Question: I was cited for “drag racing” by a police officer. I don’t know what that means. The prosecutor offered me a plea to “28-701(A).” Should I accept that plea?
Mr. Stevens’ Answer: The law you were cited for, A.R.S. section 28-708, is essentially for street racing. Here’s how Arizona criminal law defines street racing:
“A person shall not drive a vehicle or participate in any manner in a race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance or exhibition of speed or acceleration or for the purpose of making a speed record on a street or highway.”
Your cited offense of exhibition of speed, street racing or drag racing criminal in nature — it’s a class 1 misdemeanor for your first offense, and can even be classified as a felony if you are convicted of it twice in 2 years.
The minimum fine if you are convicted of violating 28-708 is $250, but could be up to $2,500, along with jail and community service. Now, the prosecutor has offered you a plea to 28-701(A). Unless you think the citation is bogus and that you are innocent, this is not a bad plea. What the plea is basically saying is that you drove “at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent,” according to Arizona traffic law.
That would be a civil penalty, and not a criminal conviction. It’s your basic, run-of-the-mill Arizona speeding ticket. But make sure your plea does not say section 28-701.02 because that is a class 3 misdemeanor and puts you back in the world of Arizona criminal law. Please keep in mind, I don’t know the total facts of your case.
So, I would strongly recommend you to consult with an Arizona lawyer before you accept a plea or demand a trial. I do free consultations on all Arizona criminal and traffic cases. Best of luck.