Racing in a motor vehicle can lead to dangerous situations on the roads throughout California. Due to the inherent danger of operating a motor vehicle at high speeds, drivers engaging in this behavior may be prosecuted under California Vehicle Code Section 23109(A): Engaging in a Speed Contest.
You can use this article to find out more about VC 23109(a). Let the legal professionals at the Simmrin Law Group go over the legal definition of engaging in a speed contest. Learn more about the results of a VC 23109(a) conviction and consider some legal defenses that can be used to face these accusations.
Engaging in a Speed Contest: The Legal Definition
According to VC 23106(a), individuals purposefully engage in a speed contest when they race a motor vehicle on a highway against:
- Another Vehicle
- A Clock
- Another Timing Devices
Note that the definition of motor vehicles in California is incredibly broad. Drivers can face VC 23109(a) charges if they are operating a bus, motorcycle, car, truck, or a commercial vehicle.
Exception to VC 23109(a)
Note that the court system in California specifically exempts certain actions from VC 23109(a) charges. A driver that times how long it takes to drive over 20 miles on a prescribed route without exceeding the speed limit should not face VC 23109(a) charges.
Offenses Associated with Engaging in a Speed Contest
You should also be aware that the court system can prosecute drivers for other acts associated with VC 23109(a) charges. These charges can include:
- Vehicle Code Section 23103: Reckless Driving
- Vehicle Code Section 23109(d): Placing Barricade On Highway Incident To A Speed Contest
- California Vehicle Code Section 23109(c): Exhibition of Speed
Speak with a traffic violations lawyer in Los Angeles to learn more about these criminal charges.
Engaging in a Speed Contest: Penalties for a Conviction
California’s court system can hand down a number of different penalties for a conviction for engaging in a speed contest. We’ll go over these repercussions right here:
A First-Time VC 23109(a) Charge Not Involving Injuries
Individuals arrested for a first time VC 23109(a) violation who did not hurt anymore else could be subjected to the following penalties:
- Fines of Up to $1,000
- Jail Time of Up to 90 Days
- License Suspension or Restriction of Up to Six Months
Subsequent VC 23109(a) Offenses
Drivers can face harsher penalties if they are convicted of another instance of engaging in a speed contest within five years of their initial conviction. This subsequent charge can result in:
- Fines of Up to $1,000
- Jail Time of Up to Six Months
- A Mandatory License Suspension or Restriction of at Least Six Months
VC 23109(a) Charges Involving Injuries
The court system generally increases the penalties if a driver injures someone while engaging in a speed contest. In fact, a driver that causes a serious bodily injury to another person could face the following penalties:
- Fines of Up to $1,000
- Jail Time of Up to One Year
Engaging in a Speed Contest: Possible Legal Defenses
You can get help constructing a defense against VC 23109(a) charges by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles right away. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can help you go over your unique legal options if you are accused of engaging in a speed contest. We could be able to argue that:
You Did Not Willfully Engage in a Speed Contest
You must intentionally take part in a speed contest to be convicted under VC 23109(a). This means that you could avoid a conviction if you did not realize you were speeding, for example. However, you could still face charges for exceeding the posted speed limit.
You Were Engaging in a Contest Allowable Under VC 23109(a)
We mentioned an exception to VC 23109(a) earlier in this article. Drivers are allowed to time themselves following a route that is longer than twenty miles as long as they don’t exceed the speed limit. If you adhered to these guidelines, you shouldn’t be convicted for engaging in a speed contest.
You Were Operating Your Vehicle on Private Property
Police officers should not arrest you on VC 23109(a) charges if you were driving your vehicle on private property. If you were not driving on a public road when arrested for engaging in a speed contest, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to build your case.
Get Professional Help Dealing with VC 23109(a) Accusations
The Simmrin Law Group can help you stand up to California Vehicle Code Section 23109(A): Engaging in a Speed Contest charges. Let us begin focusing on your defense now. Call us at (310) 896-2723 or complete our online contact form to get personalized advice.
Our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles can even offer you a FREE initial case evaluation.