The Fast and The Fined: Prearranged Speed Competitions in North Carolina


Engaging in a prearranged speeding competition may seem like a fun idea in the movies, but getting caught by the police has real consequences in North Carolina. When more than one person in more than one vehicle engages in a planned and coordinated act of speeding over the legal limit on a public street or highway, that qualifies as a prearranged speeding competition. The state can prosecute the following people involved in a prearranged speeding competition for a Class 1 Misdemeanor:

  • Anyone who operates a motor vehicle in a prearranged speed competition
  • An owner of any vehicle who knowingly permits their motor vehicle to be operated in a prearranged speed competition
  • Anyone who places or receives any bet, wager, or thing of value from the outcome of a prearranged speed competition

A Class 1 Misdemeanor is punishable by up to 120 days in jail. Additionally, for this type of offense, there are serious collateral consequences involving driving privileges. Anyone convicted of the above offenses whether driver, owner, or gambler, will have their driver’s license revoked for a period of three years. That can cause headaches with traveling to work or childcare. Thankfully, after an 18-month period, there is a provision in the law for reinstatement of driving privileges upon satisfactory proof that the former licensee has been of good behavior. But proving that will require a hearing for the Division of Motor Vehicles to make that determination, and you will want to hire an experienced attorney to help you. Here at Jetton and Meredith, we can help you with prearranged speed competition charges and with DMV hearings to reinstate your license.

Perhaps the most serious consequence is that the police must seize the motor vehicle involved and deliver it to the sheriff’s possession pending trial on the prearranged speed competition charge. The owner may pay a bond to have the motor vehicle returned temporarily but they must return the motor vehicle to the custody of the sheriff on the day of trial. That bond can be up to twice the value of the motor vehicle. Upon the acquittal of the person charged with prearranged speed competition with another motor vehicle, the sheriff shall return the motor vehicle to the owner. But upon conviction of the driver, the court will order a sale at public auction of the motor vehicle. That means a conviction for this offense also involves losing the car, truck, or SUV to auction.

The only exception to this rule is if the owner of the vehicle can establish to the satisfaction of the court that said the motor vehicle was used in prearranged speed competition without the knowledge or consent of the owner, and that the owner had no reasonable grounds to believe that the motor vehicle would be used for such purpose. The owner is entitled to a trial by jury upon such issues, but such a jury trial can be a lengthy and complicated process and impossible to navigate without a lawyer’s help.

As you can see, prearranged speed competitions can cause the accused to lose their license, lose their car, and lose their freedom. Because there is so much at stake in these charges than a regular speeding ticket, it is essential that you hire a lawyer as soon as possible to help protect your rights. Call us today at Jetton and Meredith at (704) 931-5535 for help with your prearranged speed competition charge!