Under California law, as strange as it may sound, you could theoretically go to county jail for squealing your tires. According to Vehicle Code 23109(c), “exhibition of speed” is a crime, which could potentially land you in jail. Essentially, this “crime” consists solely of excessive acceleration or driving at an unsafe speed simply to show off or impress others.
Further astonishingly, a California driver can be convicted of “exhibition of speed” even if you are not driving fast enough to receive a speeding ticket. The only thing required to violate this vehicle code is to have accelerated at a speed which an officer deems “unsafe”.
Consequences From “Exhibition of Speed”
More often than not, exhibition of speed is used as a plea bargain from DUI charges. However, it may sometimes be charged as a stand-alone offense. Due to the objective nature of this vehicle code, California prosecutors only have the discretion to charge an exhibition of speed with the penalty of an infraction. Infractions carry a $250 fine, which is not too serious. On the other hand, in theory an exhibition of speed could be charged as a misdemeanor, carrying the possible jail sentence of up to 90 days.