We all have visions of street racing from the movies; whether it's Danny and Leo facing off in Grease, the Fast and the Furious, or American Graffiti, street racing has been around almost as long as we've had cars to race. But when it happens on a public roadway, it can be dangerous for the racers and everyone else on the road, particularly if the participants are intoxicated. In Texas, after a spate of street racing and street “takeovers,” authorities are cracking down to keep the roads safe.
Street Takeovers in Texas
A street takeover, sometimes called a “sideshow,” involves blocking off intersections or roads with flash mobs of spectators. Drivers then do stunts like doughnuts, drifting, and “ghost riding,” where the driver jumps out of a moving car to dance or perform beside the car before jumping back in. But street takeovers can be as dangerous as street racing, particularly when large groups gather on public streets.
In Euless, a Dallas-Fort Worth suburb, a recent street takeover of a major intersection had drivers doing donuts, burning rubber, and speeding near crowds of spectators. Meanwhile, a street takeover in Fort Worth in January resulted in two people dead and two injured. According to police, several cars blocked an intersection and were racing and drifting before the crash. Also in January, a TikTok video showing a street takeover in San Antonio went viral after several people blocked traffic on I-10 and began doing donuts, with one person firing a gun. When police arrived, a driver tried to race off, causing a four-car crash.
Legal Consequences of Street Racing and DWI
The police often pair monitoring and enforcement of street racing and takeover gatherings with DWI enforcement. According to the San Antonio Police Department, when they hear about large car club gatherings involving street takeovers, their street crimes unit takes the lead, with the DWI unit as a backup. They even use helicopters to monitor and follow drivers and keep the roads safe.
If you're caught by police participating in street racing or a street takeover, you can face serious legal consequences. In addition to traffic violations, you could face criminal charges for street racing or “organized criminal activity.” While the organized criminal activity statute doesn't specifically mention street racing or takeovers, it's a broadly written statute that also covers “unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.” Tex. Penal Code § 71.02(a) (2021).
In addition, if the police believe you are also driving while intoxicated, you can face additional charges. A first DWI is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail, court-imposed fines of up to $2,000, and a mandatory administrative fine of at least $3,000. If someone dies or is seriously injured during a street racing or takeover incident when you're intoxicated, you could also face charges for intoxication assault, intoxication manslaughter, or street racing with bodily injury, which are all felony charges.
You Need a Skilled DWI Defense
If you're facing DWI or other charges after a street racing or takeover incident, the consequences can be serious, with years in jail for a felony conviction. But you are innocent until proven guilty and entitled to the best defense to protect your rights. Attorney Doug Murphy is an expert in DWI Defense and Criminal Defense Law and is well-versed in handling complex misdemeanor and felony cases. In fact, Doug is one of two attorneys in the entire state of Texas who is Board Certified in both DWI Defense and Criminal Defense Law.
U.S. News and World Report's Best Lawyers in America also recently named Doug a “Lawyer of the Year” for 2023 Houston DWI defense. Find out what he can do for you. Call the Doug Murphy Law Firm at 713-229-8333 or contact them online to schedule your consultation today.