If you own a modern front wheel drive car, odds are you have accidentally chirped your tires at some point. It doesn’t take much: a damp roadway, some grease, or maybe some dirt or sand can be enough to cause your wheels to momentarily lose traction when starting from a stop, then make a sound when the spinning tire suddenly gains traction. Maybe you are turning and accelerating at the same time as you try to pull out into traffic on a busy road and your tires slip a little. You aren’t racing or driving recklessly, but that won’t stop you from getting an undeserved ticket for “Exhibition of Speed.”
Exhibition of Speed is prohibited by Arizona Revised Statute 28-708(A) which states “A person shall not drive a vehicle or participate in any manner in a[n] … exhibition of speed or acceleration … on a street or highway.” Pretty vague, right? If an officer is so inclined, they could ticket you for any variety of innocuous actions under this statute, such as chirping your tires, accelerating, braking, or changing lanes; it all depends on what the officer thinks is excessive. You don’t even have to be exceeding the speed limit.
What makes this much worse is that an “Exhibition of Speed” citation is not a civil traffic violation; it is a class 1 misdemeanor which means it is a criminal violation. If convicted, a driver faces a fine of not less than $250, possibly some community service and driving privileges could be suspended for up to 90 days. If a driver is convicted of Exhibition of Speed a second time, the driver faces a fine of not less than $500 along with the community service and license suspension. If the second conviction is within 24 months of the first, the driver “is guilty of a class 6 felony and is not eligible for probation, pardon, suspension of sentence or release on any other basis until the person has served not less than ten days in jail or prison” and the driver’s driving privileges shall be revoked. (A.R.S. 28-708(B), (F)).
If you do get cited for a violation like this, we encourage you to consider the possible reasons why you got it, consider whether it was really deserved, and then call us if you’d like to fight it — because we know we would like to fight it on your behalf.