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The consequences of illegal street racing tend to vary by state, but most areas feature punishments ranging from fines to jail time. Some drivers may get the most lenient punishment if it is their first time being caught, in which case they may get fines or probation. Some may get their car impounded for a limited time, typically up to a month. Others are arrested on the spot, and can expect for their license to be suspended and to spend time in jail. It should be noted that even those watching illegal races can be punished.
A driver with a clean record may get only the minimum punishment for illegal street racing. This often includes steep fines, which are usually more favorable to offenders than jail time. First-time offenders may also spend a period of time on probation, during which they are expected to avoid breaking the law or else risk going to jail. The same consequences may be applied to those who attend street races, as many areas require punishment for anyone involved in illegal street racing.
Those who either have a prior record, or live in an area with harsher punishment for illegal street racing, may be arrested for this crime. They often face criminal charges, perhaps causing them to have a criminal record for the first time. The cars involved are usually impounded for up to a month, leaving the owners without a way to get to work or school. In some cases, the driver may not care that the car was impounded since the driver's license may be suspended anyway, though there are usually fees to get the car out of the impound lot.
Some jurisdictions have created more serious consequences for those involved in illegal street racing, as drivers may face time in jail. Those accused of organizing the races can also be put in jail, even if they do not drive in the race. Of course, drivers with prior records or those living in areas with harsher consequences for first-time offenders also often face jail time. Some areas have dedicated task forces that specialize in investigating and apprehending street racers, though they also often take the time to encourage racers to participate in legal racing events. The legal ramifications of racing exist due to the dangers of this crime, which include injury or death of both those involved, and innocent bystanders, such as drivers on the road and pedestrians.
For an honest look at the history, causes, effects, and overall culture of street racing, you should check out the street racing dvd called "1320 A West Coast Story."
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