While Texas is a big and open state with a variety of wide roads to travel on, racing on highways is strictly prohibited. Racing is a criminal offense, and the penalties for a conviction may be enhanced when an offense involves certain factors.
For example, previous convictions or racing that causes a crash can result in enhanced charges. People convicted of these crimes face the possibility of imprisonment and fines.
Were you or your loved one arrested for racing on a highway in the Denton area? You should not make any statement to authorities until you have legal representation.
Texas Transportation Code § 545.420(a) establishes that a person cannot participate in any manner in:
Under Texas Transportation Code § 545.420(b)(1), a drag race is defined as the operation of 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. Texas Transportation Code § 545.420(b)(2) defines a race as the use of one or more vehicles in an attempt to outgain or outdistance another vehicle or prevent another vehicle from passing, arrive at a given destination ahead of another vehicle or vehicles, or test the physical stamina or endurance of an operator over a long-distance driving route.
Racing on highway is a Class B misdemeanor, but the offense is a Class A misdemeanor when an alleged offender has been previously convicted one time of racing on highway or, at the time of the offense, they were operating the vehicle while intoxicated or in possession of an open container. Racing on highway is a state jail felony if the alleged offender has previously been convicted two times of racing on highway, and an offense is a third-degree felony if an individual suffered bodily injury as a result of the offense. If an individual suffered serious bodily injury or death as the result of an offense, racing on highway is a second-degree felony.
The consequences of a conviction for racing on highway will depend on how the alleged crime was classified. Convictions are generally punishable as follows:
Under Texas Transportation Code § 708.052, a person’s driver's license accumulates points for convictions, such that an individual will be assessed two points for a moving violation of the traffic law of Texas or another state and three points for a moving violation of the traffic law of Texas, another state, or a political subdivision that resulted in an accident. When a person has six or more points on their record for any combination of offenses, they are required to pay annual surcharges ($100 plus $25 for each point after the first six) for at least one year up to three years.
People could have a number of different defenses against racing on a highway charges. In many cases, police officers did not witness the entire races or incidents.
Police may not have any evidence of an actual race and eyewitness accounts could also contradict the observations of police officers. When an alleged offender argues that there was a lack of intent to race a vehicle, the criminal charges could be reduced to another traffic infaction such as reckless driving.
Big Bend Open Road Race — Texans who are still interested in racing legally may be interested in this annual event in Fort Stockton and Sanderson in West Texas involving 118 miles of U.S. Highway 285 (US 285). The top speed recorded was 220.8 miles per hour (mph) by Dave Golder in 2002 and the course record for average speed was 172.249 mph in 2013 set by Tom Whalen. The Associated Press wrote about the event in a piece entitled “Lonely Texas Highway Becomes High-Speed Racetrack.”
Illegal, dangerous, and seductive: The underground world of Houston street racing — View a KRIV-TV story about the underground world of Houston street racing. Racers said there could be several meets in Houston on any given night, and some races are exclusive. The Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff's Office could not provide statistics on street racing arrests and past deaths for the story.
If you or your loved one has been arrested for allegedly racing on a highway in Denton, it will be critical for you to retain legal counsel before speaking to authorities. Let the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy talk to police and try to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Our firm handles both misdemeanor and felony racing on highway cases. We can discuss all of your legal options with you as soon as you call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.