The “sideshow,” speed contest, or exhibition of speed have become almost synonymous in the severity of the conviction. The young, experienced driver could get charged with reckless driving or an exhibition of speed trying to learn how to drive a manual transmission.
Is it any wonder many drivers no longer use a manual transmission even though these frequently get better gas mileage? Imagine getting charged with an exhibition of speed because you let the clutch out too quickly and squawked your tires.
Although, understandably, CA lawmakers and the State Assembly want to create new laws to deter these “sideshows,” hanging a misdemeanor record on a young, inexperienced driver is likely not the answer.
What Existing Laws Already Do to Prevent or Punish Reckless Driving & an Exhibition of Speed
Many California residents do not see a benefit to AB-3. In fact, in many cases, it just allows law enforcement to be more aggressive in applying their “subjective opinion” about what is “aiding and abetting” a sideshow and impounding a driver’s vehicle at an extreme expense.
Granted, the law allows the innocent driver to get their car back without paying the heavy impoundment fees, but that could take months to schedule and conduct a criminal trial. The innocent driver is without transportation to travel back-and-forth to work, family and school functions, and more. Where is the justice in that?
Currently, the traffic code addresses reckless driving and exhibition of speed:
- Prohibits “aiding or abetting” or participation in an exhibition of speed or speed contest.
- Provides for a jail sentence of up to 90 days, a $500 base fine, or both. Plus, the ten state and county surcharges, fees, and penalties will add nearly $1,500 to that base fine for a total of $2,030, plus another $2,000 or more for impoundment fees.
- Allows a vehicle impoundment for an exhibition of speed for 30 days. The law states “up to” 30 days, but in most cases, they will not get it back before the 30-days has expired. According to CALmatters.org, “On average, storage fees in California cost $53 a day, according to a report on how towing practices punish poor Californians. With fees and administrative costs, a 30-day impound can rack up roughly $2,000 in fees.” Plus, the city’s $225 administrative fee for processing.
- Prohibits a speed contest “against another vehicle, a clock, or other timing device.”
- Allows the court to suspend the license of a driver convicted of reckless driving or an exhibition of speed for 90 days up to six months.
- Allows a driver’s license restriction “…to and from work and for the purposes of work.”
One might ask, what is the purpose of AB-3? The above-mentioned penalties already allow jail time, high fines, vehicle impoundment, and a driver’s license suspension of up to six months. Where does the young driver who accidentally or otherwise pops the clutch and squawks their tires, come up with the $5,000 or $6,000?
Indeed, the creator, Assemblyperson Fong’s intentions were admirable with street racing and reckless driving being so prevalent here in Bakersfield; however, the increased pressure could cause LEOs to overreact to minor disturbances that are not reckless.
When charged with reckless driving, a speed contest or an exhibition of speed, you need the advice and counsel of a traffic ticket defender such as Bigger & Harman.
Consult the Traffic Ticket Defense Team of Bigger & Harman, APC, in Bakersfield in Kern County, CA
When you are charged with a speed contest, reckless driving, or an exhibition of speed, you must exercise your “right to remain silent,” and call Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
AB-3, Fong. Exhibition of Speed on a Highway.The ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION Laura Friedman, Chair AB 3 (Fong) – As Introduced December 7, 2020.pdf.