Drag Racing Defense Attorney
If you are accused of drag racing, you face not only criminal charges but the possible seizure and forfeiture of your vehicle.
Drag Racing Charges and Penalties
Judges and prosecutors tend to be harsh on drag racing charges because racing vehicles can be a danger to a community and result in personal injuries or worse.
“Drag racing” means two or more cars racing side-by-side at accelerating speeds to out-distance each other on a highway or public place or road, including parking lots. Drag racing can occur on any public road where vehicles compete for acceleration or top speed. Also, drag racing can include situations where drivers compete against other drivers for the fastest acceleration or travel time to a certain distance.
Any person, whether driving a car or not, who participates, aids, assists, conspires or encourages drivers to drag race can be charged equally as participants.
The penalty for drag racing is up to 93 days in jail, up to 2 years of probation, 4 traffic record points, fines and costs, as well has the possibility of vehicle forfeiture.
“How can the police prove I was drag racing?”
The law gives the government the advantage in court by creating a presumption that cars are drag racing if two or more cars are traveling together more than the speed limit or rapidly accelerating from a common starting point. A presumption means that the court will start with the assumption that the drivers were drag racing, and the defense will have to provide evidence to the contrary.
“The police took my car! How can I get it back?”
In addition to the possible criminal penalties, the police may seize and take possession of a vehicle believed to be used for drag racing. The police can seize the vehicle at the time of the incident or after it. If the police and prosecutor seize a vehicle, they can seek to have the court order its forfeiture and then sell the car at auction.
The court does not have to agree to forfeiture. Under Michigan law, the judge is required to consider various factors, including the circumstances of the offense and the driver’s prior criminal and traffic records. A savvy, experienced defense lawyer has the best odds of negotiating the return of the vehicle and avoiding an order for forfeiture.
If a vehicle is sold at auction following an order for forfeiture, the money is used to pay off any liens, the costs of towing and storage, and restitution, if any. If there is money left over, the government gets to keep it.
“Can I use my car while the charges are pending in court?”
If the police seize a vehicle that was allegedly used in a drag race, the owner can petition the court for the vehicle’s return, pending the outcome of the criminal charges. If the judge determines the owner has a legitimate need for the car, he or she can order the police to return the vehicle temporarily. If the police are ordered to return the vehicle while the court is considering the charges and possible forfeiture, the defendant will have to post a bond with the court in the amount of the retail value of the car. The government will place a lien on the vehicle to ensure it is not sold, and that title is not transferred.
“Can I sell my car so that it doesn’t get forfeited?”
No. A person who knowingly hides, sells, gives away, or otherwise transfers the title of a vehicle
with the intent to avoid forfeiture is guilty of a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of up to 1 year in jail. If the vehicle is a lease, the court may order that it be returned to the lessor.
“How long does a drag racing conviction stay on my record?”
Forever. Because drag racing is illegal under the Motor Vehicle Code, it cannot be expunged. Under current Michigan law, a drag racing conviction will stay on a person’s record and will never be removed. The inability to remove a drag racing conviction is a major concern because it can have a devastating impact on the defendant’s automobile insurance rates.
Getting Drag Racing Charges Dismissed
Given the possible criminal and forfeiture penalties, a defendant will want to avoid a conviction for drag racing, if possible. Prosecutors, who are charged with protecting the community, consider drag racing to be a direct threat to the community. Indeed, drag racing has resulted in countless deaths and injuries to participants and bystanders. Judges have little tolerance for defendants convicted of drag racing and routinely consider imposing harsh sentences.
A defendant’s best chance of avoiding a conviction is with an experienced, skilled, and respected defense lawyer. A seasoned attorney will know the best approach to negotiating for reduced or dismissed charges and seeking the return of the vehicle to the driver. Even when guilt is undeniable, plea bargaining between a retained defense lawyer and a prosecutor is routine. The better the lawyer, the better the potential outcome.
Experienced Drag Racing Defense Attorneys
The attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience defending clients on drag racing charges and other traffic offenses. They have an unparalleled track record for achieving exceptional plea bargains and negotiating the return of seized property, including vehicles. Because our lawyers are trial attorneys, innocent clients can be assured that the Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. will seek the dismissal of all charges. If you trust our firm with your representation, we will find a way to help you.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.