Although drag racing down residential streets is a fun way to test the speed of your car and win a challenge, Pittsburgh police will arrest you for driving at top speeds on city streets. In Pennsylvania, you can even be charged with drag racing if you street race by yourself or if you are a spectator at an illegal drag race.
Penalties For Drag Racing
Drag racing is a summary offense, which is typically handled in the Magisterial District Courts, and if you’re convicted you will owe fines and have a criminal conviction on your permanent record.
Drag Racing Activities Forbidden In Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to race side-by-side to test your vehicle’s speed or acceleration against someone else. You can also be ticketed for drag racing if you are not competing with another car — you are just racing alone to see how much speed you can reach. If you are watching an illegal drag race, you also risk being charged.
A drag race is defined as the operation of two or more vehicles from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance each other, or the operation of one or more vehicles over a common selected course, from the same point to the same point, for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of the vehicle or vehicles within a certain distance or time limit. Racing, on the other hand, is defined as the use of one or more vehicles in an attempt to outgain, outdistance or prevent another vehicle from passing, to arrive at a given destination ahead of another vehicle or vehicles, or to test the physical stamina or endurance of drivers over long-distance driving routes.
Steps to Take if You Are Charged
Drag racing falls under criminal traffic violations, which means that it is treated as a crime, not a traffic violation, under Pennsylvania law. If you have been charged with a criminal traffic offense, your first step should be to immediately hire a lawyer. Prosecutors will not negotiate with you alone.
An experienced attorney will have worked with the prosecutors handling your case many times before. They can draw on their relationships and understanding of the local court system to lessen or dismiss your charges. If you are found guilty, your attorney may also be able to negotiate on your sentence.
Your Defense For Criminal Traffic Charges
Your attorney will develop lines of defense depending on the circumstances of your case. The prosecutor must prove you were drag racing and if you did not, your attorney will gather evidence to show you obeyed Pennsylvania’s traffic laws.