Street Racing Laws

New York Street Racing Laws

Street racing in New York is defined by law as a speed contest or race. Any exhibition or contest of speed is punishable by New York Vehicle & Traffic laws, Title 7 – Rules of the Road, Article 30 – Speed Restrictions, Section 1182 – Speed contests and races.

Street racing is not uncommon with young drivers, but it is illegal, and getting caught in a street race can have serious consequences. Street racing laws in New York includes all forms of speed racing, drag racing or drifting, or other similar exhibitions of speed.

NY VAT laws, Section 1182 – Speed Contests and Races:

[…] no races, exhibitions or contests of speed shall be held and no person shall engage in or aid or abet in any motor vehicle or other speed contest or exhibition of speed on a highway. […]

Law further states that any such event must be fully and efficiently patrolled for the entire course. Participants in official race events are exempted from applicable traffic laws, but are still required to exercise reasonable care.


Participating in a street race in New York is considered a Class A misdemeanor, punishable with a fine of $300 to maximum $525, and/or up to 30 days in jail.

Second and each subsequent street racing conviction within 12 months is punishable by minimum $525 to maximum $750. You may also be imprisoned for up to 6 months as this is considered a Class E felony.

There may be other charges brought against you as well, typically including speeding or reckless driving. Furthermore, you may be liable for potential property damage or injuries caused, or evading a police officer if you refuse to stop.

Each of those offenses carries significant penalties:

  • your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked
  • you can be financially liable for thousands of dollars in fines, fees and surcharges
  • in case of multiple offenses you will likely be looking at some jail time.

Even an increased auto insurance rate can be costly. Certain offenses also go on your permanent record, which can significantly hurt your chances of future employment.

Fighting a street racing ticket

Street racing can have serious consequences. If you are facing street racing charges getting professional legal help is highly recommended. There are some legal precedents in New York which can potentially be used as defense in court.

First, New York requires street race participants to plan a race course, at least by implication. For example, impulsively speeding after a traffic light goes green does not necessarily constitute a street race. You can argue you had no intention of racing, as speeding next to another speeding vehicle may not be considered a race.

As mentioned it is strongly recommended to hire an attorney to help your legal arguments. You can very often bring down the charges from a speed contest or reckless driving down to “simple” speeding. This can reduce your penalties and fines substantially.


This page about New York Street Racing Laws is up to date for 2024. If any of our information is incomplete or outdated please let us know. Thank you!