Is Street Racing a Crime?

Street racing in movies and other media usually involves an exciting, high-speed chase between racers and their supercars. But in real life, street racing is hazardous, and it takes just a single mistake to injure – or even kill – yourself, other drivers, and pedestrians.

It’s precisely due to the dangers of street racing that Pennsylvania law prohibits it. If officers catch you participating in a street race, you could face criminal charges and penalties for the stunt.

What counts as racing?

Pennsylvania law bans all forms of street racing, including racing from one point to another, drag racing to compare automobiles’ acceleration capabilities, and even races to test the physical stamina of drivers over long distances. The law also prohibits any speed competition or exhibition – even attempting to make a speed record.

Under the law, an officer can charge you for doing an impromptu drag race with another car at an intersection. You could also be charged if you and another driving friend tried to outlast each other on an interstate road trip.

However, the law makes an exception for race activities that have received permits from state or local authorities that authorize the events and their participants.

Penalties for street racing

If you violate Pennsylvania’s ban on street racing, a court can find you guilty of a summary offense. On conviction, the court will sentence you to pay a $200 fine and serve up to 90 days in prison.

If officers catch you breaking speed limits while racing, you might also face fines for speeding violations. The fine for speeding starts at $45, but if you’re caught breaking the rules in a 70-mile-per-hour zone, you will likely have to pay as much as $102.50.

No matter how exciting and heart-pumping street racing looks in the movies, it would be best if you didn’t try anything reckless in real life unless you want to risk a criminal record. If you face charges, you might want to carefully consider your legal options before contesting the accusations in court.

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