Do you consider yourself an “aggressive driver”? Have you ever blocked another driver from passing you or “gone after” a driver who cut you off? You may think that this behavior is simply sending a message to the other driver to be more courteous, but think again: in Arizona you could be cited for driving in this fashion.
The legal definition of drag racing in Arizona law is stated in A.R.S. §28-708 and is very specific. It is defined as either:
- Operating two or more vehicles from a specific start point and accelerating to reach a second point (side by side racing)
- Operating one or more vehicle over a common course in order to compare speeds.
- Racing is defined as the use of one or more vehicles to outrun another vehicle or preventing a vehicle from passing.
Penalties for Drag Racing
Arizona law provides that this type of racing is a class one misdemeanor. Penalties for violation of the law can be severe:
- First Offense: punishable by up to six months in jail, a $2,500 fine and an 84% surcharge. In addition to these criminal penalties, the defendant’s driver’s license can be suspended for up to ninety days and he can be fined $250 and ordered to perform community service.
- Second Offense: up to one year in jail, or four months to 2.75 years in prison, plus revocation of driver’s license, a $500 fine and community service.
- Third Offense: up to 5.75 years in prison
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Defenses to a Drag Racing Charge
If you have been charged with drag racing in Arizona, there are a number of defenses that may be available. Since the law requires the involvement of multiple vehicles for drag racing to occur, it can frequently be argued that no other vehicles were involved. This defense can be effective when only one driver was cited for drag racing in a specific incident. Because police officers working traffic generally work alone, they can only pull over one car at a time so this argument can be made in the majority of cases.
Another possible defense is that you were not racing but fleeing from a road rage incident involving another driver that was not stopped by the police. If you were simply trying to get away from a driver who was trying to retaliate against for a perceived slight such as not yielding, you can argue that you were fleeing from necessity and not racing. This argument is only valid if your vehicle was ahead of the other vehicle.
There are other legal defenses that we can also argue on your behalf. You have constitutional rights such as your Miranda rights, which require that you be advised of your right to remain silent and have an attorney present before you make any incriminating statements. If the police do not follow the Miranda procedure, your statements could be considered involuntary and it (along with any evidence collected as a result of your statement) could be thrown out of court. Other legal issues that a sharp, aggressive attorney will pursue are errors in, false and misleading police reports, and unfair investigative techniques. Unfair techniques include such things are flawed photo lineups and inaccurate accident reconstruction.
If you are charged with drag racing or other criminal conduct do not hesitate to call DM Cantor. We are aggressive, smart attorneys who know the system and can help you get the best possible outcome to your criminal case. Call our offices 24 hours a day at (602) 737-2812 to schedule a free case consultation. If you choose, you can also reach us 24 hours a day by sending us an email through our confidential form.