California Vehicle Code 23109 VC – Speed Contests

California Vehicle Code Section 23109 VC labeled as “speed contests” makes it unlawful for a person to race another vehicle or timer. So, the next time you’re at a green light and you’re thinking about racing the car next to you, keep in mind that you can be charged with a misdemeanor speed contest charge. Speed contests include street racing, drag racing, or exhibition of speed on a public roadway.

You should not take speed contest charges lightly as this crime is a misdemeanor and conviction of misdemeanor contests result in up to ninety days of imprisonment in jail, as well as a fine of up to $1,000. So, if you have been charged with engaging in a speed contest in violation of vehicle code 23109 VC, you should immediately contact an experienced Los Angeles Speed Contest Attorney at The H Law Group to represent you and defend you, so that you don’t go to jail and lose your driver’s license.

Our attorneys have handled thousands of cases, so they have the knowledge and experience to achieve the best possible outcome for you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404. ­

Text of California Vehicle Code Section 23109(a) and 23109(c) – Speed Tests

According to California Vehicle Code 23109(a) and 231096(c),

“(a) A person shall not engage in a motor vehicle speed contest on a highway. As used in this section, a motor vehicle speed contest includes a motor vehicle race against another vehicle, a clock, or other timing devices.

For purposes of this section, an event in which the time to cover a prescribed route of more than 20 miles is measured, but where the vehicle does not exceed the speed limits, is not a speed contest.

(c) A person shall not engage in a motor vehicle exhibition of speed on a highway, and a person shall not aid or abet in a motor vehicle exhibition of speed on any highway.”

Proving a Person Guilty of Engaging in a Speed Contest in Violation of Vehicle Code 23109 VC

For the prosecution to convict a person of engaging in a speed contest in violation of vehicle code 23109 VC, the prosecution must prove a number of elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to prove even one element, it will not be able to convict the defendant of this crime.

The prosecution must prove the following elements:

  • The defendant drove a motor vehicle, – Motor vehicle includes cars, motorcycles, and commercial vehicles AND
  • The defendant willfully engaged in a speed contest – A speed contest is defined as a race between two vehicles, or racing a timer.

Examples of Engaging in a Speed Contest in Violation of Vehicle Code 23109

John is riding his motorcycle home from a friend’s party. While he riding home, another rider pulls up next to him and honks his horn. The two then engage in a race and John wins the race. As soon as the race is over, a police officer pulls over John to see what John was up to. John can be charged with and convicted of engaging in a speed contest in violation of vehicle code 23109 VC.

Matt just bought a brand-new Corvette and he brags all the time about how fast it is to his friend, but his friends do not believe him. So, he goes out on a public street, sets a timer, and races the timer. He finishes the quarter-mile in 12 seconds. A nearby police officer sees what Matt has done and pulls him over. Matt can be charged with and convicted of a speed contest because even though he did not race another vehicle, he raced the timer or stopwatch, which satisfies the second element of this crime.

Penalties for Engaging in a Speed Contest

If the prosecution convicts a person of engaging in a speed contest in violation of VC 23109, he or she faces the following potential consequences:

  • Conviction of a misdemeanor offense
  • Up to ninety (90) days in county jail (Minimum of 24hrs in jail)
  • A fine of up to $1,000 (min. fine $355)
  • Performance of 40 hours of community service
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for up to six months
  • If you have a prior conviction for engaging in a speed contest within 5 years of your current conviction, there is a mandatory minimum of 4 days in county jail, as well as a minimum fine of $500.

Note: If you’re eligible for a restricted license, you can only drive your vehicle to and from work. If you violate the restrictions on your license, you restricted license can be taken away and you can be charged with driving on a suspended driver’s license in violation of CVC 14601.

Speed Contests Defenses

If you have been charged with engaging in a speed contest in violation of VC 23109, there are a number of defenses that your attorney can use to defend you and keep you from going to jail. Here are some of the defenses that your attorney may be able to use:

  • The defendant did not willfully engage in a speed contest – for example, if the defendant was merely speeding and not engaging in a contest with anyone else, he cannot be convicted of engaging on a speed contest
  • There is insufficient evidence that you were engaging in a speed contest
  • The defendant is a victim of mistaken identity
  • The defendant is being falsely accused of engaging in a speed contest

Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Speed Contest Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with engaging in a speed contest or racing your motorcycle or car with another person, you should immediately contact an experienced Los Angeles Speed Contests Defense Attorney at The H Law Group to defend you.

Our speed contest defense attorneys have defended thousands of people against a myriad of criminal charges, so they have the knowledge and experience to best defend you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

Charged with a Crime?


Act now to protect your legal rights.

Charged with a Crime?


Act now to protect your legal rights.