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Street Racing in Florida

Film and television often depict street racing as an exhilarating and harmless sport, with those who partake walking away from serious crashes both physically and legally unscathed. Social media platforms have also aided in turning videos of street racing into viral content to be admired. However, the legal repercussions that stem from street racing and the physical injuries that are often caused by it are very serious. If you or a loved one is charged with illegal street racing, contact an experienced defense attorney in Tallahassee, FL.

Statutory Guidelines & Punishments for Street Racing

The rules regarding street racing on highways are codified in Florida Statute 316.191. According to the statute, a person commits a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year imprisonment, a fine of no less than $500 and no more than $1,000, and a revocation of the offender’s driver’s license for one year if they:

  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 for the purpose of making a speed record on any highway, roadway, or parking lot;
  2. In any matter 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.

The statute differentiates between a “drag race,” which takes place between two or more motor vehicles, and a “race,” which takes place between one or more motor vehicles for competition. In addition, it defines “spectator” as any person who is knowingly present at and views a drag race or race when such presence is the result of an affirmative choice to attend or participate in the race.

In addition, any person who commits a second street racing violation within five years after the date of a prior violation that resulted in a conviction or violation under Florida Statute 316.191 commits a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year imprisonment, a fine of no less than $1,000 and no more than $3,000, and a revocation of the offender’s driver’s license for two years. Any person who commits a third or subsequent violation commits a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year imprisonment, a fine of no less than $2,000 and no more than $5,000, and a revocation of the offender’s driver’s license for four years. If a person is found to be a spectator at a street race, they can receive a noncriminal traffic infraction. If law enforcement has probable cause to believe a person has violated Florida Statute 316.191, they may arrest and take the person into custody without a warrant. Law enforcement may also impound the motor vehicle used in the offense for a period of 30 business days.

The Common Results of Street Racing

Street racing can lead to disastrous car accidents that not only physically harm others, but significantly impact the life of the driver forever. Often, a perilous result of street racing is vehicular homicide. According to Florida Statute 782.071, anyone who kills another human being by the operation of a motor vehicle in a reckless manner that is likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another is guilty of vehicular homicide. Vehicular homicide is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If, at the time of the accident, the person knew, or should have known that the accident occurred or failed to give information and render

aid, the offense is upgraded to a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. To read more about vehicular homicide, visit Pumphrey Law- Vehicular Manslaughter/Homicide. Another common result of street racing is a reckless driving charge. According to Florida Statute 316.192, any person who drives a motor vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. Any person convicted of reckless driving shall be punished by imprisonment for no more than 90 days, by a fine no less than $25 and no more than $500, or both. On a second or subsequent conviction, the person shall be punished by imprisonment for no more than 6 months, by a fine of no less than $450 and no more than $1,000, or both. Furthermore, a charge of reckless driving with serious bodily injury can also result from street racing. The term “serious bodily injury” means an injury to another person, which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. This offense is a third-degree felony and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of no more than $5,000, or both. To read more about reckless driving, visit Pumphrey Law- Reckless Driving  

A Growing Problem

According to Insurify Insights , Florida is one of the top ten states in the country with the most street racing, with 8 in 100,000 drivers having received a street racing violation. Specifically, central Florida has become a hub for illegal street racing, with law enforcement seeing a drastic increase in its prevalence as participants view it as nothing but harmless fun. In fact, law enforcement throughout Florida are having to break up illegal street racing events every single weekend, a task that is straining their resources and resulting in numerous deaths. The Deadly 2018 Bayshore Street-Racing Crash  has garnished significant media attention the last three years and took place on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa when Cameron Herrin and John Barrineau killed Jessica Reisinger Raubenolt and her 21-month-old daughter Dillia as they were lawfully crossing the street. Herrin was eighteen at the time and the driver of the car who hit the victims moving at 102 mph in a 45-mph zone. Barrineau was seventeen at the time and was racing with Herrin when the accident happened. As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Barrineau pled guilty in December 2020 to two counts of vehicular homicide and a misdemeanor racing charge in exchange for a sentence of six years in prison followed by 15 years of probation. He will also have to complete 200 hours of community service with 100 of those hours including speaking to youth about the dangers of reckless driving. This past April, Herrin was sentenced and is in the process of appealing his 24-year sentence in prison for two counts of vehicular homicide, which is 6 years short of the maximum 30-year sentence.

Criminal Defense Firm in Tallahassee, Florida

Those charged with street racing and the offenses that often accompany it can face serious legal repercussions. Contact a Tallahassee criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to explore your options and ensure you are provided the best defense possible. Don Pumphrey and the members of the legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm are extensively educated in vehicular offenses and will be adamant in pursuing justice on your behalf. Call a defense attorney today at (850) 681-7777 or send an online message to discuss your options during an open and free consultation with an attorney in our legal team.

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