What is road racing?
Road racing is illegal in Massachusetts. General Laws Chapter 90, Section 24(2)(a) states that it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle on a bet or wager in a race or to speed to set a record.
A defendant is "road racing" if they:
- Operate a motor vehicle on a bet
- Operate a motor vehicle on a wager
- Use a motor vehicle in a race
What is the law on road racing?
Commonwealth law states:
“Whoever upon any way or in any place to which the public has a right of access, or in any place to which members of the public have access as invitees or licensees, operates a motor vehicle…upon a bet or wager or in a race or for the purpose of making a record and thereby violates the speeding laws…shall be punished.”
In other words, if a person operates a motor vehicle in (ONE OR BOTH):
…to which the public has right of access OR in any place to which members of the public have access as invitees or licensees AND operates that motor vehicle because of (ONE OR MORE):
- A bet
- A wager
- A race
- For the purpose of making a record
…and consequentially violates speeding laws, that person is committing a crime.
What does the government have to show in order to prove road racing?
In order to prove a defendant GUILTY of the offense of road racing, the Commonwealth must prove ALL three of the following elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That the defendant operated a motor vehicle
2. That he or she did so on:
- A way
- In a place where the public has a right of access
- In a place where members of the public have access as invitees or licenses
- That the defendant:
- Did so upon a bet
- Upon a wager
- Did so in a race
- Violated the speeding laws for the purpose of making a record
What is the legal definition of a race?
A motor vehicle race is legally considered to be a competition between the drivers of TWO OR MORE vehicles to excel:
- In the rate of acceleration
- In the speed
…of their respective vehicles.
Direct evidence of an agreement to race is NOT required if the circumstances of the situation in question support an inference that the defendant entered into an agreement, either express or implied, to engage in a race.
How do we know speeding laws were violated?
It is a violation of the speeding laws to operate a motor vehicle at a rate of speed that is faster than is reasonable and proper at that particular place and time.
Jurors must consider all of the following factors in determining what is “reasonable and proper”:
- The traffic conditions at the time in question
- The use of that particular road at the time in question
- The safety of the public at all times
- The time of the day in question
- The weather conditions at the time in question
- The volume of traffic at the time in question
- The length and width of the street in question
- The type of road in question
- The type of neighborhood in question
- The number of pedestrians at the time in question
- Any other factors believed to be relevant to the reasonableness of a driver’s speed
Remember that ANY driver that operates faster than the speed limit posted for a particular stretch of road is considered to be operating faster than is reasonable and proper.
However, if no speed limit was posted, it is considered evidence that the driver was operating faster than is reasonable and proper if the driver operated more than:
- 30 miles per hour for 1/8 of a mile in a thickly settled or business district
- 50 miles per hour for ¼ of a mile on a divided highway outside a thickly-settled or business district
- 40 miles per hour for ¼ of a mile on any road outside a thickly-settled or business district, other than a divided highway
- 20 miles per hour within a school district established under regulations of the Department of Public Works
What does it mean to make a record?
Withroad racing, the word “record” has its ordinary meaning—that is, best performance, surpassing all others involved in that event.
Is road racing the same as drag racing?
No, under Massachusetts law drag racing (G.L. c. 90, § 17B) is defined as a separate legal offense from “road racing”.
Drag racing is:
- Permitting operation of
…a motor vehicle in a manner where the owner or operator accelerates at a high rate of speed in competition with another operator, whether or not there is an agreement to race, causing (BOTH):
- Increased noise from skidding tires
- Amplified noise from racing engines
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH ROAD RACING AND YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WORKING ON YOUR SIDE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, PLEASE CONTACT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WILLIAM J. BARABINO.
CALL 781-393-5900 TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR AVAILABLE DEFENSES.