Youth Hunters in Utah

There are many youth hunters in Utah who join their families for traditional hunting trips. These kids may have grown up surrounded by older family members who have been hunting for years, but they and their parents may not know what is required for them to participate.

Hunting in Utah

Youth Hunters in Utah
Photo by: Bob ‘n’ Renee

Hunting is a big sport in Utah with many kids becoming involved fairly young. Fishing is common for beginners while many kids gradually move on to hunt small game and even larger game, cougar or bear as they get older. Although the State of Utah “encourage[es] Utah’s youth to hunt, fish, watch wildlife and participate in shooting sports” there are some guidelines that must be obeyed as well as education required before they can hunt in Utah.

Age requirements

According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, “In 2008, the Utah Legislature removed the minimum age requirement for hunting small game”. With adult supervision, all kids under the age of 15 are allowed to hunt duck, partridge, pheasant, turkey and waterfowl while those 12 or older may participate in big game, cougar and bear hunts.

Education and parental supervision

Not every child can pick up a rifle and head out hunting with their family. The child must be old enough to understand and complete a hunter education course first. One educated and registered, licensed youth hunters under the age of 15 must be supervised by an adult while hunting, no matter how experienced they are. Utah Code also states in 76-10-509 that older teens hunting alone must have permission from their parent or guardian to be in possession of a weapon and that firearm may not be a “handgun, ( . . . ) short barreled rifle, short barreled shotgun, or a fully automatic weapon” as described in section 76-10-509.4.

Unlawful Body Piercing and Tattooing of a Minor

Teens have many ways of expressing themselves through the way the look, yet when it comes to body piercing and tattooing, it is unlawful for anyone to perform either on a minor without consent from a parent.

Body piercing

Photo by: Roxie Rampage

Many teens in Utah have body piercings that do not include any piercings done on the ear. Body piercing can include: Nose, eyebrow, tongue, lip, belly button, nipples, and even genital piercing. While there are many parents that allow their minor children to explore with body piercings, many Utah teens obtain these piercings without permission from their parents.

Tattoos

Photo by: Rick Bergstrom

Unlike piercings which can be removed with the possibility of the piercing closing up, tattoos are forever. For this reason, most parents encourage their teens to wait until they are older to avoid to risk of having tattoo regrets. It is reported that almost 40% of teens have a tattoo before they reach the age of 18 years old. A large majority of those tattoos are also done without a parent’s permission or even knowledge.

Trouble for teens

Photo by: Soon

When a parent discovers that a teen has gone behind their back to get a body piercing or a tattoo, that minor can usually expect to get into trouble. Whether it is being grounded, losing a phone or car privileges, surprised and upset parents may punish their kids even though it cannot change a permanent decision.

Trouble for the artist

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If a parent is upset about their child getting a body piercing or tattoo, they may go after the person responsible for giving the new body art to their teen. This can result in civil fines and criminal charges for the piercing and tattoo artist. Utah Code 76-10-2201 states “A person is guilty of unlawful body piercing [and tattooing] of a minor if their person performs or offers to perform a body piercing [or tattoo]:

(a) upon a minor;
(b) without receiving the consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian; and
(c) for remuneration or in the course of a business or profession.”

Unlawful body piercing or tattooing of a minor is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,000. Rebellious teens that don’t want to get others in trouble should either wait until the age of 18 or speak with their parents about their desire for body art.

Misdemeanor Charges for Stealing Road Signs as Souvenirs

Many teens see road signs as souvenirs that can be fun to hang from their bedroom walls, however stealing these signs can result in misdemeanor charges.

Illegal décor

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It isn’t uncommon to see the rooms of teenagers and even college students embellished with signs taken from Utah roads. While some signs are more popular than others, it seems any road sign in a room can be considered a “cool” thing to have.

Road signs

According to the Utah Driver Handbook, there are hundreds of different signs on the roads. These can include:

• Stop signs;
• Yield signs;
• Railroad warnings;
• Warning signs;
• Regulatory signs; and
• Signs informing drivers they are in a school zone.

These signs are posted for driver safety and instruction and without them, the risk of accident due to driver error increases. These signs frequently go missing however, and often appear in the rooms of local teens. Other signs that may find themselves missing on Utah roadways include street signs that happen to match a person’s name or a mile marker bearing a favorite number or signifying another number of importance to the thief.

Section 420

Photo by: Andrew

One of the most popular signs along Utah highways to go missing is mile marker 420. This number is celebrated among marijuana enthusiasts and is therefore common to wind up stolen repeatedly. Other states including Idaho, Colorado, and Washington have stopped replacing the stolen 420 signs and instead installed mile markers with the number 419.9 to discourage theft. Ironically enough, section 420 of Utah Code Chapter 8 part 4 warns Utah residents that stealing or damaging any road signs, including the 420 mile markers is illegal and punishable as a class B misdemeanor.

