The Fast and the Furious: Penalties for Illegal Street Racing in Houston
Top Harris County law-enforcement officials recently warned the public about illegal street takeovers. These street racing events have injured numerous people in recent years and have severe consequences for anyone involved.
In February 2023, an illegal street takeover involving 200 cars resulted in multiple arrests and included charges of felony child endangerment.
“These are people who clearly value their cars more than they value the safety of motorists around them. So, our message to them is simple and clear. You will be arrested and prosecuted. And if you take over our streets, we will take over your cars.”
—– District Attorney Kim Ogg.
Last year, the Houston Traffic Crimes Unit made 400 arrests during illegal street racing events. During these arrests, officers on the scene confiscated 49 guns, seized 30 vehicles, and recovered 17 stolen cars.
What is Street Racing?
You’ve probably seen street racing on television and in movies like The Fast and the Furious or Grease. Street racing is a form of illegal racing in Houston that takes place on public roads or highways. Typically, it involves two or more drivers racing their vehicles in a high-speed competition, often reaching dangerous speeds that can put themselves and others at risk. Street racing usually occurs at night or during the early morning hours when there is less traffic on the roads.
Street racing is a dangerous activity that can lead to severe injuries and fatalities for drivers, pedestrians, and innocent bystanders. This is why it is illegal in all 50 states. If you get caught illegally street racing in Houston or anywhere in Harris County, you face significant legal consequences, including hefty fines, jail time, and the suspension or loss of your driver’s license.
What are the Penalties for Street Racing in Houston?
In Texas, a first-time offense for speed racing is considered a Class B misdemeanor. If you get convicted of street racing in Houston, you face serious consequences, including:
- Up to 6 months in jail
- Fines up to $2,000
- Two years probation
If certain aggravating circumstances exist, such as a prior conviction for the same offense, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, or possessing an open container of alcohol, then the offense may be elevated to a Class A misdemeanor. In such cases, you could face up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
Furthermore, street racing may be charged as a 2nd- or 3rd-degree felony if you have a criminal record for street racing or if someone suffered serious injuries during the race. The severity of felony charges will determine the punishment, and ranges from up to 10 years of probation, a fine of $10,000, and up to 20 years in prison.
Under Texas law, if you get convicted of illegal street racing, your driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year. However, you may still obtain an occupational license, which permits you to operate a non-commercial motor vehicle for work, essential household duties, and school-related activities during that period.
Additionally, to fulfill your legal obligations, Texas requires offenders to complete 10 hours of community service.
As you can see, engaging in illegal street racing in Houston can have severe consequences, such as risking your safety and that of others, facing hefty fines, and serving time in jail.
How Can a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Help After a Street Racing Arrest?
After getting arrested for street racing in Houston, your first step should be to contact an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer.
Your attorney will work quickly to get you out of jail and protect your rights. They will help you understand the charges against you and examine the prosecution’s evidence against you. Even if your case looks bleak, your criminal defense lawyer will guide you through the process while protecting your constitutional rights.
Your criminal defense lawyer in Houston can prevent unlawful searches or seizures and regain your seized property if police officers violate your rights.
Sometimes, a Houston criminal defense attorney can negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution. A plea deal could reduce charges or result in a lighter sentence, potentially saving you from more severe consequences.
Contact Our Houston Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you’ve been charged with illegal street racing, reckless driving, or any other serious criminal offense, don’t try to go it alone. Contact an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney today to discuss your case and protect your driving record and your future. You may avoid serious penalties and consequences with the right lawyer on your side.
At Roger G. Jain & Associates, P.C., our criminal defense attorney’s can go to work quickly to protect your future and your freedom. Call us at (713) 981-0600 or fill out our confidential contact form. We know you have questions and want to move through the criminal justice system as quickly as possible. You want your life and freedom back, and we can help you get both. Call us today!
Roger Jain is a dedicated trial lawyer who assists his clients in the following areas of practice: civil litigation, business law, criminal defense, juvenile law, estate planning and family Law.