How to Define Exhibition of Speed

Were you cited with an infraction stating you committed “exhibition of speed?” Typically, this occurs if an individual is caught competitively speeding against a different vehicle on a highway. The ticket can be a huge financial and time burden, especially if paired with a DUI. Let’s take a look at what “exhibition of speed” means, the ensuing consequences, and how to potentially defend yourself.

What Is Exhibition of Speed?

Exhibition of speed refers to violating California VC 23109, where you can be found guilty of violating the speed contest law by racing another vehicle on a roadway or racing against a timed clock. This vehicle code essentially outlaws “street racing” and “drag racing.” Exhibition of speed is considered a form of reckless driving: “when a person drives a vehicle at a rate of speed or in a manner that shows disregard for the safety of people and property.” Initially, exhibition of speed citations required that multiple cars were present, along with a spectating audience. Initiatives to apprehend a higher number of drag racers have led to these requirements being tossed aside. Presently, exhibition of speed takes on a broad definition of “displaying an unlawful amount of speed on public streets or highways while operating a motor vehicle.” Other factors are often debated as necessary for this infraction, however. These include the screeching of tires, deliberate attempts to entertain the public or attract their attention, and unnecessarily risky driving that endangers the public.

Exhibition of Speed Consequences

For an exhibition of speed violation, you may be charged with a mere infraction, or a serious misdemeanor. This is up to the prosecutor’s discretion, and usually revolves around how threatening you were to the safety of the public. Street racing is typically a large threat to the public, so these violations are usually misdemeanors. That being said, it is in your best interest to do everything you can to only receive an infraction—just take a look at the list of exhibition of speed misdemeanor consequences:

  • Incarceration with up to 90 days in a county jail
  • A base fine up to $500 (not including additional fees)
  • Summary probation for 2 years
  • Suspension of driver’s license for up to 6 months
  • Up to 50 hours of community service
  • Car impoundment with a maximum of 30 days

Possible Defenses:

Plain and simple, this is a ticket you want to get out of. Anti-racing and exhibition of speed regulations are broad, relative to other California vehicle codes. This creates a defensive opportunity in fighting exhibition of speed tickets—many offenders are able to make arguments on the validity and applicability of the laws themselves.

  • Vague statute: the statute or ordinance was not specific enough to put an ordinary person on notice of what activities are prohibited
  • Not exhibition: there was no intent to race or exhibit speed
  • Accident: Loss of traction and noise was caused by road conditions, such as gravel or moisture
  • Vehicle’s mechanical defects: the act occurred due to a vehicle malfunction, rather than the defendant’s intent. This would eliminate the “willful” factor of a violation.
  • Lack of sufficient observation by citing officer: street racers have been pulled over by officers who merely heard sounds similar to that of street racing. California vehicle code states that officers must be present during the violating acts, in order to issue a misdemeanor charge. Without a proper vantage point of the situation, an officer’s case may be invalid.
  • Mistaken identification: Perhaps multiple motorcyclists are riding together, and one is pulled over for suspected exhibition of speed. When it comes to motorcycles, police officers commonly stop the wrong person, citing them even if they aren’t the true violator. This could also fall under the lack of sufficient observation category.

Caught speeding for other reasons? Use GetDismissed

GetDismissed produces results in fighting all kinds of tickets. Unfortunately, this list does not include exhibition of speed citations. Your best bet in fighting one of these infractions, is to contact an attorney. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf to try and reduce fines, or even to reduce the charges to a lesser infraction which could possibly qualify for traffic school. We do however, contest infractions revolving around speeding, red lights, red light cameras, cell phones, signs (primarily stop signs), carpool violations, U-turns, out of lane violations, and commercial violations. If you receive a citation and have questions, contact us today.


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