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Racing on Highway

Florida's Racing on a Highway statute, § 316.191, Fla. Stat., involves racing a motor vehicle. The statute is worded very broadly which often allows the person charged to make a claim that the statute is unconstitutional as applied to the facts of their particular case. Although the title of the statute is "racing on a highway" the statutory terms also include racing on a road or parking lot.

Because the statute is so broadly worded, law enforcement officers often selectively enforce the statute. The penalties and punishments under Florida's street racing statute are harsh including a driver's license suspension and hefty fines. Even a first offense requires a one-year driver's license suspension.

Gainesville Racing on a Highway Defense Lawyer

Dean Galigani represents clients charged with serious criminal traffic offenses including racing on a highway in Alachua County and the surrounding areas including Columbia County, Gilchrist County, Levy County, Marion County, and Union County, Florida.

What Conduct is Prohibited by Florida's Racing Statute

The term "racing" is worded broadly in Florida Statute Section 316.191 to include all of the following:

  • an exhibition of speed;
  • a drag race or acceleration contest;
  • an attempt to make a speed record:
  • a speed competition or contest; and
  • a test of physical endurance.

The prohibited act are also worded broadly to include:

  • driving a motor vehicle in a race;
  • collecting monies, coordinating, participating, facilitating, at the location of a race; or
  • knowingly riding as a passenger in a race; or
  • purposefully caused moving traffic to slow or stop for a race.

Definition under Florida's Racing on a Highway Statute

The term "drag race" is defined under Florida law to mean "the operation of two or more motor vehicles from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance each other, or the operation of one or more motor vehicles to the same point, for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of such motor vehicle or motor vehicles within a certain distance or time limit."

The term "motor vehicle" is defined in Florida's drag racing statute to mean "any self-propelled vehicle not operated upon rails or guideway, including a motorcycle but not including any bicycle, motorized scooter, electric personal assistive mobility device, or moped."

Florida law defines the term "race" as follows:

"the use of one or more motor vehicles in competition, arising from a challenge to demonstrate superiority of a motor vehicle or driver and the acceptance or competitive response to that challenge, either through a prior arrangement or in immediate response, in which the competitor attempts to outgain or outdistance another motor vehicle, to prevent another motor vehicle from passing, to arrive at a given destination ahead of another motor vehicle or motor vehicles, or to test the physical stamina or endurance of drivers over long distance driving routes. A race may be prearranged or may occur through a competitive response to conduct on the part of one or more drivers which, under the totality of circumstances, can reasonably be interpreted as a challenge to race."

Florida law defines the term "roadway" to mean "that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder. In the event, a highway includes two or more separate roadways, the term roadway as used herein refers to any such roadway separately, but not to all such roadways collectively."

The term highway or street is defined under Florida law to mean one of the following:

  • The entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place of whatever nature when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular traffic;
  • The entire width between the boundary lines of any privately owned way or place used for vehicular travel by the owner and those having express or implied permission from the owner, but not by other persons, or any limited access road owned or controlled by a special district, whenever, by written agreement entered into under s. 316.006(2)(b) or (3)(b), a county or municipality exercises traffic control jurisdiction over said way or place;
  • Any area, such as a runway, taxiway, ramp, clear zone, or parking lot, within the boundary of any airport owned by the state, a county, a municipality, or a political subdivision, which area is used for vehicular traffic but which is not open for vehicular operation by the general public; or
  • Any way or place used for vehicular traffic on a controlled access basis within a mobile home park recreation district which has been created under s. 418.30 and the recreational facilities of which district are open to the general public.

Florida's Jury Instructions for Racing on a Highway

The Florida Supreme Court has approved certain standard jury instructions for the criminal offense of racing on a roadway. After a challenge to the constitutionality of the statute, the standard jury instructions for racing on a roadway were adopted in 2009 and amended in 2012. Click here to read the standard jury instructions under 28.5(a) Racing on a Highway.

Finding an Attorney for Racing on Highway Charges in Alachua County, FL

If you were charged with the misdemeanor criminal offense of street racing on highway then contact an experienced criminal traffic offense attorney at the Galigani Law Firm.

Dean Galigani aggressively fights these charges to help his client fight to avoid the draconian sanctions that attach after a conviction for racing on highways in Gainesville in Alachua County, Starke in Bradford County, Macclenny in Baker County, Lake Butler in Union County, Ocala in Marion County, Trenton in Gilchrist County, Lake City in Columbia County, Florida.