The Fallout of Street Racing: Reckless Driving and Related Charges

Posted by Doug Murphy | Mar 31, 2023 | 0 Comments

If you live in the Houston area, you may have heard about the annual 2K drag race events over the weekend. The organizers host the yearly event at the Texas Raceway Park in Baytown, drawing thousands of visitors. But at this year's event, police noted that “spinoffs” of the drag racing event spilled over into the streets from Wednesday to Sunday, causing dangerous driving conditions on nearby streets. What may seem like harmless fun can endanger bystanders, drivers involved in the racing, and innocent drivers who happen to be on the same road. If you are facing charges in the wake of this event, contact Attorney Doug Murphy for help. Call 713-229-8333.

Drag Racing Spinoffs at 2K Event

According to the Harris County District Attorney, police arrested more than 100 people in five days during “spinoffs” of the 2K event after police observed street racing on highways and the surface roads of the freeways. Sgt. Matthew Hamm with the Houston Police Department reported, “[p]eople driving at extremely high rates of speed, doing what's called ‘fly-bys,' where along the service road people would be lined up, and the vehicles would go by at a high rate of speed. Also, we would see racing where cars would line up, and then they would give a signal to go, and then they would race each other.”

Street Racing in Texas

If the police arrest you for drag racing in Texas, you can face a wide range of charges, and the police can confiscate your vehicle, depending on the circumstances of your case.

  1. Street Racing

Street racing, often called drag racing, is illegal in Texas. Texas law prohibits participating in:

  • a race;
  • a vehicle speed competition or contest;
  • a drag race or acceleration contest;
  • a test of physical endurance of the operator of a vehicle; or
  • in connection with a drag race, an exhibition of vehicle speed or acceleration or to make a vehicle speed record.

Tex. Pen. Code § 545.420 (2009). A “drag race” means operating:

  • 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.

You could face serious consequences if the police arrest you for street racing in Houston. A first offense is often a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.

  1. Reckless Driving

If the police accuse you of drag racing, you can also face reckless driving charges, which can be Class B or Class C misdemeanor offenses depending on the circumstances of your case. Class C misdemeanors are punishable by up to a $500 fine, but Class B misdemeanors can result in jail time.

  1. Organized Criminal Activity

If you're caught drag racing, police can also charge you with “organized criminal activity.” This broad statute covers the “unauthorized use” of a car, but Texas police have used this section of the criminal code to crack down on street racing. See Tex. Penal Code § 71.02(a) (2021). Organized criminal activity can be up to a state jail felony, punishable by 180 days to two years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. Under this statute, the state can also seize your vehicle involved in street racing.

  1. Street Racing with Bodily Injury

Similarly, street racing with bodily injury is also a felony charge, which you can face if someone is seriously injured or dies due to street racing or drag racing.

  1. Deadly Conduct

If the police arrest you for street racing in Texas, you could also face charges for deadly conduct. Deadly conduct happens when someone “recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.” Tex. Crim. Code § 22.05 (1994). Driving at high rates of speed and street racing undoubtedly qualify as recklessly placing someone in danger. Deadly conduct is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

You Need an Expert in Texas Criminal Defense

Houston-area police are cracking down on street racing, and if you've gotten caught up in a drag race arrest, you could face harsher punishments right now. That's why you need the best defense you can find to protect your rights and ensure you don't get a raw deal. Attorney Doug Murphy is an expert in Texas Criminal Defense Law and DWI Defense, with experience handling complex felony cases. Doug is one of only two attorneys in Texas who is Board Certified in both Criminal Defense and DWI Defense.

Best Lawyers in America from U.S. News and World Report named Doug “Lawyer of the Year” for Houston DWI Defense in 2021 and 2023. Find out how Doug and the Doug Murphy Law Firm team can help you. Call them at 713-229-8333 or contact them online to schedule your consultation.

About the Author

Doug Murphy

Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and also in DWI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense, accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.


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