Drag Racing Can Drive You to Prison

The Las Vegas Motor Speedway scheduled an event called “Midnight Mayhem,” where drivers of souped-up cars could compete against each other at the Speedway. The organizers called it “a safe alternative to illegal street racing.”

Under Nevada law, illegal drag racing (aka “speed contests”) is defined as driving your car in an unauthorized race on a public highway. You don’t have to actually be a driver to violate the law. Organizers of drag races are liable as well.

If you are charged with illegal drag racing, your lawyer will try to cast doubt on whether you even participated in such an activity. It might be that you were driving on the road where the race took place and sped up to avoid being hit by the actual racers. Or perhaps you thought about participating, but backed out after realizing the danger.

Penalties

The penalties for illegal racing depend on two factors:

  • If this was your first offense
  • If someone was killed or seriously hurt in the race

If no one was hurt, drag racing is a misdemeanor, with a maximum jail sentence of one to six months. If someone was killed or seriously injured, the offense is raised to the level of a felony and you face time in prison.

No one was seriously injured

  • First offense: Up to $1,000 fine, up to 99 hours of community service, up to two years' license suspension
  • Second offense: Up to $1,500 fine, up to 199 hours of community service, up to two years’ driver license suspension
  • Third (and subsequent) offense: Up to $2,000 fine, 200 hours of community service, up to two years’ driver license suspension

Someone was killed or seriously injured

Regardless of whether this was your first or tenth offense, you face one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Illegal drag racing is a serious offense and requires representation by a Reno criminal defense attorney who is experienced in this field and knows how to engage in both defense and plea-bargaining for you. 

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