In 2008, Massachusetts passed G.L. c. 90, §17B, criminalizing drag racing, which had only been a civil offense. To obtain a conviction for drag racing, the Commonwealth must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant:
- Operated his motor vehicle, or permitted another person to operate his vehicle, at a high rate of speed;
- In competition with another motor vehicle; and,
- Thereby caused increased noise of skidding tires and amplified engine noise due to revving of the engine.
Though the participants need not necessarily agree to race to violate the statute, the Commonwealth must prove that the race was an actual competition, such as an organized event. It is not enough for the Commonwealth to demonstrate that two motorists were trying to pass one another, even at high speeds. If the statute required no more, the police would be able to charge vast majority of Massachusetts’ motorists with racing. Drag racing is not to be confused with driving to endanger, which is criminalized by G.L. c. 90, §(2)(a). Driving to endanger is considered, essentially, reckless driving, while drag racing is generally more of an organized event.
A conviction for drag racing may be punished by imprisonment in the House of Correction for not more than 2 1/2 years or by a fine of not more than $1,000. The Registry of Motor Vehicles will suspend the defendant’s license for a period of not less than 30 days for a first offense and for not less than 180 days for any subsequent violation. Additional penalties apply to junior operators.
Contact a Massachusetts Criminal Attorney
If you or a loved one has been charged with drag racing, contact the Mahoney Criminal Defense Group at 67-492-0055 to schedule a free in-office consultation with an experienced Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney.