It is common for police officers to arrest citizens for the crime of racing on a highway when they hear a witness claim to observe someone driving fast or weaving in and out of traffic. In reality, there can be many reasons why a citizen may have been driving in excess of the speed limit and attempting to weave past traffic. In fact, I have represented clients charged with the crime of racing on a highway that were driving responsibly in their car when another careless driver attempted to initiate a race and bait my client into a race. In such a situation, no crime was committed and it was imperative that the case was thoroughly investigated and negotiated for a dismissal of the charges.
If you have been arrested and charged with the crime of Racing on a Highway in Tarrant County, Texas, you need to contact an experienced criminal lawyer to advise you of your options under Texas law. For a thorough understanding of what your facing under Texas law, you must first determine what the Texas Transportation Code defines as the elements of the crime of racing on a highway. According to the Texas Transportation Code, Section 545.420, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office will be required to prove the following elements of racing on a highway beyond a reasonable doubt: A person may not participate in any manner in: (1) a race; (2) a vehicle speed competition or contest; (3) a drag race or acceleration contest; (4) a test of physical endurance of the operator of a vehicle; or (5) in connection with a drag race, an exhibition of vehicle speed or acceleration or to make a vehicle speed record.
“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. “Race” means 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.
Determining whether your Tarrant County racing on a highway charge is a felony or misdemeanor will be based upon whether someone was injured as a result of the racing or whether the accused has been previously convicted of racing on a highway in Texas.
Texas law breaks down the range of punishment for racing on a highway as follows:
- If the accused has had no previous convictions for racing on a highway and no one was injured as a result of the racing, the crime will be classified as a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a term in the Tarrant County jail of up to 180 days and up to a $2,000 fine.
- If the accused has a prior conviction for racing on a highway or the current charge involved an open container of alcohol, the crime will be classified as a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a term in the Tarrant County jail of up to 1 year and up to a $4,000 fine.
- If the accused has two prior convictions for racing on a highway, the crime will be classified as a State Jail Felony punishable by a term in a State Jail facility of not less than 180 days but not more than 2 years and up to a $5,000 fine.
- If an individual was injured and suffered bodily injury as a result of the racing on a highway, the crime will be classified as a 3rd degree felony punishable by a term in prison of not less than 2 years but not more than 10 years and up to a $10,000 fine.
- If an individual suffered serious bodily injury or death as a result of the racing on a highway, the crime will be classified as a 2nd degree felony punishable by a term in prison of not less than 2 years but not more than 20 years and up to a $10,000 fine.
As you can see, facing a racing on a highway charge can create serious criminal consequences than can forever limit your future and potentially result in a prison sentence. If you are facing a racing on a highway charge in Tarrant County, it is extremely important to seek counsel from an experienced and aggressive Fort Worth criminal attorney. My number one priority when representing clients charged with reckless driving is to ensure that they do not have to serve any time in prison or in jail. In addition, I also work tirelessly to create options that will prevent this charge from becoming a conviction so that your record can be expunged or cleared in the future. At The Hampton Law Firm, my years of experience as a former Tarrant County Prosecutor and experienced criminal defense attorney can be put to work to help you resolve your case.
If you are facing a racing on a highway charge, call The Hampton Law Firm now so we can discuss the facts of your case and explain your legal options available to you. Contact Jeff Hampton at the Hampton Law Firm at 817-877-5200.