While not rising to the level of street racing or speed contest, an exhibition of speed violation occurs when the defendant drives on a public street, highway or freeway and while doing so, wilfully engages in an exhibition of speed. Simply put, the driver accelerates or drives at a rate of speed that is dangerous and unsafe in order to show off or to make an impression upon someone else (Vehicle Code section 23109(c)).
It is not necessary that the driver exceeded the speed limit (causing the tires to squeal is sufficient) and it is not required that the driver’s actions are meant for a specific person or group of people (driver was attempting to impress strangers on sidewalk). The penalties for a misdemeanor violation may include summary (informal) probation, up to 90 days custody in county jail, and fines/fees. The DMV will also impose two points on the driver’s record.
It is important to determine if the driver even intended to attract attention to his/her manner of driving. For example, perhaps the car is new and the driver was unfamiliar with its manner of acceleration or perhaps the roadway was wet and the tires were unable to gain traction, causing the wheels to squeal. Maybe the driver is young and immature. It is important to address these issues with a local, experienced attorney who may develop a strategy (community service, or attendance at a defensive driving school) to persuade the prosecutor to consider reducing the charge and/or penalties (this offense can be reduced to an infraction with a fine only!).