Penalties for Illegal Street Racing in Texas

Many of us have seen actors in movies having an impromptu race on a highway with minimal or no consequences. Although some people may see street racing as fun or exciting, illegal racing kills participants as well as pedestrians and other drivers not involved in the race and is not permissible under Texas law.

Racing on highways and other public roads is a criminal offense that can attract harsh penalties, including hefty court fines and incarceration.

What is street racing?

Street racing occurs when 1 or more people use a vehicle to race on a public road that isn’t designated for racing purposes. Street racing is also sometimes referred to as drag racing or speed racing. The purpose of a street race is generally to show off the speed and acceleration of a particular vehicle.

What is the penalty for street racing in Texas?

A 1st offense for speed racing in Texas qualifies as a Class B misdemeanor, which comes with a penalty of up to 6 months in prison and a maximum fine of $2,000. You may also be put on probation for up to 2 years.

A street racing offense may be considered a Class A misdemeanor if:

  • The offender was convicted of the same crime once before, or
  • The offender was intoxicated while operating the vehicle, or
  • The offender had an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.

A Class A misdemeanor for street racing comes with a penalty of up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

Street racing can also be classified as either a 2nd- or 3rd-degree felony if the offender has previously been convicted of the same crime 2 or more times or if another person was seriously injured during the race. Felony charges come with a punishment of up to 20 years in jail, $10,000 in fines and 10 years of probation, depending on the severity of the charges.

What happens to my license if I’m caught street racing in Texas?

If you’re found guilty of illegal street racing, your driver’s license will be suspended for at least 1 year per Texas law. You will, however, be eligible to obtain an occupational license that authorizes you to drive a non-commercial motor vehicle for the purposes of work, school-related activities and essential household duties during that time.

Texas law also requires the offender to fulfill 10 hours of community service.

When to contact a street racing criminal defense lawyer

Illegal street racing is a serious criminal offense in Texas that can come with jail time and significant fines. An experienced criminal defense attorney can guide you through the entire process and help negotiate a fair and reasonable plea bargain.

If you live in the Houston area and you’ve been charged with street racing or any other driving-related offense, contact the Law Offices of Matthew D. Sharp. Matthew is a seasoned criminal defense lawyer who understands the stress and turmoil a person goes through when faced with a criminal charge. He believes that everyone deserves a 2nd chance, and he’ll work hard to defend your rights.

Contact him today for a free initial consultation of your case.