Phoenix Police Crack Down on Street Racers
Even though it is dangerous and illegal, street racing activity is growing nationwide—especially in Arizona. In fact, Arizona ranks second out of all states for drivers with illegal street racing violations. The Phoenix Police Department reports that street racing incidents jumped from 388 in 2019 to 6,216 in 2020.
While Arizona already has laws in place that make street racing illegal, Governor Doug Ducey signed a new bill into law on July 9, 2021. The bill, SB 1533, imposes new penalties on anyone caught street racing in Phoenix and the rest of the state, and it took effect on September 29, 2021.
Let’s take a look at the current street racing laws in Arizona and what this new bill contains.
Arizona Street Racing Laws
Arizona law ARS 28-708 makes it illegal for any state citizen to participate in a non-sanctioned street race, drag race, or exhibition of speed. An “exhibition of speed” includes actions like skidding, drifting, or squealing tires, unnecessarily loud engine noises, and leaving tire skid marks on the road.
It’s important to note ARS 28-708 also penalizes actions like aggressively speeding up to pass another car. Under this law, a police officer could pull you over for squealing your tires if you accelerate too hard at a red light, and there is a car in the lane next to you.
If convicted of illegal street racing, first-time offenders face a Class 1 misdemeanor with fines and a potential jail time up to six months. Additionally, the judge or the department of motor vehicles can elect to add points to and/or suspend the offender’s driver’s license.
Drivers facing a second conviction within two years of the first could be looking at a felony conviction with more fines, mandatory jail time, and license revocation.
Changes Under SB 1533
With SB 1533 signed into law, people convicted of illegal street racing in Arizona now face additional penalties, including:
- A penalty assessment of $1,000 on top of every fine the defendant needs to pay. (These penalty assessments help fund Arizona’s anti-racing efforts.)
- A police officer can immediately impound a vehicle for seven days.
- If a car takes part in illegal street racing and the person holding the registration is not physically in the car at the time, they can still be held responsible and be charged with aiding and abetting.
Street Racing Lawyer in Phoenix
If you ever get arrested for illegal street racing, drag racing, or exhibition of speed, the first thing to do is ask to call a lawyer. You’ll need a criminal defense attorney who knows the street racing and traffic laws on your side. The Todd Coolidge team has over 25 years of experience defending the rights of Arizona residents. Call our Chandler office at 480-264-5111 or our Phoenix office at 602-795-0770 to schedule a consultation.
Photo by Ryan Spencer on Unsplash