Assigned to TAT                                                                                                               AS PASSED BY COW

 


 

 

 


ARIZONA STATE SENATE

Fifty-Fifth Legislature, First Regular Session

 

AMENDED

FACT SHEET FOR S.B. 1533

 

obstructing highways; racing; assessment; impoundment

Purpose

            Requires a peace officer to cause the removal and either immobilization or impoundment of a vehicle involved in a reckless driving, racing or highway obstruction violation. Establishes the Drag Racing Prevention Enforcement Fund (Fund) consisting of monies collected from a $1,000 fine for racing on highways violations.

Background

            Current statute prohibits a person from participating in any manner a race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance or exhibition of speed or acceleration on a street or public highway. A person who violates this prohibition is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor and is required to pay a fine of at least $250. If the person is found guilty of a subsequent violation within 24 months, the person is guilty of a class 6 felony and is not eligible for probation, pardon, suspension of sentence or release until the person has served at least 10 days in jail and must pay a fine of at least $500. On the first offense, the judge may suspend the person's driver license for a period no longer than 90 days. On the second offense within 24 months, the judge must revoke the person's driving privileges (A.R.S. § 28-708).

            Current statute specifies that a person who drives a vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving, resulting in a class 2 misdemeanor. If the person is found guilty of a subsequent violation within 24 months, the person is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor and is not eligible for probation, pardon, suspension of sentence or release until the person has served at least 20 days in jail. The judge may also revoke the person's driving privileges (A.R.S. § 28-693).

            A person is guilty of obstructing a highway if the person recklessly interferes with the passage of any highway or public thoroughfare by creating an unreasonable convenience or hazard without any legal privilege to do so. Obstructing a highway is a class 1 misdemeanor or class 3 misdemeanor depending on the nature of the offense (A.R.S. § 13-2906).

            If a peace officer causes the removal and immobilization or impoundment of a vehicle, the vehicle must be impounded for a period of 30 days, with exceptions (A.R.S. § 28-3511).

            There is no anticipated fiscal impact to the state General Fund associated with this legislation.

Provisions

1.   Requires a peace officer to cause the removal and either immobilization or impoundment of a vehicle if the person driving the vehicle is in violation of reckless driving, racing on highways or obstructing a highway or public thoroughfare.

2.   Specifies that in order to remove and impound a vehicle a peace officer must reasonably believe that allowing a person to continue driving the vehicle would expose other persons to bodily injury or death.

3.   States that a vehicle that is impounded for a violation of obstructing a highway or public thoroughfare is required to be impounded for a period of 7 days, rather than 30 days.

4.   Classifies the act of knowingly aiding or abetting the commission of a reckless driving or racing on highways violation as a class 2 misdemeanor, or a class 1 misdemeanor for a second or subsequent violation within 24 months.

5.   Classifies the act of knowingly aiding or abetting the commission of a racing on highways violation as a class 2 misdemeanor, or a class 1 misdemeanor for a second or subsequent violation within 24 months.

6.   Increases, from a class 3 misdemeanor to a class 2 misdemeanor, the penalty for obstructing a highway or public thoroughfare, except that a second or subsequent violation is a class 1 misdemeanor.

7.   Requires an additional $1,000 penalty assessment to be levied on every fine, penalty and forfeiture imposed and collected by a court for a violation of racing on highways.

8.   Requires a court to transmit assessments to the appropriate county, city or town treasurer for further transmittal to the State Treasurer for deposit into the Fund.

9.   Establishes the Fund which is to be administered by the Governor's Office of Highway Safety (GOHS).

10.  Requires monies in the Fund to be used to prevent racing on streets and highways in Arizona and allows GOHS to distribute monies to local law enforcement agencies.

11.  Specifies that monies in the Fund are continuously appropriated.

12.  Makes technical and conforming changes.

13.  Becomes effective on the general effective date.

Amendments Adopted by Committee of the Whole

· Specifies that obstructing a highway or public thoroughfare by way of intentionally activating a pedestrian signal to stop the passage of traffic and solicit a donation or business is a class 3 misdemeanor, rather than a class 2 misdemeanor.

Senate Action

TAT                 2/15/21      DP     8-0-1

Prepared by Senate Research

February 24, 2021

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