Road racing in Massachusetts is a crime. See Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 24. As with most motor vehicle offenses in Massachusetts, the act must occur on a public way or in a place where members of the public have access either by right or invitation. This statute prohibits anyone from racing or betting on a race or from speeding with the purpose of making a record. Massachusetts laws define a race as a competition between drivers “to excel in the rate of acceleration or in the speed of their respective vehicles”. There is no need for an express agreement. In other words, if the actions between the drivers are indicative of an intent to race and the race follows you can be prosecuted under this law. Where no speed limits are posted drivers are under an obligation to operate at a reasonable speed.
Many people think that road racing is a civil infraction rather than a crime. They go to court, speak with an assistant district attorney or a police prosecutor and find out that they can resolve their case by paying a fine. What they often do not know is that they just admitted to having committed a crime. If you do not have a criminal record it is highly unlikely that you will get one on these charges provided you are represented by a competent lawyer. Do not be fooled by what seems like a slap on the wrist. A criminal conviction can stay with you for the rest of your life. If you have been charged with road racing you should contact an experienced Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney now.
Another Massachusetts statute covers this activity as well. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 17B prohibits competitions between or among cars involving a high rate of speed. This statute covers skidding tires resulting from this activity. It also covers revving engines. The punishment for a conviction for this offense can be rather severe. The statute permits a judge to sentence you to two and one half years in the county house of correction. A fine of up to one thousand dollars might be imposed.
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license for thirty days upon a conviction for a first offense. The suspension is six months for subsequent convictions. If you have a junior operator’s license you will have to pay a two hundred fifty dollar fine. You will lose your license for one year. You will also be required to complete a road rage program.
Road racing cases sometimes get resolved in clerk’s hearings. The officer who pulls you over might give you a citation that permits you to request a clerk magistrate hearing. If that is the case make sure you send the form in immediately requesting the hearing. If you do not do so, you will be summonsed for arraignment and have to defend the criminal complaint. Keep in mind that the police do not have to give you a clerk’s hearing since the act was likely committed in their presence. So, if you are lucky enough to have this opportunity please take advantage of it. It could make a big difference and save you a lot of money.