Street racing and laying drag (https://www.peachstatelawyer.com/laying-drag-arrests-and-citations-in-atlanta-georgia/) has long been illegal in the State of Georgia. However, in response to increased street racing incidents across the city of Atlanta, Governor Kemp recently signed new legislation creating even more harsh penalties for those who continue to engage in street racing.
First, the bill now criminalizes an act, that before, was not against the law: promoting or organizing an exhibiting of illegal drag racing. The State of Georgia is now cracking down on Instagram and other social media accounts who promote meetups for illegal street racing events. Anyone charged and convicted under this new law, found at O.C.G.A § 16-11-43.1, will be guilty of a high and aggravated misdemeanor.
Second, the Georgia law adds a completely new code section titled Reckless Stunt Driving, at O.C.G.A. § 40-6-390.1. Under Georgia law, it is now specifically illegal to drag race in reckless disregard for safety of persons. The law includes drag racing both on public roads, as well as on private property. The punishment for Reckless Stunt Driving includes a mandatory ten days in jail, up to 6 months for this charge alone, along with a minimum fine of $300.00. It is considered a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. A second conviction within ten years increases the jail time to 90 days to 12 months, and a third conviction has a mandatory 120 days to 12 months in jail, and the base fines can go up to $5000.00. A fourth conviction of Reckless Stunt Driving in a ten year period becomes a felony and a mandatory one year in prison.
Historically, a conviction for reckless driving did not suspend a Georgia driver’s license. This has now changed, drastically. Under Georgia’s New Street Racing Law, if you are convicted of reckless stunt driving in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-390.1, your license will be suspended for up to 12 months, however you can apply for early reinstatement after 120 days. On a second conviction, it is a mandatory 3 year license suspension, but you may be able to reinstate your license after finishing an 18 months hard license suspension. A third conviction in five years will lead to a Habitual Violator status, whereby the license suspension will be five years, with a potential probationary license after two years.
The new law even allows for forfeiture after being declared a habitual violator. This means that the State of Georgia can confiscate your car, forever, if you have been convicted three times of reckless stunt driving in five years.
Street racing, laying drag, and reckless stunt driving are being taken more seriously in Georgia than ever before. If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with street racing in Atlanta, call the Law Office of W. Scott Smith PC at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation. A criminal conviction is forever, so engage an experienced lawyer to assist in avoiding the harsh consequences of jail-time, and license suspension, that come with Georgia’s New Street Racing Law.