Unauthorized Speed Contest | Racing in New York (VTL 1182-1)

In New York, participating in an unauthorized speed contest is a crime. It carries with it very steep penalties, fines, and the possibility of jail time and a permanent criminal record. Often, an officer will issue a ticket for racing along with a speeding ticket and/or a reckless driving ticket. The following article is designed to help you better understand what you are up against when you get a ticket for violating VTL 1182-1.

Background Information

Racing in NY is officially called engaging in an “unauthorized speed contest.” If you are convicted of racing, you can go to jail for up to 30 days and will be forced to pay a fine of $300-$525.

If you are caught and convicted again within 12 months of your first offense, you can face a jail sentence of up to 6 months and a fine of $525-$750.

Although a racing ticket in NY does not carry any points itself, you will almost certainly receive a hefty speeding ticket that does. Remember, racing tickets are usually accompanied by speeding tickets, so you will be dealing with points, a possible suspension/revocation of your license, steep fines and surcharges, and an increased rate in auto insurance.

Official Text of New York’s Racing Law

New York Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) 1182-1. Unauthorized speed contests and races.

1. Except as provided in section eleven hundred eighty-two-a of this article or section sixteen hundred thirty, sixteen hundred forty, sixteen hundred forty-two or sixteen hundred sixty of this chapter, no races, exhibitions or contests of speed shall be held and no person shall engage in or aid or abet in any motor vehicle or other speed contest or exhibition of speed on a highway. Such event, if held, shall be fully and efficiently patrolled for the entire distance over which such race, exhibition or contest for speed is to be held. Participants in a race, exhibition or contest of speed are exempted from compliance with any traffic laws otherwise applicable thereto, but shall exercise reasonable care. A violation of any of the provisions of this section shall constitute a misdemeanor and be punishable by imprisonment of not more than thirty days or a fine of not less than three hundred dollars nor more than five hundred twenty-five dollars, or both such fine and imprisonment.

2. A second conviction within twelve months of a violation of this section shall be punishable by imprisonment of not more than six months or a fine of not less than five hundred twenty-five dollars nor more than seven hundred fifty dollars, or both such fine and imprisonment.

Common Defenses and Case Law Analysis

There are two defenses that are extremely important to keep in mind when you try to beat your racing ticket.

First and foremost, “simply speeding down the street, even in tandem with another vehicle, does not constitute a ‘speed contest’ within the meaning of the statute.” Mic Property & Casualty Corp. v. Avila, 65 AD 3d 1303.

Additionally, in People v. Grund, 14 NY2d 32, the court ruled that a “[v]iolation of this statute means that, at least by implication, some race course must have been planned by the competitors along a street. It is not enough that an automobile operated by defendant and one by his codefendant left an intersection abreast when the traffic light changed to green and, thereafter, traveled abreast at about 55 miles an hour, each car jockeying for position.”

These New York cases help you tremendously. Based on them, your first line of defense is saying that you had no race course planned out and had no intention to be racing.

Second, you point to the Grund decision and explain that simply speeding next to another car is not enough to convict you of VTL 1182-1.

Lastly, if you hire a traffic ticket attorney to fight your case, a prosecutor will usually give him or her a tremendous amount of deference and allow for the consolidation of several tickets.

For example, imagine you get three tickets at the same time: one for racing, another for speeding, and a third for reckless driving. An experienced traffic ticket attorney may be able to get the racing ticket knocked out entirely, have the reckless driving penalties lowered, and all you would be left with is the sting of the speeding ticket.

However, if you were to go to court on your own, the likelihood of this happening is slim to none.

Who Should You Contact?

If you recently received a traffic ticket for engaging in an unauthorized speed contest (VTL 1182-1), contact Adam H. Rosenblum of Rosenblum Law. Mr. Rosenblum has years of experience fighting traffic tickets, negotiating with prosecutors, and getting the results you are looking for. E-mail or call him today at 888-815-3649.

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