Gang Activity Alive and Well in Utah; Gang Recruitment Age Continues to Drop

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Speakers at the recent 2014 Utah Gang Conference had a variety of issues to discuss, but one of the most troubling concerns is that gangs don’t seem to have a minimum age requirement. In fact, one speaker reported that a five-year-old kindergartener was responsible for gang-related graffiti at a West Valley City elementary school.

Does the Law Make Any Difference?

There is a law that’s specifically designed to deter adult gang members from recruiting minors to join any criminal street gang, but it’s clear that law doesn’t completely work.

It’s a class B misdemeanor to:

* solicit, recruit, entice or intimidate a minor to join a criminal street gang–even if the minor doesn’t actually join the gang

* conspire to commit an act that is intended to cause a minor to join a criminal street gang

* use intimidation to prevent or attempt to prevent a minor from leaving a gang or otherwise end the minor’s affiliation with such a group

A person who’s found guilty of a class B misdemeanor may find himself serving a jail sentence of up to six months.

It’s a class A misdemeanor for any person who is a member of or otherwise actively involved with a criminal street gang to:

* intimidate or otherwise cause a minor to commit or attempt to commit any misdemeanor criminal offense;

* commit one (or more) of certain specified crimes

* more than once, by the same minor, within a period of 180 days

If you’re found guilty of committing a class A misdemeanor, you might end up stuck in jail for up to one year.

Contact a Utah Juvenile Defense Attorney

If your child is in legal trouble, don’t wait to talk to a Utah juvenile defense attorney. Even though it’s illegal for gang members to recruit minors, they still manage to get some kids on their side.

Regardless of your child’s particular situation, get him or her the legal help they deserve. Make that important call now.

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