With fewer cars on New York roadways, speeding and illegal street racing are on the rise. Many drivers and daredevils are tempted by open roads, but the consequences for drag racing are rarely worth the thrill.
In New York, for example, illegal street racing is punishable with fines, jail time, and license revocation.
New York State fines first-time street racers $300 to $525. A second offense within 12 months can mean increased fines of $525 to $750. Depending on where the offense occurred, the driver may also have to pay a surcharge of $88 or $93.
Additionally, a conviction for street racing can raise insurance rates by up to 71%.
Street racing is a Class A misdemeanor, and anyone convicted of an “unauthorized speed contest” can be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail. If an individual is convicted twice within 12 months, they can face up to 6 months in jail.
A conviction for street racing will also appear on one’s permanent criminal record.
Instead of getting points against one’s license, street racing usually leads to drivers getting their licenses revoked. A driver’s license revocation is more serious than a suspension because drivers must reapply for a license at the end of the revocation period.
Many insurance companies will not cover accidents that occur during illegal street racing. If you get hurt or damage your vehicle, you may have to face the expenses on your own.
Street racing is also incredibly dangerous, and if you harm someone else while racing, you could face more severe criminal consequences and civil liability.
New York’s Unauthorized Speed Contest Laws
The state of New York addresses speed contests and races in Section 1182 of Vehicle & Traffic (VAT). According to the statute:
“no races, exhibitions or contests of speed shall be held and no person shall engage in or aid or abet in any motor vehicle or other speed contest or exhibition of speed on a highway.”
The New York State Department of Transportation clarifies this definition, by specifying that a speed contest is any event where the participant(s) are competing against a timer or other racers, and having the fastest completion time is the goal.
Defending a Racing Charge
When facing an unauthorized speed contest charge, many people turn to experienced criminal defense attorneys for assistance. Legal professionals like our lawyers at Foley Griffin, LLP understand both important legal precedents and the tactics that lead to favorable outcomes.
Under Mic Property & Casualty Corp. v. Avila, for instance, cars speeding down the road next to one another do not necessarily constitute a race, and under People v. Grund, a race must be planned by its competitors.