Exhibition of speed is a crime that means you were speeding aggressively. It was originally designed to punish people racing on the highway, but is commonly used as a plea bargain for DUI.
In California, one of the best ways to avoid a DUI conviction is to get the prosecutor to reduce the charge to a lesser offense. This is known as a plea deal. A plea deal carries many advantages including a much lighter sentence and no DUI on your record. Of all the common plea deals for DUI, “exhibition of speed” is probably the best for the driver.
Exhibition of speed is a charge that most people will never hear of. The text of the law refers to a “speed contest”—in other words, a race. It’s a law that makes it illegal to race on a California road under any circumstances: against another car, against a clock, or simply to set a record. Because contests of speed are seen as highly dangerous, the penalties go beyond those for simply breaking the speed limit.
But the penalties are also much lighter than those for DUI. Negotiating an exhibition of speed plea has many advantages over DUI:
- It carries a shorter jail sentence
- The fines and fees will be substantially less than a DUI
- 1-2 years of probation instead of 3-5 years
- Does not appear as a DUI on your record
This last one is perhaps the most important. The other most common DUI plea bargain, wet reckless, also has lesser penalties—but it still counts as a prior DUI if you’re ever arrested for a new DUI. Exhibition of speed does not.
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