What Happens if I’m Arrested for Street Racing in Las Vegas?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Aug 09, 2016 | 0 Comments


If you're thinking about street racing on the Strip or on any public road or highway in Las Vegas, you should think about the fact that street racing in Las Vegas is a serious crime that could result in jail time as well as the loss of your driving privileges, among other penalties.

Drag racing or street racing are referred to as “speed contests” in Nevada law The law prohibits such events, which are considered a form of reckless driving. Under NRS 484B.653, it is illegal for a person to: 

  • Drive a vehicle in an unauthorized speed contest on a public highway.
  • Organize an unauthorized speed contest on a public highway.

As such, it's not just a driver who can be charged and convicted for a street racing crime. If you participate in any way in organizing a race, you can face criminal penalties as well. You “organize” a drag race if you “plan, schedule or promote, or assist in the planning, scheduling or promotion of, an unauthorized speed contest on a public highway, regardless of whether a fee is charged for attending the unauthorized speed contest.”

The penalties for a Las Vegas street racing conviction depend on whether it is your first or a subsequent offense and whether anybody was injured as a result of the race.

If no one gets hurt, street racing, either as a driver or organizer, will be charged as a misdemeanor with possible penalties as follows:

  • First Offense:
    • a fine of $250 to $1,000;
    • between 50 to 99 hours of community service; and
    • up to 6 months in Clark County Jail
  • Second Offense:
    • a fine between $1,000 and $1,500;
    • between 100 to 199 hours of community service; and
    • up to 6 months in Clark County Jail
  • Third and Subsequent Offenses:
    • a fine of $1,500 to $2,000;
    • 200 hours of community service; and
    • up to 6 months in Clark County Jail

Additionally, a judge can also suspend your driver's license for a period of up to two years as well as impound your vehicle for up to 15 days for a first offense and up to 30 days for subsequent convictions.

If an unauthorized speed race "proximately caused" someone's death or substantial bodily harm in Nevada, it will be treated as a felony with punishment of up to 6 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

Given the potential for jail time, thousands of dollars in fines, and the loss of your driving privileges, it is critical that you contact an experienced Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer if you've been charged with street racing in Las Vegas. Give us a call; we can review your situation and develop the best strategy for moving forward. (For California law, see our article on Drag Racing in Santa Clara County.)




About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).


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