Criminal Penalties Increase for Illegal Car Racing in Florida

The law is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.

The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, signed legislation this Monday that increases criminal penalties for street car racing and street takeovers, a recurring crime in the state.

The bill, named SB 1764, qualifies as "coordinated street seizure" that ten or more vehicles operate in an organized manner to carry out a street takeover.

The legislation increases fines for illegal street racing activity to $1,000.

In case of recidivism, The law will increase the penalty for a second violation committed within one year of the first offense, going from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony. In case of subsequent violations the penalties would be even more severe.

It will also be punishable to be caught as a spectator of street vehicle races. Those caught watching an illegal vehicle competition could face fines of up to $400.

The law is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.

At the end of February the Miami-Dade police arrested six young people, including a Cuban and two minors, during a combined police operation with other law enforcement agencies carried out against illegal car racing at some intersections in the county.

In that case, in addition to the arrests of young people between 15 and 21 years old, during the operation the authorities imposed 29 fines and recovered a stolen car and a firearm.

Ángel Rodríguez, spokesperson for the county police, explained that in one of the cases it was the mother of one of the minors who contacted the authorities to raise the alarm and have her son arrested.

Rodríguez added that in other cases it was the Highway Patrol "with its tactics" that allowed the individuals to be detained.

Police recommend that anyone caught in an illegal race or intersection should leave the scene and call 911 immediately.

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