Street Racing Leads to Arrests after Top Speeds of 199 MPH

Street Racing Leads to Arrest

After Top Speeds of 199 MPH

The driver of a red, 2016 Chevrolet Camaro and even his passenger were arrested in Orange County on street racing related charges.  Residents had called the Orange County Sheriff’s Office with complaints of street racing.  Deputies that arrived on the scene witnessed the racing and one deputy started to follow the red Camaro as it tried to leave the scene.  Once the vehicle got on the turnpike, it was clocked going 199 MPH in the 70 MPH zone.  The deputy did not try to stop the vehicle but kept it in view.

The red Camaro was found a short time later on a different street.  The deputy pulled up behind and as the light turned green, another race began.  This time the deputy hit his lights and siren and the Camaro pulled over.  A search of the car revealed a camera in the back window that was recording the events for the driver’s Instagram page.

The driver was arrested for first degree misdemeanor Racing on a Highway in violation of §316.191(2)(a).  That statute reads that “a person may not drive any motor vehicle in any street takeover, stunt driving, 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 any highway, roadway, or parking lot.”

The wording of this statute is very broad and would seem to encompass even private property, as parking lots are included.  

More surprising is the arrest of the passenger for being in the car during the driver’s violation.  This, too, is a first degree misdemeanor.  Section 316.191(2)(c) reads, “A person may not knowingly ride as a passenger in any such race, drag race, street takeover, stunt driving competition, contest, test, or exhibition.”  This builds in a defense of knowledge requiring the prosecutor to prove the passenger knew illegal driving activity was going to happen.  Imagine if this was extended to DUI where a passenger could be arrested for knowingly driving with someone police allege is impaired.  Thankfully, Florida law has not gone to that extreme…yet.

Multiple violations of the Street Racing Statute are enhanceable.  While subsequent violations remain first degree misdemeanors, the fines go up, as well as the length of the required driver’s license revocations.  The first offense has a fine of $500-to-$1,000 and a 1 year driver’s license revocation.  A second offense within 5 years of the prior violation carries a fine range of $1,000-to-$3,000 and a 2 year driver’s license revocation.  A third or subsequent offense within 5 years of the prior violation carries a fines of $2,000-to-$3,000 and a 4 year driver’s license revocation.  For second or subsequent violations, there are provisions for the vehicles being seized and forfeited under the ominous and broad Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.

At the end of the statute, section 7 specifically exempts racetracks, drag strips, or other designated areas set aside by proper authorities for such purposes.