A city-wide crackdown on illegal street racing in recent weeks has led to multiple arrests in Southeast Houston. According to police records, law enforcement has arrested several individuals and impounded multiple vehicles. These arrests occurred in the early morning hours of August 31 and September 1.
According to representatives from the Houston Police Department as well as the Texas Department of Public Safety, law enforcement had been investigating local car clubs for their involvement in these dangerous races.
The members of the club allegedly stopped traffic at the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Reed Road in southeast Houston to compete in street races. Drivers were also allegedly involved in “sideshow” acts like spinning out their vehicles as onlookers watched.
At approximately 2:30 A.M. on August 31, police swooped in to make arrests. In addition to any street-racing charges they might face, some defendants were also arrested on charges of fleeing and driving under the influence.
Illegal Racing on a Highway
Also known as drag racing, the charge of illegal racing on a highway is governed by Texas Statute § 545.420. The statute defines a drag race as:
– two or more vehicles from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance each other; or
– one or more vehicles over a common selected course, from the same place to the same place, for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of the vehicle or vehicles in a specified distance or time.
The statute is open-ended to outlaw any type of activity involving vehicles competing at high speeds on a city street. These charges are fairly subjective, given that it is a crime of intent. In fact, without an admission from a driver that they were racing, it can be difficult for a prosecutor to prove anything more than a speeding violation in some cases.
In these cases, it is crucial to discuss your case with a seasoned defense attorney before ever speaking to law enforcement. In most cases, your attorney will advise against discussing your case at all.
Penalties for Street Racing
The penalties for a street racing conviction can run the spectrum from low-level misdemeanor to serious felony depending on the circumstances. Most first-time offenders face a Class B misdemeanor, which carries up to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000. However, subsequent offenses can eventually result in a felony charge.
The penalties for street racing become severe when they result in a crash. You could face up to 10 years in state prison for a street race that results in an injury. In cases where a street-racing crash leads to severe injury or death, the maximum sentence is 20 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
Contact an Experienced Houston Street racing Defense Attorney
Because of the high stakes of a street racing conviction, you should never face prosecutors on your own. Contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. to discuss your options with a Board Certified expert in criminal defense law.