Racing places everyone on the roadways in danger. Because of this, Texas law can be harsh on those who are convicted of racing. You could face time behind bars, expensive fines and the possibility of becoming a convicted felon.
If you were recently arrested for racing in Harris County, you probably have many questions that an experienced attorney could answer. Take the first step in your defense and speak with a lawyer today.
Texas Racing Defense Lawyer
Brian Benken is a licensed private investigator that will search for crucial evidence that could help defend your case. With over 30 years of trial experience, Brian Benken is a veteran attorney who knows how to navigate the criminal process.
The Benken Law Firm represents clients in every community in Harris County such as Rice Military, Midtown, Museum Park, East Downtown, Hunter Creek Village, Bellaire and many more. To schedule a free case consultation with The Benken Law Firm, call (713) 223 - 4051.
How does Texas Define Racing?
While Texas is home to 70 mph speed limits and open roadways, it’s illegal under the Transportation Code to race other vehicles. Section 545.420 considers the following racing situations illegal:
- Any form of racing
- Vehicle speed competitions or contest
- Drag racing or acceleration contest
- Testing the physical endurance of the driver of the vehicle
- In connection with drag racing, exhibiting vehicle speed or acceleration to make a vehicle speed record
You may think a race is a competition between two vehicles to see who can beat the other, but there’s more to it than that. Under the Transportation Code racing includes one or more vehicles attempting to:
- Outgain or outdistance the other
- Prevent another vehicle from passing
- Arriving at a destination before another vehicle; or
- Test the physical stamina or endurance of a driver over a long distance route.
Penalties for Racing in Texas
There are a few factors that determine how the court will penalize you for racing. Typically, a simple racing conviction is charged as a class B misdemeanor. You could spend up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000 or a combination of both.
There are circumstances, though, where the charge could be elevated to a class A misdemeanor. Such circumstances include:
- You have been previously convicted of racing
- You were racing while intoxicated
- You were in possession of an open alcoholic beverage.
A class A misdemeanor is the most serious type of misdemeanor. It’s punishable by up to a year behind bars, up to $4,000 in fines or both a fine and jail time.
Felony Racing Charges
Along with the penalties that have been mentioned above, racing charges can be filed as a felony under certain conditions.
If this is the third time you’ve been convicted of racing in Texas, you could be charged a state jail felony. A state felony is punishable by no less than 180 days but no more than two years in jail and a fine that can cost up to $10,000.
It’s a third-degree felony if your racing caused anyone to suffer a bodily injury. If convicted, you could spend two to 10 years in prison and be required to pay a $10,000 fine.
Texas law defines bodily injury as any physical pain, illness, or impairment of physical condition. A victim stating they feel pain is enough probable cause for the element of bodily injury to be met.
If racing was the cause of any serious bodily injury or death, it’s a second-degree felony that is punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Serious bodily injuries are injuries that create a substantial risk of death, cause death, serious permanent disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily part or organ. These injuries can include loss of limbs, concussions, and paralysis.
Racing is often considered reckless driving. The Texas Transportation Code broadly defines reckless driving as:
- Driving a vehicle in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of people or property
Aside from driving, many driving behaviors are considered reckless driving. Some of these behaviors can include speeding, driving under the influence, tailgating other vehicles and failing to use turn signals.
Reckless driving is a hybrid offense, so prosecutors can charge you with penalties that are less or more severe than what is listed under section 545.401 of the Transportation Code.
Reckless driving can be charged with up to 30 days in county jail, a fine not to exceed $200 or both a fine and jail time.
Criminal Vehicular Crimes in Texas
Racing is not the only vehicular crime in Texas that carries steep fines and a lengthy prison sentence. Vehicular crimes can range from driving while intoxicated to driving with a suspended license. Unfortunately, both carry severe penalties.
If you are charged with operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, it’s considered driving while intoxicated. You could spend anywhere from 72 hours in jail to 20 years in prison and pay up to $10,000 in fines. If you are arrested for driving with a suspended license, you could spend up to 1 year in jail and be required to pay up to $4,000 in fines.
Operation and Movement of Vehicles | Texas Transportation Code– Visit the Texas Constitution and Statutes website to read the chapter of the Transportation Code that governs racing in the state. You can read the precise legal definition of racing and drag racing. You can also learn more about reckless driving.
Driver Responsibility Program– If you get too many points on your driving record or traffic violations, you may be required to complete a drivers responsibility program. Follow this link to learn more about receiving surcharges on your record, how many points are assigned to each charge and how much they can cost.
Texas Department of Transportation: Driving Under the Influence – Access the official website for the TX Department of Transportation to view information regarding driving under the influence. You can view penalties for the offense and learn what is considered legal intoxication.
Houston Racing Defense Attorney | Harris County, TX
If you have you been accused of racing in Harris County, you should take the first step in building your defense and contact The Benken Law Firm. Brian Benken is a proven and experienced defense attorney who will fight to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.
Schedule a time to consult with The Benken Law Firm about the specifics of your case. Call (713) 223 - 4051. Brian Benken is compassionate with his clients and can make the nightmare of being a convicted criminal seem less frightening.
The Benken Law Firm defends clients in every community throughout Harris County such as Houston, The Heights, Montrose, West University Place and many others in Harris County and surrounding counties.