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Donuts aren’t always the safest thing to do in a car. However, a Mazda Miata doing controlled donuts in a giant, empty parking lot feels pretty low on the list of harmful things you can do in a car. Be that as it may, the Irvine PD clearly feel differently since they arrested one Miata driver on Felony charges for just such an act. 

Is doing donuts illegal? 

Doing donuts in your car on public roads is typically relegated to the catchall charge of “reckless driving.” Depending on the state, this charge can hold different levels of severity. However, doing donuts in private parking lots can be a bit less predictable. On private property, the owners of the property have more options for charging the smoky driver to a harsher extent of the law. 

We here at MotorBiscuit certainly do not condone any illegal or unsafe driving outside of controlled areas, but slapping a kid with a Felony charge for what looked like nicely controlled donuts feels a step past a reasonable punishment for a seemingly victimless crime. 

What exactly was the Miata driver charged for? 

Front of red 1994 Mazda Miata with headlights up
1994 Mazda Miata | Cars and Bids

While our unlucky young friend was cutting his donuts in the expansive parking lot, a nearby onlooker phoned the police to alert them of this heinous crime. According to the Irvine PD’s Facebook post on the incident, “Irvine Public Works determined the dangerous maneuvers caused over $3,700 in damage to the parking lot and painted parking lot lines.” making matters worse, after the arrest, the police also impounded the Miata only to find numerous illegal modifications. 

As The Drive notes, it would be tempting to call this “concerned resident” many a nasty name, but thankfully, the internet has done the dirty work for us. “Would be nice if cops cared as much about shutting down the weekly sideshows that do this in public intersections with hundreds of people around as they seem to care about slapping a FELONY on one kid by himself just doing a few donuts in a totally empty parking lot,” reads the top comment on the thread. 

Another reads, “Thank god you are out there protecting and serving that parking lot. I hope those felony charges stick and ruin that kid’s life. Good job!” reads another. 

And my personal favorite, “Thank god, he could have hit a ghost or something.”

Cops really don’t want people doing donuts

It’s clear that this is an overreaction to a common bit of adolescent fun is meant to be a warning to other hardened criminals lurking in the shadows, waiting for a chance to damage the white painted lines of parking lots. 

As much fun as it is to poke fun at an overly serious police action for something like this, the police are far from amused. Per California Penal Code 594 PC, felony vandalism is classified as maliciously damaging, destroying, or defacing another person’s property if that property happens to be worth more than $400. According to the Irvine public works, our young Mazda Miata driver has allegedly damaged such a dollar amount. 

Felony vandalism is punishable by a jail sentence of one to three years and a fine of up to $10,000.