Racing On A Highway In Texas

Texas law prohibits participation in racing on a highway. Nonetheless, law enforcement frequently struggles to differentiate between street racing and careless driving.

Despite the fact that racing on a highway may appear to be a risk-free pastime, especially late at night with little traffic, it is not. Excessive speeds can cause accidents that result in significant property damage, serious bodily harm, or deaths. In general, law enforcement and the state take this violation quite seriously. They will go to any length to obtain a conviction, even if it is for a minor offense. Their primary goal is to ensure legal penalties, which might lead to imprisonment.

What Does Racing On A Highway Mean?

Engaging in racing on a highway involves driving at exceptionally high speeds, often with the aim of outpacing another vehicle on a public road, typically a highway or freeway. This activity is not only against the law in many jurisdictions but is also widely recognized as hazardous and poses serious risks. The potential consequences include accidents that can result in injuries, fatalities, and significant damage to vehicles and property.

Texas Law Concerning Street Racing

Texas Transportation Code Sec. 545.420 prohibits the following behavior on state highways:

(A) A person may not participate in any manner in:

(1) a race;

(2) a vehicle speed competition or contest;

(3) a drag race or acceleration contest;

(4) a test of physical endurance of the operator of a vehicle;  or

(5) in connection with a drag race, an exhibition of vehicle speed or acceleration or to make a vehicle speed record.

(B) “Drag” means when vehicle or vehicles start from the same point side by side and competitive attempt to outdistance another vehicle. It can also be when one or more vehicles go over a chosen path, starting and ending at the same place, to see which one is faster or accelerates more in a set distance or time.

(C) “Race” refers to using one or more vehicles to try to go faster or farther than another vehicle, stop another vehicle from passing, arrive at the given destination before ahead of another vehicle, or to test the physical stamina or endurance of the driver over a long-distance route.

Penalties for Racing on a Highway

For Drivers

  • Class B Misdemeanor (§ 545.420(d) – If the person hasn’t been in convicted before, and nobody got hurt, they might face a $2,000 fine and a jail term of up to 180 days.
  • Class A  Misdemeanor (§ 545.420(e) (1-2) – If the person is convicted once for race-related offenses, they could face a penalty of up to $4,000, go to jail for up to one year, lose their driving privileges temporarily, and pay an additional $3,500 fine.
  • State Jail Felony (§ 545.420(f) – If convicted twice or more for race-related offenses, they might end up in jail for two to ten years, have to pay fines of up to $10,000, lose their license for up to two years, and face an extra mandatory fine.
  • Third Degree Felony (§ 545.420(g) – If someone got hurt because of the racing, the person responsible might end up in jail for two to ten years and have to pay fines of up to $10,000.
  • Second Degree Felony (§ 545.420(h)– if another suffered serious bodily injury or death as a result. Penalties include two to twenty years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine

For Passengers

Being a passenger doesn’t exempt you from responsibility. You could potentially face the same charges as the driver, either as a participant or as an accomplice.


Even if you’re just watching or going to these events, you could still face consequences like a fine of up to $500, problems with your driver’s license, and your vehicle might be towed.


If racing on a highway that’s against the law leads to criminal charges or hurts someone or damages property, a police officer might take and keep your vehicle as evidence. They could even take it permanently under forfeiture laws.

Defending Racing On A Highway Charges

Know this: you can defend yourself against street racing and organizing criminal activity charges. Just being present and driving with two others doesn’t automatically mean you were conspiring or racing. Sometimes, police officers may misunderstand innocent actions. The prosecution must prove each part of the crime. If you weren’t speeding, racing, or blocking another vehicle, a skilled Texas criminal defense attorney can argue that the state can’t prove every part of the crime against you. Proving a conspiracy involving three or more people for organized crime is tough. Don’t assume the court will find you guilty just because the police or prosecution claim a conspiracy.

Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!

People might speed on a highway for reasons other than racing. If you face charges for racing on a highway, our firm will actively work to defend your rights and seek to reduce or dismiss the charges.

If you face arrest and charges for racing on a Texas highway, it’s crucial to consult with a criminal defense attorney well-versed in the matter. To understand what you’re up against according to Texas law, you should first know what the Texas Transportation Code says about the elements of the crime of racing on a highway.