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Breaking Down a Racing Ticket

A standard speeding ticket has serious consequences for both your ability to drive and your ability to buy the things you want and need. There are a number of enhanced speeding offenses as well. VC Section 23109, the section having to do with racing and contests of speed, is a good example.

Penalty

The base fine is $75; after adding penalty assessments and costs, the total bail fee is $394. A 23109 violation is a two-point offense. Bear in mind that a motorist almost always receives a regular speeding ticket in addition to the 23109, which basically doubles both the total bail fee and the points. Enhancements apply if someone was injured during the incident.

Subsection (a) is the "drag racing" section. There is mandatory jail time involved, as well as a maximum $1,000 fine, a possible 180-day license suspension, and up to 40 hours of community service.

Elements of the offense

To establish the base subsection (c) offense, the prosecutor must show that the motorist essentially floored the accelerator to see how high the speedometer could go or how quickly it could accelerate. That same subsection also makes it a crime to aid and abet in an exhibition of speed, e.g. saying "I dare you to see how fast this car can go." A related subsection, (d), makes it a crime to create an obstruction on the road to facilitate a speed contest.

To establish subsection (a), the prosecutor must prove that the incident was an organized event. A simple agreement to race from point A to point B is sufficient; the event does not need to be a NASCAR race.

Defenses

In a regular speeding ticket, the state does not have to prove intent. But both (a) and (c) have an intent element, and intent is very hard to prove. A attorney practicing in Kern County can either challenge the intent altogether, or argue that the defendant did not have the criminal intent that the statute requires.