Jacksonville Racing on a Highway Lawyer

helps people defend against 
Racing on a Highway 

LGL has an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney who has handled countless driving offenses, including Racing on a Highway.  This is an often misunderstood and overcharged law.  You can lose your license, incur heavy fines, have your vehicle impounded, incur other collateral consequences, and even be sentenced to jail, if you are convicted of Racing on Highways.  Give our criminal lawyer a call to discuss your case.


The Florida legislature has passed a new law relating to Racing on a Highway.  Beginning on July 1, 2024, the following changes to the existing law will go into effect:
  • Creates new coordinated street takeover crime
    • Coordinated street takeover defined
      • 10 or more vehicles operated in an organized manner to effect a street takeover
    • If engaged in racing on the highways (subsections 2(a)(d)(e) or (f) and engaged in coordinated street takeover, it is a 3rd degree felony  
    • Fine of not less than $2,500 and not more than $4,000
    • May seize vehicle used in violation of (d) - purposefully impeding traffic (10 or more vehicles)
    • Mandatory driver license revocation of 2 years
  • Increases max fine for 1st violation
    • Increases maximum fine from $1,000 to $2,000
    • Leaves minimum fine at $500
  • Increases penalty for 2nd violation and reduces time between offenses
    • Second violation within 1 year (was 5 years) now a 3rd degree felony (was a 1st degree misdemeanor). 
    • Increases minimum fine from $1,000 to $2500 
    • Increases maximum fine from $3,000 to $4,000  
    • Mandatory DL revocation is still 2 years 
  • Creates new penalty for obstructing emergency vehicles
    • Knowingly impede, obstruct, or interfere with an authorized emergency vehicle which is on call and responding to an emergency other than the racing on the highway is a 3rd degree felony. 
    • A second or subsequent offense of racing on the highways and obstructing emergency vehicles is a 2nd degree felony and mandatory 4 year DL revocation. 
  • Increases penalty for a third or subsequent violation within 5 years
    • 3rd or subsequent violation within 5 years is a 2nd degree felony (was a first degree misdemeanor).
    • Increases the minimum fine range from $2,000 to $3,500. 
    • Increases the maximum fine from $5,000 to $7,500. 
    • Mandatory DL revocation is still 4 years. 
  • Specifies fine for Spectator non-moving violation
    • Creates a fine of $400
  • Impoundment or immobilization
    • Allows for 30 business day impoundment or immobilization on first offense even if the defendant is not the registered owner of the vehicle

What is Racing on a Highway?

The crime of Racing on a Highway was passed primarily to prohibit drag racing or street racing on public roads.  However, Jacksonville police officers often use this statute to charge people who simply rev their engine and/or squeal their tires at a stop light after the light turns green.  The officer will typically give you a citation.  This citation is a Notice to Appear and it has the same legal effect as an actual arrest.  You must set a court date and you will go before a criminal judge.  This is a criminal offense that can have serious consequences for your license, employment, and record.  You may have been improperly charged with Racing on a Highway.  Even if you were properly charged, a criminal defense attorney may be able to obtain pretrial diversion, lessor fines, alternative charges, or even dismissal.  Every case is different, so give our Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys a call today to discuss your case.  

Racing on a Highway is defined in Florida Statute Section 316.191.  In order to be convicted of Racing on the Highway, the State must prove that you:

    1. drove a motor vehicle in, or
    2. participated, coordinated, facilitated, or collected monies at any location for, or
    3. knowingly rode as a passenger in, or
    4. purposely caused moving traffic to slow or stop for

  1. a race, or
  2. a drag race or
  3. acceleration contest, or
  4. a speed competition or contest, or
  5. a test of physical endurance, or
  6.  an exhibition of speed or acceleration, or
  7. an attempt to make a speed record

  1. on a highway, or
  2. roadway, or
  3. parking lot. 

Do the police need a warrant to arrest someone for Racing on Highways?

No. The statute authorizes law enforcement to make an arrest based on probable cause, so no warrant is needed. 
What if I am just watching other people race?

