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Promoting or Organizing an Illegal Drag Race
In addition to its prohibition on street racing and laying drags, Georgia law prohibits "promoting or organizing" drag races. The "promoting or organizing" drag races statute is new. It took effect in May 2021 as part of the Georgia legislature's crackdown on drag racing and related offenses.
Before May 2021, Georgia generally could not prosecute individuals for crimes related to drag racing unless prosecutors could prove that they were personally driving the vehicles. This new law provides criminal penalties for individuals involved in drag racing but not personally driving the vehicles.
What does the law say?
The relevant code section is O.C.G.A. § 16-11-43.1. It forbids "knowingly promoting or organizing" an illegal street race or an "exhibition" of laying drags.
What are the penalties for Promoting or Organizing an Illegal Drag Race?
It is important to note that this is not a driving offense. Therefore, there are no license penalties for violation of this statute.
Nonetheless, it is a charge that must be taken seriously. Promoting or Organizing an Illegal Drag Race is a "high and aggravated" misdemeanor. It carries a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 (plus court costs and fees).
In most cases, the State charges individuals with high and aggravated misdemeanors when they are repeat offenders. This is not always the case, though. Sometimes, the legislature considers the crime to be especially serious. It wants to give judges more leeway to sentence individuals to harsher penalties. Therefore, it categorizes these offenses as "high and aggravated" misdemeanors. The maximum penalties are lower than they would be for a felony but higher than they would be for a regular misdemeanor. This is the case with the charge of Promoting or Organizing an Illegal Drag Race.
How can the State prove a case for Promoting or Organizing an Illegal Drag Race?
One important tool that the State uses to prove this charge is social media. In the past, police have used individuals' social media accounts to provide evidence for this charge.
Why you should hire a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney if you are charged with Promoting or Organizing an Illegal Drag Race
As a high an aggravated misdemeanor, a conviction for illegally promoting or organizing an illegal drag race can be life-changing. Convictions, even for misdemeanors, can dramatically change your life. They can prevent you from gaining employment. They can be incredibly expensive. And, most importantly, you can go to jail. This is especially true for this particular charge, because the State of Georgia is in the middle of a crackdown against street racing and those involved with it.
But remember, you are innocent until proven guilty. As your Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney, it is my goal to get the best possible outcome in every case I handle. Questions? Call me today.