With an increasing number of traffic violations involving exhibitions of speed and reckless driving, California has cracked down on these offenses.
This blog post will provide an overview of California's position on these serious matters and why a knowledgeable traffic attorney is essential if you're facing either of these charges.
Exhibitions of Speed & Reckless Driving Are Misdemeanor Crimes
California Vehicle Code Sections 23103 and 23109, Public Offenses, cover reckless driving and exhibitions of speed, respectively. Both violations are considered misdemeanor crimes with potentially significant consequences.
“A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.” — CVC 23103.
In many cases, when you are charged with an exhibition of speed or speed contest as part of an illegal sideshow, law enforcement can impound your vehicle for up to 30 days. The towing and storage fees can quickly amount to more than $1,000 within that 30 days.
A conviction may result in your license being suspended and a possibility of serving up to three months in jail. Additionally, you could face a base fine between $355 and $1,000 or a combination of both fine and jail time. Such serious consequences warrant a strong legal defense. After adding assessments, penalties, and surcharges, the total fine can equal five times the base fine.
Sideshows Have Become a Major Problem for CA Law Enforcement
Illegal sideshows, or impromptu exhibitions of speed, have become increasingly problematic for law enforcement in California. These events often involve numerous vehicles performing dangerous stunts, attracting large crowds and disrupting traffic flow. Some of these out-of-control vehicles have killed innocent bystanders.
Attendees should be aware that even their presence at these events can be considered "aiding and abetting" a misdemeanor crime, potentially leading to legal repercussions.
“A person shall not, for the purpose of facilitating or aiding or as an incident to any motor vehicle speed contest or exhibition upon a highway or in an off-street parking facility, in any manner obstruct or place a barricade or obstruction or assist or participate in placing a barricade or obstruction upon a highway or in an off-street parking facility.” — CVC Section 23109.
With the passage of AB-3, more stringent laws have been created to fight these illegal activities. Unfortunately, many innocent Bakersfield and Kern County residents are caught up in police efforts to round up criminal participants. If you are arrested for “aiding and abetting” one of these events because you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, keep quiet and call Bigger & Harman immediately.
“Existing law prohibits a person from engaging in a motor vehicle exhibition of speed on a highway or aiding or abetting in a motor vehicle exhibition of speed on any highway. Upon conviction, existing law punishes a person by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than 90 days, by a fine of not more than $500, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
This bill would, commencing July 1, 2025, additionally authorize the court to order the privilege to operate a motor vehicle suspended for 90 days to 6 months and restrict the person’s operation of a motor vehicle for the purposes of their employment, as specified.” — AB 3, Fong. Exhibition of speed on a highway.
Road Rage Can Turn into Reckless Driving
A momentary loss of temper on the road can escalate quickly into an instance of reckless driving. Mitigating road rage is crucial for maintaining safety on the roads. Techniques include deep breathing, listening to calming music, or simply pulling over to take a break if your emotions run high. Remember, engaging in road rage puts you and others at risk and increases your chances of facing reckless driving charges.
When Charged with an Exhibition of Speed or Reckless Driving, You Need a Traffic Attorney with Trial Experience
Facing a charge of reckless driving or participating in an exhibition speed or speed contest can be a stressful and daunting experience, particularly given the potential penalties.
That's why you should consider a traffic attorney with trial experience. A seasoned attorney can examine the details of your case, develop a strong defense strategy, and work tirelessly to protect your rights. An attorney’s experience in the courtroom can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.
Ultimately, California's stance on exhibitions of speed and reckless driving is stringent, reflecting the serious nature of these offenses. With the potential for severe penalties, including license suspension, hefty fines, and even jail time or probation, it's essential to take these charges seriously. If you find yourself facing such a charge, it's essential to “exercise your right to remain silent” and enlist the help of an experienced traffic attorney as soon as possible.
Consult with Bigger & Harman, APC. in Bakersfield About Exhibitions of Speed & Reckless Driving Charges
When cited for reckless driving, participating in speed contests, or exhibitions of speed, you must exercise your right to remain silent and call Bigger & Harman, APC, at (661) 349-9300.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
CVC Section 23103 & 23109, Public Offenses.