7 Things You Didn’t Know About An “Exhibition of Speed”

In this guide, I will explain 7 things you probably did not know about an exhibition of speed in California.

Let’s get started…

Overview of A “Speed Ex”

Under California Vehicle Code Section 231091 , a driver can be arrested for engaging in a motor vehicle exhibition of speed on a highway or aiding or abetting in a motor vehicle exhibition of speed on a highway. Conduct that constitutes an unlawful exhibition of speed is sometimes found when an intoxicated driver accelerates their car in such manner as to deliberately cause it to skid. This usually causes the driver to lose control of the car and may endanger bystanders or other cars.

Elements Of California Vehicle Code 23109
  • You were driving a motor vehicle on the highway
  • While driving, you willfully2 or intentionally accelerated or drove at a rate of speed considered dangerous and unsafe3.
  • And you did so in order to impress another person or to show off, Or
  • You aided and abetted someone in committing the offense4.

Benefits of An Exhibition of Speed vs. DUI

An exhibition of speed under California Vehicle Code 23109(c)5 has many advantages over pleading to a DUI.  These include:

Lesser Fine

Exhibition of speed can result in a maximum fine of $500 as opposed to $1000 for a DUI.

Shorter Probation

A DUI conviction carries probation time of 3 to 5-years, while an exhibition of speed conviction is only 2-years.

Less Jail Exposure

You face up to 90-days for exhibition of speed while a DUI exposes you to up to one-year. If felony DUI, you face 16-months, 2 or 4 years. If you happen to violate any term of your probation during this time, you will only spend up to 90-days while you could serve up to a year if you were convicted of DUI.

No Priorability

No priorability can be especially important if you pick up a second DUI case with a ten year period.  This new case would have harsher penalties and much tougher sentencing if you had been convicted in a prior case or plead to a charge that has priorability such as a wet reckless or DUI.

What Are The Penalties For Exhibition Of Speed Under Vehicle Code 23109(c)?

A prosecutor has discretion in deciding whether to charge you with a misdemeanor or an infraction, largely depending on the circumstances of the act and the degree to which it posed a safety threat.

As a misdemeanor, you face:

  • Incarceration with a maximum of 90-days in county jail
  • A fine of up to $500
  • Summary probation (2-years)
Car Impound

Additionally, the arresting officer has the right to impound your car for up to 30-days. Your car can be returned to you sooner if:

  • Your car was stolen
  • You did not give the driver authority to drive your car
  • The vehicle was a rental
  • You were not driving and had no knowledge the driver was going to engage in such conduct if charged with aiding and abetting
  • Your charges are dismissed
Exhibition of Speed Infraction

Otherwise, the prosecution can opt to charge you with an infraction, which only carries a fine of up to $250.00. An infraction is not a criminal offense.

How Many Points Do You Get On Your License For An Exhibition Of Speed?

A conviction for exhibition of speed results in 2-points that does not lead to mandatory suspension of your license but could lead to a license suspension if you accumulate:

  • 4 points in 12-months
  • 6 points in 24-months
  • 8 points in 36-months
DUI Plea Bargain

In some DUI cases, an experienced DUI attorney may be able to plea bargain and get the DUI charge reduced to a lesser offense such as exhibition of speed under vehicle code 23109 .  An exhibition of speed offense will not count as a prior DUI conviction if the driver gets another DUI conviction later.

In many DUI cases, a driver may be offered an exhibition of speed reduction in charges by the prosecution if the results of a chemical test do not conclusively prove intoxication or there are credibility issues with the testimony of the arresting officer.

What Circumstances are More Likely to Get an Exhibition of Speed Plea Bargain?

While a prosecutor has the option of offering you or your attorney a reduced charge in exchange for a guilty plea in a case where you face DUI charges, usually it takes concerted and skilled work on the part of your DUI attorney.

Your attorney needs to show that there was sloppy police work or flaws in the handling of your case such as lack of probable cause to stop or arrest you for DUI, or there were errors in the chemical test that indicated your blood alcohol concentration level (BAC), or insufficient evidence overall. In some cases, a review of the arresting officer’s personnel file may reveal a credibility issue.

Factors that may influence a prosecutor to reduce your DUI charge to an exhibition of speed may include:

  • You were unlawfully profiled for a vehicle stop6
  • The office harassed or intimidated you or unlawfully searched you or your car (if eyewitness testimony from others, cell phone video, or video footage from the police car or body cam)
  • The breathalyzer was not property maintained or serviced correctly pursuant to statutory guidelines7
  • If a blood test, lack of chain of evidence or a showing of a likely tainted blood test result
  • You had a medical condition that affected the chemical test results
  • Your BAC level was below 0.08% (you can still be charged with DUI under Vehicle Code 23152(a))
  • Insufficient proof of being under the influence of a drug if so charged

People Also Ask

What is the definition of exhibition of speed?

Exhibition of Speed is when you accelerate or drive at a rate of speed that is dangerous and unsafe, in order to show off or make an impression on someone else.  Typically this can be seen as screeching tires whereby your tires lose traction with the pavement and make a loud noise.

Is exhibition of speed a misdemeanor?

Yes.  Exhibition of speed is a misdemeanor punishable by no more than 90 days in county jail or by a fine of no more than $500 plus penalty assessments, or by both that fine and jail time.  However, prosecutors may also file this charge as an infraction with a maximum fine of $250 plus penalty assessments.

How much is the fine for street racing?

The maximum fine for street racing can be as high as $1,000 plus penalty assessments per California Vehicle Code section 23109(e).

Is it a felony to race?

It can be, depending on the circumstances.  If you are racing and are involved in a traffic collision whereby someone is injured, you may be charged with reckless driving as a felony.

How long does exhibition of speed stay on your record in california?

In California, there is no amount of time that needs to pass for exhibition of speed to be removed from your record.  Upon conviction, the arrest, charges and disposition become part of your record permanently.  If you obtain an expungement pursuant to Penal Code 1203.4, the disposition will change from “convicted” to “dismissed,” but the case information will remain.

Next Steps If You Need Help

If you have been arrested and would like to learn more about how attorneys charge.

If you want to understand why its important to have an attorney represent you.

If you would like to discuss a pending case with an attorney contact the Aizman Law Firm at 818-351-9555 for a free confidential consultation.

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  1. California Vehicle Code 23109(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 device. 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 []
  2. People v. Lara (1996) 44 Cal. App.4th 102, 108 []
  3. People v. Grier (1964) 226 Cal.App.2d 360; In re F.E. (1977) 67 Cal.App.3d 222, 225). []
  4. People v. Beeman (1984) 35 Cal.App.3d 547; People v. Vasquez (1972) 29 Cal.App.3d 81,87). []
  5. California Vehicle Code 23109(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. []
  6. Penal Code § 13519.4 []
  7. California Code of Regulations Title 17 []

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