CA Vehicle Code 23109(c): Exhibition of Speed

Navigating the complexities of traffic law in California, particularly regarding violations like those outlined in California Vehicle Code section 23109(c), requires a nuanced understanding of legal provisions. Commonly referred to as the Exhibition of Speed, this law targets behaviors that go beyond mere speeding — it addresses the specific intent to show off or impress with rapid acceleration or other displays of vehicular prowess.

When facing such allegations, it’s imperative to have access to knowledgeable legal representation. This is where our website,, comes into play as an invaluable resource:

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Understanding Exhibition of Speed

Exhibition of Speed refers to a traffic violation where a driver operates a vehicle at extremely high speeds in order to impress or entertain others. This behavior is considered dangerous and shows a disregard for the safety of others on the road.

Examples of Exhibition of Speed

Some examples of behaviors that may be considered Exhibition of Speed include:

  • Peeling out: When a driver intentionally spins their tires, causing noise and smoke.
  • Sudden acceleration: When a driver quickly accelerates their vehicle in a crowded area.

These actions not only put others at risk but also indicate a desire for attention or amusement on the part of the driver.

Exhibition of Speed vs. Reckless Driving and Street Racing

While Exhibition of Speed shares similarities with Reckless Driving and Street Racing, it is important to understand the differences between these offenses:

  • Reckless Driving: This offense involves a broader disregard for traffic laws and is not solely focused on speed. It includes any driving behavior that shows a willful or reckless disregard for the safety of people or property.
  • Street Racing: Street Racing typically involves planned competitions between drivers, where the goal is to outpace other vehicles on public roads. This activity is inherently dangerous and illegal.

Although all three offenses are serious violations in California, each has its own definition and specific circumstances. By knowing these distinctions, drivers can better navigate the state’s complex traffic laws.

Is Exhibition of Speed a Separate Offense?

California’s approach to enforcing the rules of the road includes addressing unsafe driving behaviors, specifically under Vehicle Code section 23109(c). This provision targets drivers who engage in an Exhibition of Speed, which can indeed be charged as a separate offense. However, it’s not uncommon for it to accompany other charges, especially DUI allegations. This correlation stems from the fact that both offenses involve dangerous operation of a vehicle and often occur simultaneously.

Exhibition of Speed as a Bargaining Chip

The judicial system frequently encounters Exhibition of Speed as a bargaining chip in plea negotiations. Its status as a relatively less severe charge makes it an attractive option for those facing harsher penalties associated with a DUI offense. In such cases, leveraging an Exhibition of Speed charge can result in reduced sentences and fines, offering a strategic advantage for defense attorneys.

Potential Benefits for Defendants

Defense lawyers often emphasize this aspect during pre-trial discussions, highlighting the benefits of substituting a DUI charge with an Exhibition of Speed. This not only affects the immediate legal consequences but may also have long-term implications for their clients’ criminal records and driving privileges.

Penalties for Violating Vehicle Code section 23109(c)

When you are convicted of violating Vehicle Code section 23109(c), it is important to know the potential consequences that can have a significant impact on your daily life and future. Here are the penalties for an Exhibition of Speed offense:

  1. Fines: If it’s your first DUI offense, you may have to pay a fine of up to $500.
  2. License Suspension: Depending on the details of your case, your driving privileges may be suspended.
  3. Jail Time: While it’s not very common, there is a possibility of being sentenced to up to 90 days in jail for an Exhibition of Speed conviction.

It’s worth noting that penalties for other similar offenses like Reckless Driving (VC 23103) and DUI (VC 23152(a)) are often more severe:

Reckless Driving can have similar fines but may come with longer jail sentences, while DUI convictions carry heavier fines, longer license suspensions, mandatory DUI programs, and possibly longer periods of time behind bars.

Defending Against Exhibition of Speed Charges

If you find yourself facing Exhibition of Speed charges, there are some common strategies that lawyers use to defend against these allegations:

  1. Challenging Speed Measurement Devices: Attorneys might question the accuracy or calibration of radar guns and other devices used by law enforcement to measure speed.
  2. Arguing Non-willful Behavior: If it can be shown that your actions were not intentional or were out of necessity, this defense could be used to lessen the charges.

Since these defenses can be quite complex, it is crucial to have skilled legal representation. A knowledgeable attorney who specializes in California traffic laws can build a strong case to protect your rights and strive for the best possible outcome.

By visiting, you can find experienced lawyers who have expertise in handling Exhibition of Speed cases.

Seeking Legal Assistance for Exhibition of Speed Cases

Facing a charge for Exhibition of Speed under California Vehicle Code section 23109(c) can be daunting, and the right legal help is essential to navigate the complexities of California traffic tickets. Our website,, offers a lifeline:

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By choosing an attorney with specialized knowledge, you arm yourself with the best chance to contest your charges effectively. The seasoned lawyers in our directory are equipped to dissect the specifics of your case, from examining the evidence against you to formulating a robust defense strategy.

Utilize our resources today to ensure your rights are protected and to strategize a strong response to the charges you face.

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