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10.0J. Patrick Carey The National Trial Lawyers




If you are charged with DUI, in certain instances, your attorney can persuade the prosecution to reduce your charge to “Speed Exhibition,” a violation California Vehicle Code 23109(c). ┬áThis is also referred to as “speed ex” and “speed contest.”

The exhibition of speed statute does not make any reference to drinking, drugs or driving under the influence.  Most importantly, a conviction will come with only fines and you will not suffer the same DMV consequences as a DUI conviction.

While speed ex is predominantly used in regards to Los Angeles DUI cases, a person can still be prosecuted for exhibition of speed for incidents unrelated to driving under the influence. In these cases, a prosecutor must be able to establish the following elements in order to prove the defendant is guilty of exhibition of speed:

  1. The defendant drove a motor vehicle on a highway AND
  2. While driving, the defendant willfully engaged in an exhibition of speed.

A highway can be any public road or street and a person engages in an exhibition of speed when he or she accelerates or drives at a rate of speed that is dangerous and unsafe in order to show off or make an impression on someone else.

When determining whether to reduce and amend DUI charges and offer an exhibition of speed, prosecutors may consider a variety of factors. The following list includes some of the factors that a prosecutor may consider when contemplating a DUI charge reduction:

  1. The driver has a blood alcohol content that is at the legal limit (0.08 percent) or very close to it.
  2. The driver has no prior DUI offenses.
  3. The driving conduct was not excessively bad.
  4. There are evidentiary/credibility issues with the prosecutor’s case

On a conviction for exhibition of speed, the defendant could be sentenced to a maximum of 90 days in jail, however jail time is rarely imposed in these cases.

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