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Tampa Criminal Attorney > Blog > Criminal Defense > Statewide Crackdown Nabs Two More Street Racers

Statewide Crackdown Nabs Two More Street Racers


Authorities in Orange County booked two men into jail on charges of street racing. They allegedly traveled at 199mph on the Florida Turnpike.

The duo was spotted near the intersection of Moss Park Road and North Shore Golf Club Boulevard. A probable cause affidavit said the Orange County Sheriff’s Office received several calls regarding possible illegal street races in the area.

While headed westbound on Moss Park Road, two vehicles were engaged in unlawful street racing, according to the arrest report. The cars were observed trying to “out-distance each other for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of their motor vehicles within a certain distance or time limit,” the affidavit said.

The arresting deputies work as part of a detail to curtail unlawful street racing in Orange County. Last year, deputies made 157 arrests, issued 1,290 citations and seized 54 vehicles in relation to street racing crimes, according to the sheriff’s office.

High Enforcement Campaigns

STEP (Strategic Traffic Enforcement Program) campaigns, along with DUI roadblocks, are the most common high enforcement campaigns in Florida.

If officers take shortcuts during these dragnet campaigns, as is often the case, a Tampa criminal defense lawyer has an excellent chance to successfully resolve the criminal case. Civil cases related to criminal actions are more difficult to resolve. More on that below.

Most STEP campaigns are basically redirected reinforcement campaigns. Supervisors redirect patrol officers to certain parts of town and instruct them to write as many citations for a certain offense, such as street racing, as possible. Some STEP campaigns are more intense all-hands-on-deck campaigns. Desk officers suddenly become patrol officers. These more intense efforts often have catchy nicknames, like “drive sober or get pulled over.”

STEP campaigns are expensive, mostly due to officer overtime. Typically, a state or federal agency pays these costs. A high arrest total is a healthy return on the investment, making these agencies more likely to fund other programs in the future.

To pad this arrest total, officers usually arrest targeted suspects, even if the evidence doesn’t support that arrest.

DUI roadblocks are even more problematic. Initially, the roadblock itself must meet minimum legal requirements, including:

  • Supervisor setup,
  • Pre-checkpoint publicity,
  • Adequate signage at the checkpoint,
  • Sufficient safety measures,
  • Neutral detention formula (e.g. detain every third vehicle), and
  • Minimal wait times for motorists.

Additionally, officers must respect individual rights. Thanks to the Fifth Amendment, drivers don’t have to answer questions or even roll down their windows when they interact with police officers.

High enforcement campaigns also have a self-fulfilling prophecy element. If supervisors tell officers to arrest people for certain things, that’s what the officers will do, almost regardless of the evidence.

Property Forfeiture

Civil forfeiture might be the most controversial law enforcement issue. If officers believe a car or other property was used in the commission of a crime or bought with proceeds of a crime, they may seize that property. Critics decry this practice as policing for profit. Proponents insist that the money raised helps keep taxes lower.

Usually, police officers only exercise this power in extreme cases, like a mansion bought with drug money or a large amount of cash related to a money laundering scheme. However, they could seize any property used in the commission of a crime, like a street racing vehicle, or bought with criminal proceeds, like a shell corporation.

As mentioned, these cases are difficult to resolve. The burden of proof is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). Additionally, most COnstitutional protections, like the Fifth Amendment, don’t apply in civil cases.

Buybacks are usually the best option. The owner pays part of the fair market value to redeem the property. 

Work With a Savvy Hillsborough County Attorney

A criminal charge is not the same thing as a criminal conviction. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Tampa, contact the OA Law Firm. Convenient payment plans are available.



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