What is the statutory basis for this? Is it found solely under the racing statute under the Transportation Code? Does it apply if there is only one vehicle "peeling out"?
I dont think this offense exists anymore and I have asked my officers to stop issuing citations for it. However, with the right facts you may have an offiense under the "racing on the highway" statute in the Transp Code
TDCAA has a new annotated Transportation Code book out that may be of some help. The improper acceleration crime seems to have been subsumed into the racing offense (sec. 545.420), and courts of appeals have been pretty fact-specific when it comes to whether peeling out is enough to constitute the racing offense. See cases like Throneberry v. State, 109 SW3d 52 (Fort Worth 2003); Evers v. State, 576 SW2d 46 (CCA 1978); Collins v. State, 829 SW2d 894 (Dallas 1992); and Harris v. State, 713 SW2d 773 (Houston [1st Dist.] 1986).
All these -- and many more! -- cases are discussed on page 86 of the new Transportation Code book. Good luck!
I know some cities have ordinances that prohibit such behavior if committed inside the city limits.
The city I used to work in had a city ordinance against peeling out, sqeeling tires, burning rubber - whatever you want to to call it. They actually titled it "Scratching Off" - we, of course, thought of many other things people do that could fall under that title and have nothing to do with a motor vehicle.
That ordinance, if I remember right, dealt with the noise from "scratching off". If you have a statute to deal only with the noise, what about this? -- its possible (or so I hear) with a clutch to smoke your tires and not make much noise at all if you do it right.
Ours was, and I believe still is, called "digging out".
Thanks a lot, ya'll. Looks like the Courts are going with us on this one!
Trans. Code Sec. 545.420 was amended in 2003 by HB 1326. The amendment added the requirement that an exhibition of acceleration must occur during a drag race. Simply peeling out or spinning tires is no longer a violation of this statute. Whether a city ordinance would be applicable is another question.
That section has always required that the "peeling out" be in the context of drag racing. The last session only changed the punishment range. As a class c misdemeanor officers got away with writing it.
Because the act involves an intentional loss of control over the rear tires of the vehicle, I've filed several as "Reckless Driving" and have yet to see a def. atty. want to put that question to a jury.
Clay, I respectfully disagree. Sec. 545.420(a)(5), prior to amendment, read as follows: "A person may not participate in any manner in an exhibition of vehicle speed or acceleration...". Section 5 said nothing about drag races despite the title of the statute.
In Collins v. State, 829 S.W.2d 894, the evidence was sufficient where the defendant accelerated when leaving a green light, even though the defendant was not engaged in drag racing.
So, is there a requirement after 2003 that you be in a drag race for the exhibition of speed to apply? What if all you need is reasonable suspicion? All the cases cited in the TDCAA book occurred prior to the 2003 amendments.
MHO, if the case does not involve drag racing and only screeching tires, is awfully small for a possible 180 days in jail.....Maybe plead doen to disorderly?
State v. Guzman
--- S.W.3d ----, 2007 WL 2274872
August 08, 2007 (Approx. 9 pages)
That case contains the following:
Prior to September 1, 2003, transportation code section 545.420 provided that �[a] person may not participate in any manner in: ... (5) an exhibition of vehicle speed or acceleration or to make a vehicle speed record.� Texas Transportation Code, 74th Leg., R.S., ch. 165, � 1, sec. 545.420, 1995 Tex. Gen Laws 1025, 1645 (amended 2003). The State refers us to authority holding that this prohibition was not limited to exhibitions of acceleration connected to a speed competition. See Throneberry v. State, 109 S.W.3d 52, 57 (Tex.App.-Fort Worth 2003, no pet.). But as amended in 2003, section 545.420 provides that �[a] person may not participate in any manner in: ... (5) in connection with a drag race, an exhibition of vehicle speed or acceleration or to make a vehicle speed record.� Tex. Transp. Code Ann. � 545.420(a)(5) (West Supp.2006).
*3    The State argues that the legislature did not intend this amendment to decriminalize exhibitions of acceleration that are not connected to speed competitions. The best evidence of legislative intent, however, is the language of the statute. Boykin v. State, 818 S.W.2d 782, 785 (Tex.Crim.App.1991). We may go behind the statutory text only if it is ambiguous or if the application of the statute's plain language would lead to an absurd result that the legislature could not possibly have intended. Id. Section 545.420(a)(5), as it now reads and as it read on the night Guzman was stopped, is unambiguous. It plainly prohibits exhibitions of vehicle speed or acceleration in connection with a drag race. There is nothing absurd in reading the statute as written. The legislature may have always intended that this subsection apply only to speed competitions, or it may have come to believe that without this limitation, the statute was subject to abuse because any increase of vehicle speed could be construed as an exhibition of acceleration.
 There is no evidence that Guzman was operating his pickup truck �over a common selected course, from the same place to the same place, for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of [his] vehicle ... in a specified distance or time.� Id. � 545.420(b)(1)(B) (defining �drag race�). The trial court correctly concluded that the spinning motion of Guzman's tire after the traffic light turned green did not alone warrant Scherbek's suspicion that Guzman was unlawfully exhibiting acceleration in violation of section 545.420.FN2
 The �reasonable suspicion� standard is an objective one. Garcia v. State, 43 S.W.3d 527, 530 (Tex.Crim.App.2001). Thus, even though Scherbek's subjective basis for stopping Guzman was unwarranted by the facts, the stop would be lawful if the facts objectively warranted the stop on another basis. See id. At the hearing below, the State urged two alternative bases for upholding the stop, both of which it brings forward on appeal.
 First, the State argues that Scherbek reasonably suspected that Guzman was driving at a speed greater than was reasonable and prudent under the circumstances. See Tex. Transp. Code Ann. � 545.351(a) (West 1999) (speeding).FN3 The trial court concluded otherwise: �The spinning of one tire (the right rear tire) as the light turned green did not violate Sec. 545.351 ... and did not constitute reasonable suspicion that any criminal offense had been committed or was about to be committed.� We agree with the trial court that the spinning of one tire as Guzman's truck began to move from a stop, without more, does not reasonably support a suspicion that Guzman was at that moment driving at an unreasonable or imprudent speed.
A few years ago the "exhibition of accelrtn" statute was placed into the racing statute--the result is essentially that you have to be peeling out while racing with another car--in other words, there must be two cars to qualify. About 2 years ago we had a slew of pre-trial MTS on this issue and my argument tended to be to establish "reasonable suspicion" as the PC for the stop. I'd find every possible factor (including the peeling out) to fit my argument. We consistently lost on the trial court level, but our best case is currently on appeal to the higher courts. I would literally argue every possible factor (i.e., the length of the peel out, the sound made, any smoke, the danger it posed if there were surrounding cars or pedestrians, the location if it was near downtown, the hour of night, etc).
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