Mayhem at High Speed: Street Racing Defense Attorney in Arizona.
Whether spontaneous or pre-planned, drag racing on a public street or highway in Arizona can bring life-altering criminal charges and penalties. As a street racing defense attorney for the past three decades, I have learned that once a speed contest begins, the drivers have just put their future into the fickle hands of Fate. I am constantly amazed how many otherwise seemingly intelligent and sober adults (both young and not so young) succumb to the impulse to race down city streets without considering the dangers involved.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identifies four increased risks that can occur when drivers speed:
- greater potential for loss of control;
- reduced effectiveness of occupant protection equipment;
- increased stopping distance after the driver perceives a danger; and
- increased degree of crash severity leading to more serious injuries.
See the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website concerning risky driving at https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/speeding.
Fate smiles on some street racers, and their increased speed does not result in a collision. For these lucky racers, felony endangerment charges are common, with a potential of three years in prison. And while some truly fortunate racers only receive misdemeanor traffic citations, routine speeding citations are never issued to drag racers. Racing on Highways A.R.S. § 28-708 and Reckless Driving A.R.S. § 28-693 always demand massive fines, and a suspended license is almost a certainty.
When street racing causes a collision and people get hurt, prosecutors will always file aggravated assault charges as a dangerous felony, which mandates a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years. If an injured victim dies as a result of a street race, second-degree murder and manslaughter are routinely charged. These two charges each come with the potential of more than twenty years in prison and require an experienced street racing defense attorney to get the least amount of jail time for the racer.
Years ago, prosecutors had to rely on speed estimates provided by third-party witnesses. Nowadays, however, the computers on most modern vehicles are consistently recording our speed and braking information. When the air bags are activated, the on-board computer will save the last several seconds of data prior to the collision. Oftentimes, the most damaging evidence in an automobile homicide case is the speed information downloaded from my client’s own vehicle.
The foregoing offenses are not limited to a two-car race. A single driver that reaches extreme speeds is subject to the same charges and penalties. Obviously, excessive speed combined with the presence of alcohol or drugs in a driver’s body will only aggravate an already bad situation.
Whether the charges are for manslaughter or a simple misdemeanor, the ability to understand the components and unique hazards of each street race are essential to an efficient defense. The street racing defense attorneys at Rowley Chapman & Barney have over thirty years of experience in dissecting and mitigating all sorts of high speed events. If you or a family member have been charged with street racing on public streets, please give us call at (480) 833-2341.
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