California Vehicle Code Section 23109(d) VC: Placing Barricade On Highway Incident To A Speed Contest

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimehighway barricade

Engaging in speed contests (i.e. street racing) is a criminal offense under California Vehicle Code Section 23109(a) VC that can carry serious penalties for those convicted. However, it is not only those engaging in the speed contest who can be charged criminally. Those who assist in setting up an illegal street race can also be charged with a crime. When setting up an illegal street race, it is common to set up barricades on public streets to mark a course or keep others off the “track.” However under California Vehicle Code Section 23109(d) VC, it is illegal to place a barricade on a highway incident to a speed contest.

To establish that a defendant is guilty of placing a barricade on a highway incident to a speed contest, the following elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. For the purpose of facilitating or aiding or as incident to a motor speed contest, the defendant placed a barricade or other obstruction upon a highway.

  2. OR the defendant assisted or participated in placing a barricade or other obstruction upon a highway to aid or assist a speed contest.

Under the statute, highway refers to any public road or street, and not just the freeway as the term “highway” is commonly used.

2. Related Offenses

Similar offenses include the following:

  1. Engaging in a Speed ContestCalifornia Vehicle Code Section 23109(a) VC

  2. Exhibition of Speed - California Vehicle Code Section 23109(c) VC

  3. Reckless DrivingCalifornia Vehicle Code Section 23103 VC
3. Examples

A group of friends want to set up a car race late at night in an area that does not have much vehicle traffic at night. One of the young men in the group does not own a car and is not involved in the actually racing. However he helps set up a course on public streets and blocks the route off with large plastic barricades to keep others from inadvertently driving onto the course. This young man could be charged with placing a barricade on a highway incident to a speed contest.

In another example, a man is part of a work crew assigned to repair a stretch of public roads in a desolate area late at night. The man sets up barricades to keep others from driving on the areas scheduled to be repaired. However, after he sets up the barricades street racers arrive and engage in a series of speed contests. This man would not be criminally liable under California Vehicle Code Section 23109(d) VC because while his actions may have facilitated the speed contests, he did not intend to aid or assist any speed contest when he set up the barricades.

4. Defenses to Placing a Barricade on a Highway Incident to a Speed Contest

If a defendant did not intend to facilitate or participate in a speed contest when he or she placed a barricade on the road, he or she would not be criminally liable under California Vehicle Code Section 23109(d) VC.

In addition, there may be instances where the defendant is a mere spectator of a speed contest who was standing in the road. The prosecutor may argue that the defendant’s body served as a barricade and thus the defendant is guilty under California Vehicle Code Section 23109(d) VC. Under these circumstances, the defendant would have a strong argument that his or her body was not a barricade per the statute and criminal liability should not apply.

5. Penalties

Those convicted of placing a barricade on a highway incident to a speed contest can be sentenced to serve up to 90 days in jail as well as a court fine of up to $1,000.

6. Criminal Defense for Placing a Barricade on a Highway Incident to a Speed Contest Cases

If you have been cited for placing a barricade on a highway incident to a speed contest, it is important that you consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who knows how to aggressively defend those charged with crimes like this.

For more information about placing a barricade on a highway incident to a speed contest, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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