Now I know none of you have ever done this, but you’ve definitely seen someone else do it. At the very least you’ve heard it. The revving of engines. The squealing of tires. Nascar drivers do it, you saw it, and now you have to know what all the fuss is about. That’s right, we’re talking about street racing.
In Arizona, we’re talking about Statute 28-708A:
A person shall not drive a vehicle or participate in any manner in a race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance or exhibition of speed or acceleration or for the purpose of making a speed record on a street or highway.
There’s quite a bit to unpack here. Statute 28-708A is highly recognized as one of the worst written statutes in Arizona because it can account for so much and so little at the same time. Just like all that traffic you’re weaving through, 28-708A has gaps and blindspots that, if you aren’t prepared for, can total more than your ride.
For starters, 28-708A carries with it a penalty of Class One Misdemeanor, meaning it could set you back $2,500 or 6 months in jail. Beyond those penalties, you’re also looking at 8 points on your license. That’s enough, on just that one charge, to lose your license for a full calendar year. If you rack up a second conviction in a 24 month period, you’re looking at a Class 6 Felony charge instead, which carries a minimum sentence of 10 days in jail. No race is worth that.
The key to this statute is that old real estate staple: location, location, location. If you and another car start revving up at a red light and you both take off at the green, you’ve entered into a race. Chances are pretty good that your opponent is an undercover cop, too. Whether your intention was serious or not, the fact that you both set out from an agreed upon starting point is enough under the statute to get you a ticket.
The other part of this statute is just as serious. The squealing of tires, the revving of an engine, a burnout in a parking lot - all of these are “exhibitions.” These are much easier for cops to come by, and much easier for them to assess. Peeling out, whipping around a corner, drifting a turn through an intersection on a rainy day? All one-way tickets to your next ticket. Pull off one of these maneuvers on a Friday night on Mill Avenue or in Old Town? It’s all over but the court date.
Granted, accidents happen. Plus the particular wording of this statute makes it very easily defensible in court - if you have the right attorney. If you find yourself behind the wheel with a fresh 28-708A citation in hand, the only thing you should do quickly after that point is call Palestini Law. We’ll work to get you out of that ticket fast… and furiously.