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Speed Contests Under California Law – Vehicle Code 23109(a)

Posted by Jason Beahm | Jul 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

In California, under California Vehicle Code Section 23109(a), it is illegal to willfully participate in a speed contest. Under the law, a speed contest is when you race your vehicle against another car, or against a clock or other timing device. (If you race your car and injure someone, or evade the police, you could be charged with a felony.)

A conviction for speed contest under 23109(a) can result in imprisonment in a county jail, with a minimum of one day and up to 90 days, as well as a fine of up to $1,000. These penalties can increase if you have a prior convictions for speed contests under 23109(a), or other convictions on your driving record.

A speed contest 23109(a) conviction under will add two points to your driving record, which can lead to a suspension of your license, as (four points in one year results in an automatic suspension from the California DMV.) Further, any added points to your DMV record will usually add to your auto insurance costs.

The typical kinds of situations or conduct that lead to a speed contest arrest under VC23109(a) are similar to that of reckless driving: driving at high rates of speed, the use of racing modifications, weaving in and out of traffic lanes, a group of vehicles moving in a pack at a high speed, racing other vehicles, drifting, peeling out, and a host of other alleged traffic violations. Sometimes, a VC 23109(a) charge comes along with other serious criminal charges due to the same incident, including DUI, hit and run, evasion and street racing. These cases can quickly become felony matters.

It is important to know your rights when you are arrested for a speed contest in California. An arrest under 23109(a) is a serious charge that can result in jail time, deportation, the loss of your drivers license, termination from your job, the loss of professional license(s), heavy fines, probation and other penalties. Fortunately, a strong attorney can make all the difference. Our firm has had tremendous success with these cases.

Despite the severity of these cases, district attorneys and judges generally do not like to take speed contest cases to trial–so a favorable outcome may be possible, pre-trial. In some cases we have been able to get dismissals, diversion, traffic school, reduction to a simple traffic violations.

If you have more questions, don't hesitate to reach out–we are here to help!

About the Author

Jason Beahm

Founding Attorney Profile Credentials Associations Bio Jason Beahm is the Founder and President of Beahm Law. Voted “Best of SF” four out of the past five years by SF Weekly Magazine, Attorney Beahm practices in the areas of DUI, criminal defense, and personal injury. He is passionate ...


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