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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16244
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I am being accused for racing. I span my tires going up a

Customer Question

I am being accused for 'racing.' I span my tires going up a steep hill at a red light, not challenging anyone else or testing the limits of my car. I was not attempting to pass anyone, I was the only car on the road except another vehicle heading the opposite direction at the road red light. I am looking to defend my case and prove my innocence.


Director of Public Safety pursuant to Section 32-5A-195.
(Acts 1980, No. 80-434, p. 604, §8-109.)
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 9 months ago.

Hello,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am an experienced criminal lawyer.

According to the Alabama code Section 32-5A-178, racing on the highway 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."

So while you can certainly fight this case and you have good facts going for you if the police agree that there were no other cars but you on the road, it is not a 100% foregone conclusion that you absolutely need another car in order to race. So my experience is that if the state does not dismiss it outright on that basis on your first court date, you may have to go to trial on this if you don't want to take a plea or have a conviction.

Further, in Alabama, speeding violations are not just traffic matters but are misdemeanors. A conviction for this offense would carry a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. Moreover, a conviction would give you a criminal record.

Given this, you should have a lawyer with you on your first court date. Criminal cases can have lifetime consequences, so even a low level misdemeanor can have repercussions when it comes to background checks for the job or housing markets.

Alternatively, you can show up by yourself on your first date, plead not guilty and see whether the state is inclined to dismiss this and, if not, what they intend to offer you and whether that offer would keep you from having a misdemeanor record. If the offer is not to your liking, you're not required to take any deal that you don't want. You can the tell the judge that you would like to go to trial on these charges and that you need a continuance so that you could come back with a lawyer.

Good luck!

(c) "Racing" 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. - See more at: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/alcode/32/5A/8/32-5A-178#sthash.uR53Agx0.dpuf
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I already knew
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 9 months ago.
Hello Andrew,

I am not able to read minds and figure out what a customer already knows unless he tells me. You posed no real question but talked about proving your innocence. You don't ever have to prove anything as a defendant in a criminal case. The burden of proof is always on the state, which has to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The statute to which I linked you and quoted is what they have to prove, and the flaw in your case is that you could be racing against the clock rather than another vehicle, in which case you could be potentially convicted under this statute given your facts.

So if that doesn't tell you what you wanted to know, please specify with particularity what will, so that I can attempt to address it. You may call me a bad expert if you like, but it's not my fault you got arrested and that the statute is broad enough that they might just be able to make the charge stick.

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