Common doesn’t mean legal

While possessing street signs is common, it doesn’t make it legal. Not only could removing or damaging road signs be seen as theft, the missing road signs could cause accidents with injuries that the sign thief could be held responsible for. Teens who wish to decorate with road signs are encouraged to purchase them from vendors and leave those installed on Utah roads alone.

Criminal Defamation Charges for Creating Fake Social Media Accounts

Using the internet to slander or hurt another person such as creating face social media accounts may result in teens facing criminal defamation charges.

Tech age

Photo by: Summer Skyes 11

Much of the communications going on between teenagers takes place over electronic devices through the use of text messaging as well as social media apps including Instagram, SnapChat, and Facebook. Often when things go sour, teens will take to the internet to simply vent and sometimes to retaliate on those who wronged them. Long ago were the days of whispering gossip in the school halls, as now everything is done from a teen’s cell phone. Malicious posts, IM’s, and even seconds long messages can spread like wildfire on social media, causing a lot of damage in its wake.

Fake social media accounts

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One very damaging way that teens may lash out at one another online is by creating fake social media accounts. These fake social media accounts are created to look as though they belong to the other person, leaving the begrudged peer open to ruin the other’s online reputation. Fake social media accounts are simple to set up and usually free as well. All that is needed is an email address which is also simple to obtain and a fake name, or the exact name of the detested teen. Photos can be easily stolen from the profiles of online accounts and teens then have a way to get revenge on those they loathe.

Digital footprint

Photo by: G =]

What happens on the internet stays on the internet and leaves a digital footprint there as well. Although social media accounts and email servers don’t require identification and can be created using phony information, law enforcement has ways to tie these malicious accounts back to the person that created them. When online communications are being spread at another’s expense, the aggressor could face criminal defamation charges.

Criminal defamation

Criminal Defamation
Photo by: New3dom3000

Utah Code 76-9-404 states: “A person is guilty of criminal defamation if he knowingly communicates to any person orally or in writing [or online] any information which he knows to be false and knows will tend to expose any other living person to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule. Criminal defamation is a class B misdemeanor”, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000. Additionally, if any personal information about a minor is shared on the fake social media account without permission, the accused may also face a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $2,500. Teens who are facing criminal charges for publicly slandering another online are encouraged to immediately seek legal counsel with their parents.

Pool Hopping and Trespassing Charges

Pool hopping is a popular nighttime activity among Utah teenagers, however it can lead to trespassing charges or serious injury.

Pool hopping

Pool Hopping
Photo by: Andy Blackledge

Pool hopping consists of a small to large group of friends who hop from one pool to another, typically late at night. This is done without permission from the owners of the pool and can take place at hotels, community clubs, private backyard pools, or all of the above. One of the goals of pool hopping is to see how many different pools the group can hop before the night is through or until they get caught.

Busted

One of the known thrills of pool hopping is the possibility of getting busted by the pool owners. More often than not, when the pool hoppers are discovered, the owners of the pool simply chastise the youngsters and nothing else. Those kids who get off with a simple warning however should consider themselves lucky. Others who are not as fortunate end up stunned when the pool owners decide to press trespassing charges.

Trespassing

Photo by: Alper Çuğun

In the state of Utah, pools are required to be located behind fences that are secured with a lock in order to protect small children who may wander near the open water. Since the pools are so obviously enclosed, the do not require “no trespassing” signs. Teens that make the mistake of climbing over fences or otherwise unlawfully gain entry to a locked pool building are trespassing, even if they do not plan on doing anything other than swim. Utah Code 76-6-206 states: “A person is guilty of criminal trespass if ( . . . ):

“knowing the person’s ( . . . ) presence is unlawful, the person enters or remains on ( . . . ) property to which notice against entering is given by:

(i) personal communication to the person by the owner or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner;

(ii) fencing or other enclosure obviously designed to exclude intruders; or

(iii) posting of signs reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders; ( . . . )”

Trespassing in a pool without permission is a class B misdemeanor unless the pool is located within a home; in that case the charge would be increased to a class A misdemeanor.

Poor choice of summer activity

Photo by: Oregon Department of Transportation

Most teens that go pool hopping are unaware of the legal implications that can result of their nighttime activity or of the possible danger involved. Not only can teens face serious trespassing charges, they put themselves in harm’s way by using a body of water at night when it is more difficult for others to notice if someone in the group is in distress. Teens are encouraged to avoid this criminal summer fun and instead seek permission from pool owners if they have a desire to swim. For those who are already facing criminal charges for pool hopping, contact a juvenile defense attorney regarding legal defense for trespassing charges.