Although authorities and even the mayor were quick to accuse the driver of participating in a speed contest that resulted in a head-on collision that took the life of an innocent Bakersfield woman here in Bakersfield, not everyone who is accused is guilty.
This commentary is not intended to minimize the severity of side shows, speed contests, or exhibitions of speeds. This conduct is dangerous and should be dealt with in line with the risk it poses to our city’s residents. However, creating new laws that mimic those already there will not solve the problem; more money is needed to put more law enforcement officers on the streets.
Even Assemblymember Vince Fong’s AB-3, Exhibition of Speed on the Highway, doesn’t allocate more money to police the problem (except for overtime).
“It (AB-3) doesn’t give us more people to do this, but it allows us to pay our current officers overtime for working on these types of events.” — Sheriff Donny Youngblood.
Some believe it is a step in the right direction (even though it doesn’t go into effect until 2025), but it shouldn’t cause innocent drivers to not only have a thirty day impound of their vehicle (already the current law) but a six month suspension because law enforcement’s understandable frustration with the current lawlessness on our streets causes them to write people up on a suspicion rather than verifiable facts. Tens of thousands of California drivers who had their licenses suspended and their vehicles impounded (innocent or guilty) never got them back.
Many who had their vehicle impounded or driver’s license suspended faced a downward spiral of unemployment, and their lives took a financial downturn.
Illegal “sideshows” and speed contests have become too widespread and frequent across California over the past few years. Many innocent Bakersfield residents have been swept up in Bakersfield Police Department (BPD) dragnets along with the guilty.
Without prior knowledge of these events, it is too easy to get caught up in these illegal activities, even when returning from the store or work. Many innocent victims have been accused of “aiding and abetting” the sideshow because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Others have been charged with reckless driving, participating in a sideshow, speed contest, or an exhibition of speed because they exceeded the speed limit or left a traffic light aggressively. Some were speeding because they thought it would be safer to get away from a road rage incident or just in a hurry to get to work or an appointment.
It is up to the justice system to determine their guilt or innocence. Automatic suspensions from DMV without a finding in court should not be a part of our system.
What to Do If You Are Wrongly Accused of Reckless Driving, Participating in a Speed Contest, or Exhibition of Speed
The Bakersfield Traffic Ticket Team of Bigger & Harman can help. They have been helping Kern County drivers protect their driving privileges for years.
Reckless driving, speed contests, and exhibitions of speed are misdemeanor charges. Therefore, when charged, exercise your “right to remain silent,” and call us for an immediate consultation. We’re right here in Bakersfield, and we can help.
For more information, read our blog, The History of the “Sideshow,” Exhibition of Speed, Reckless Driving, & How It Led to AB-3, or our June ’22 flip book, What Are Sideshows?
Ask Bigger & Harman in Bakersfield in Kern County, CA
Call Bigger & Harman (661) 349-9300 when charged with reckless driving, an exhibition of speed, or participating in a speed contest.
Due to heightened awareness, other illegal activities, and casualties, many are caught up in dragnets simply for being in the wrong place. Give us a call to discuss your situation before making a statement to law enforcement or court officials.
You can also use the convenient contact form on our website.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The Bakersfield.com News article, 'Staggering' rise in street racing prompts law enforcement to speak out.