We've all seen street racing in the movies and on TV. A woman stands in the middle of the street, waves a scarf or flag, and the two studs in their souped-up cars burn rubber at top speed. But while this may look romantic and exciting in the movies, it can put pedestrians and other cars on the road in danger.
Street Racing in Texas
But after the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are taking to public streets to race their cars. Street takeovers and street races are happening more frequently in Texas and states across the U.S. Street “takeovers” involve cars coordinating to block off public intersections while cars do tricks like donuts, drifting, or ghost riding, where a driver jumps out of the car to dance or perform alongside a moving vehicle.
In mid-January of this year, a TikTok video of a street takeover in San Antonio went viral. Police reported that the takeover resulted in a four-vehicle crash and a shooting. To keep the streets safe, police are cracking down on enforcing street racing laws. Moreover, if you're arrested during a street racing or takeover incident and have been drinking, you could face additional charges for DWI. If that happens, attorney Doug Murphy is an expert in DWI Defense and Criminal Defense Law, and he can help. Call the Doug Murphy Law Firm at 713-229-8333.
Charges for Street Racing in Texas
Street or drag racing is illegal in Texas, and you can face several charges. While a first conviction for street racing is typically a Class B misdemeanor, if you are also intoxicated or have an open container of alcohol in the car, you could face a Class A misdemeanor. A first DWI is typically a Class B misdemeanor, but you'll face this charge in addition to any street racing charges. Moreover, If convicted of street racing, you may also face the forfeiture of any vehicle used in the race.
1. Reckless Driving
If you're arrested for street or drag racing, police may also charge you with reckless driving, which can be a Class B or Class C misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of your case.
2. Street Racing with Bodily Injury
If street racing injures or kills a participant, a bystander, or another person on the roadways, you could face charges for street racing with bodily injury. No matter how minor, any injury makes the crime a third-degree felony in Texas. Serious injury or death can increase the severity of the charge to a second-degree felony.
3. Organized Criminal Activity
Organized criminal activity is a broad Texas statute, and police can use it when three or more people organize a street race or takeover “with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination or as a member of a criminal street gang….” The list of qualifying crimes includes “unauthorized use of a vehicle.”
4. Deadly Conduct
Even if street racing doesn't injure someone, you could also face charges for deadly conduct. This crime happens when someone “recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.” Tex. Crim. Code § 22.05 (1994). A conviction for deadly conduct is a Class A misdemeanor.
You Need an Expert in Texas DWI and Criminal Defense
The consequences can be serious if you're facing street racing and DWI charges. You need an expert in DWI law to protect your rights during the process. Attorney Doug Murphy is a Board Certified expert in both DWI Defense and Criminal Defense law. Doug is one of only two attorneys in the state Board Certified in both these specialties, making him well-suited to handle complex DWI cases.
Best Lawyers in America from U.S. News and World Report also recently named Doug a 2023 “Lawyer of the Year” for Houston DWI Defense. Doug and the skilled team at the Doug Murphy Law Firm have been defending Texans from DWI charges for years, and they can help you too. Call them at 713-229-8333 or contact them online to schedule your consultation.