impounded for a period of 30 business days if a law enforcement officer has arrested and taken a person into custody pursuant to this subsection and the person being arrested is the registered owner or coowner of the motor vehicle. If the arresting officer finds that the criteria of this paragraph are met, the officer may immediately impound the motor vehicle. The law enforcement officer shall notify the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles of any impoundment for violation of this subsection in accordance with procedures established by the department. The provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) shall be applicable to such impoundment.
Lose Your Ride | Vehicle May Be Forfeited 316.191 Racing on Highways
(5) Any motor vehicle used in violation of subsection (2) by any person within 5 years after the date of a prior conviction of that person for a violation under subsection (2) may be seized and forfeited as provided by the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act. This subsection shall only be applicable if the owner of the motor vehicle is the person charged with violation of subsection (2).
(6) This section does not apply to licensed or duly authorized racetracks, drag strips, or other designated areas set aside by proper authorities for such purposes.
Cops Crush Street Racer Cars
Jun 21, 2007
When the whoosh went out of the tires the street racer sighed, as glass exploded and rained down it all became real – the cops had crushed his car. The destruction was part of a smackdown on illegal street racing …
Tampa Street Racers and Spectators Need Lawyer
Tampa StPetersburg Pinellas Hillsborough Street Racing Tampa Traffic Attorney, Lawyer notes that area cops cracked down on street racers and fans along Fourth Street N. Everyone began a dash for their cars when cops came down the I-275 …
Racing on Gandy Boulevard
Living around the Fourth Street/Gandy area is a drag for residents who adore peace and quiet. Drag racing in the area has been going on forever. Someone recently wrote the Saint Petersburg Times, “This stretch of road, …
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