One of the most common ways to beat a DUI is to negotiate a plea deal for a lesser charge. While most plea deals reduce the DUI to reckless driving, some can will offer a less well-known charge—one that’s very advantageous. This charge is known as Exhibition of Speed or a “speed ex,” and it has many advantages over DUI. Most importantly, there is shorter jail time, shorter probation time and no license suspension.
What counts as an exhibition of speed?
The law against exhibition of speed is set down by California Vehicle Code 23109. Originally, this law was used primarily to prosecute people who drag raced on highways or city streets. More often, it’s used when someone drives excessively fast to show off what their vehicle can do, or drives in a way where they intentionally skid. This kind of behavior is considered dangerous because it’s easy to lose control of the vehicle.
In a DUI case, however, you may not have been doing any of these things. It doesn’t matter. There is no set number of miles per hour a vehicle has to be traveling to qualify as an exhibition of speed, so this is a very flexible law that can be used to cover many driving situations.
Typically, speed ex is not an offense you’ll be charged with when you’re first arrested for DUI; instead, the prosecution may offer it as a plea deal. That means your DUI charge will be dropped if you agree to plead guilty to speed ex instead. Speed ex is also a misdemeanor criminal offense, but it is not nearly as serious as DUI.
Why is exhibition of speed a better deal than DUI?
In California, DUIs carry mandatory jail sentences, mandatory license suspension, and 3-5 years of probation. Speed ex doesn’t have any of these requirements. The probation time is shorter, there may not be any jail time at all, and in most cases your license will not be suspended. Similarly, if you are convicted of DUI you have to attend mandatory traffic safety classes, but speed ex doesn’t require this.
Perhaps the most important advantages, however, are the long-term ones. With an exhibition of speed charge:
- There is no association with alcohol, drugs or drunk driving on your criminal record.
- Speed ex does not count as a “prior” offense if you’re ever arrested for DUI again. You are safe from the outlandish penalties thrown at repeat offenders.
- Speed ex is more likely to be overlooked by insurers, employers and college admissions.
In short, an exhibition of speed charge simply doesn’t haunt you the way a DUI can.
What are the penalties for exhibition of speed in Los Angeles?
The penalties for a speed ex include:
- Maximum 90 days in jail, and often no jail at all
- Fines up to $1,000
Typically, your driver’s license will not be suspended for exhibition of speed. License suspension is mandatory in DUI cases.
How do I know if an exhibition of speed deal might be an option in my case?
Like all plea bargains, you need to make a case for why you should get a speed ex offer. Prosecutors only cut deals when they believe that it would be difficult to get a DUI conviction in court. This could be because the evidence against you is weak to start with, or it could be because your DUI lawyer successfully calls some of the evidence into question or gets it suppressed.
The most common circumstances where we see an exhibition of speed plea deal are:
- Low BAC. If you were subjected to a chemical test, such as a breathalyzer, and it did not show a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC), a deal is more likely.
- Unreliable BAC. Sometimes there was an error with the test you were given, such as being administered incorrectly, or there’s reason to believe something threw it off. This can also be grounds for a deal.
- The arresting officer is not credible. This happens when the officer changes stories, did not write things down correctly after the arrest, mixed up details between cases, or otherwise appears unreliable as a witness.
No matter what the circumstances of your case, a plea deal is far less likely if you don’t have a good DUI defense lawyer.
Have you been charged with DUI? We can connect you with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer and get you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 896-2724 and get your free consultation today.