On Wednesday, March 17th the Phoenix City Council approved a new ordinance giving police the authority to impound vehicles involved in street racing for up to 30 days.
The move comes as Phoenix police continue to struggle with with street racing despite issuing thousands of citations resulting in hundreds of charges for street racing, reckless driving, and related offenses over the past year.
Here are some important facts:
- The ordinance will apply only in the City of Phoenix.
- It will supplement a new task force within the Phoenix police department that dedicates 14 officers solely to enforcing street racing laws.
- The ordinance takes effect in April.
In recent months, locals have debated vehicle impoundments in street racing cases. Those against it say it violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure, and punishes suspects before they have had their day in court.
Proponents argue that it is essential to public safety and that street race impounds are constitutional because vehicle impoundment is legal in other situations, such as an arrest for extreme DUI, which can also result in a 30-day impoundment.
Street Racing Charges in Arizona
Constitutional arguments aside, the new Phoenix ordinance adds to the list of serious penalties suspects can face after being arrested for street racing.
In Arizona, this means being charged for “Racing on Highways” under A.R.S. § 28-708, which prohibits driving a vehicle or participating in any manner in a “race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance or exhibition of speed or acceleration, or for the purpose of making a speed record on a street or highway.”
Per A.R.S. § 28-708, “drag race” means either:
- “The operation of two or more vehicles from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance each other.
- The operation of one or more vehicles over a common selected course and from the same point for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of the vehicle or vehicles within a certain distance or time limit.”
Violating A.R.S. § 28-708 is a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail, three years of probation, and $4,575 in fines and surcharges.
If you are charged with street racing after being convicted under A.R.S. § 28-708 within the past 24 months, you can be charged with a class 6 felony and will not be eligible for probation, suspension of sentence, or release until you have served at least 10 days in jail or prison.
In Phoenix, the new City ordinance means that you can also have your vehicle impounded following an arrest for street racing. This may lead to difficulties getting to and from your employment and managing other aspects of your life.
At MayesTelles, our Phoenix attorneys have extensive experience representing clients charged with traffic offenses and vehicular crimes, as well as individuals who have had property impounded in connection to arrests. If you have questions about the Phoenix street racing impound ordinance or would like to discuss how our defense attorneys can help, contact us for a free and confidential case review.