A spectator who is knowingly present and views a drag race or street takeover commits a nonmoving traffic infraction.  A spectator can't be arrested or jailed, but can be fined.  As of July 1, 2024, the fine will be $400. 
What qualifies as a "motor vehicle?"

A motor vehicle includes any self-propelled vehicle that is not operated on rails or guideway. 

Included, but not limited to:
  • Car
  • Truck
  • Motorcycle
  • Moped
  • All-terrain Vehicle
  • Off-road Vehicle
  • Vehicle not licensed to operate on a highway or roadway

What are the possible consequences of a Racing on Highways conviction?

You may be surprised to hear that a violation of the Racing on Highways statute is a First Degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail.  That doesn't mean that someone convicted of Racing on the Highways would receive the maximum sentence, or even any jail time, but it does mean that this is a serious charge and most people don't realize the potential consequences. Here are some of the minimum and maximum consequences for a Racing on the Highways conviction: 

First Offense
Up to 1 year in jail
$500-$1000 fine
1 year mandatory driver license revocation

Second Offense Within 5 Years
Up to 1 year in jail
$1000 - $3000 fine
2 year mandatory driver license revocation

Third or Subsequent Violation Within 5 Years
Up to 1 year in jail
$2000 - $5000 fine
4 year mandatory driver license revocation

* A withhold of adjudication counts as a prior conviction for purposes of whether the enhanced penalties above apply. 

Can the police impound my car? 

The Racing on Highways statute authorizes the State to impound or immobilize the vehicle as a condition of incarceration or probation.  Under the current law (prior to July 1, 2024), if the person charged is not the owner or co-owner, then the vehicle will be released to the owner upon presentation of a valid driver license and payment of impoundment or immobilization fees.  However, as of July 1, 2024, the State can immobilize or impound the vehicle for up to 30 business days regardless of whether the person charged is the owner or not.  If the person charged is the owner and it is a second offense within 5 years, the vehicle can be seized under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.  

What are the possible defenses to Racing on Highways?

Defenses to criminal charges are often fact specific, but there are some common issues that arise in Racing on Highway cases.  For example, officers often come upon a scene with a large number of people and they may think a person was committing the crime when it was actually somebody else.  An officer may observe conduct that he or she thinks fits within the statute, but it doesn't.  An officer may conduct a traffic stop without having reasonable suspicion or probable cause.  Here are a few of the more common defenses that arise in Racing on Highway cases: 

Not me
Officers are often responding to a chaotic scene involving a large number of people and vehicles.  They often get confused on which individuals and/or vehicles were involved in the racing. Many of the vehicles may look similar.  The officer may not have observed any or all of the alleged conduct.  The officer may not have made a traffic stop immediately after observing the conduct.  There may be an identity defense where the officer may have observed a vehicle violating the statute, but the State can't prove it was the person charged who was driving or was driving one of the vehicles involved in the violation of the statute. 
Not racing (legal)
There are very technical definitions of what qualifies as prohibited conduct under the statute. Reasonable people often disagree over whether certain conduct is prohibited.  For example, if two cars are at a stop light and one car revs its engine and both cars accelerate at a high rate of speed once the light turns green, does that qualify?  There may be a legal defense to whether the alleged conduct falls within the purview of the statute. 

Not racing (factual)
The State must prove intent.  Officers often assume a person has the intent to race another vehicle when in fact, the person was engaged in the normal course of traffic.  Speeding is not sufficient to establish that someone is racing. The State must also prove what they are alleging.  This can be difficult if there is no video evidence, insufficient video evidence, a lack of cooperative witnesses, inarticulate description of the conduct, and more. 

Legal issues
Officers must follow the law and have reasonable suspicion or probable cause not only that a crime occurred but also that the person stopped is the person who committed the crime.  If the officer did not have reasonable suspicion or probable cause, the traffic stop and/or detention may violate the Fourth Amendment and could result in the suppression of evidence and/or the dismissal of charges. 

If you have been cited or arrested for
Racing on Highways,

Call the experienced Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney of

904-642-3332 (Jacksonville)
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