Vehicle Seizures for Street Racing in Texas
Effective Sept. 1, 2021, Texas police officers will have the authority to seize street racers’ vehicles under House Bill 2315. Street racing is illegal in Texas, as it is unlawful for a person to participate in any manner in the following:
- A race
- A vehicle speed competition or contest
- A drag race or acceleration contest
- A test of physical endurance of the operator of a vehicle
- An exhibit of vehicle speed or acceleration in connection to a drag race
- A vehicle speed record related to a drag race
Street racing in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a maximum $2,000 fine. However, street racing can be enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor if the person has previously been convicted of this offense or was driving under the influence at the time of their reported offense. That said, convicted offenders with a need for speed could not only lose their freedom but also their vehicles.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 2315 to help promote safety in Texas communities by seizing vehicles that are considered criminal instruments. Since street racing relies upon vehicles, then such vehicles would be considered criminal instruments. San Antonio PD Sgt. James Smith commented that street racers are very “reckless” and very “dangerous,” and the bill would “make the community safer at the end of the day.”
Authorities find street racing to be reckless and dangerous because it has historically led to crashes, injuries, deaths, and property damage. This is what has motivated lawmakers to impose stricter laws and penalties for those who drive “Fast and Furious.”
When Can a Vehicle be Seized for Street Racing?
Under the bill, police officers can ask a judge to seize a street racer’s vehicle if the person is a repeat offender, was under the influence of drugs or alcohol while racing, or caused injury or death as a result of their racing. With this in mind, first-time street racing offenders likely won’t get their vehicles seized unless they were under the influence.
Once a vehicle is seized by Texas police, it could be held by law enforcement or auctioned off. The police may even use those seized vehicles for undercover officers to infiltrate illegal car clubs.
As frightening as it seems to lose your wheels, you can have hope knowing that you could potentially obtain your vehicle with the help of a skilled attorney. Although vehicle seizures are used to deter illegal street racing in Texas, that doesn’t necessarily mean those vehicles are gone forever. A good lawyer can negotiate with the judge to help minimize your penalties, which includes keeping your vehicle.
The legal consequences for street racing are tough enough, and HB 2315 is only making them harsher. For these reasons and more, we strongly encourage you to contact our firm online or at (972) 330-4050 if you are in trouble with the law. Your fight is our fight!