Multiple Felony Charges for 18+ Teens Looking to “Score Weed”

Three teens 18+ in age who were attempting to “score weed” are now facing multiple felony charges for kidnapping and robbing a 17 year old minor in Magna, Utah earlier this month.

Looking for Marijuana

Photo by: Chuck Grimmett
Photo by: Chuck Grimmett

18 year old David Saul Gonzalez-Reyes, 19 year old Eduardo Flores-Loeza, and 19 year old Alisha Jimenez were arrested last week after they met a 17 year old female in a grocery store parking lot who was there to sell marijuana. After they entered the minor’s vehicle, one of the teens struck the minor in the face with a handgun and forced her to drive to a nearby residence where they continued their crime spree by physically assaulting and robbing two individuals at that house.

Multiple Felony Charges = Possible Life in Prison

The trio of older teens was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail with each facing:

Aggravated assault, a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison;

Aggravated burglary, a first degree felony that carries a possible prison term of five years to life;

• Aggravated robbery, a first degree felony that may add on another five years to life;

Aggravated kidnapping, another first degree felony punishable by what Utah code 76-5-302 states to be “not less than 15 years and which may be for life”.

Multiple Felony Charges
Photo by: Office of Public Affairs

Although all teens are facing the same multiple felony charges, it is not clear what role each played in the alleged kidnapping, assault, and robbery. It is also not known whether or not the teens knew the minor or the individuals who were at the home prior to the scheduled drug deal. If convicted of the multiple felony charges, the teens who are barely old enough to vote could spend the rest of their lives in jail because they wanted to get high.

Fight Nights Remain Popular among Teens and Everyone is talking about it

As a popular, yet absurd way to pass the time, fight nights remain popular among Utah teens and everyone is talking about it, even parents.

Boredom buster

Fight Nights
Photo by: Milos Milosevic

Fight nights became popular after the 1999 film Fight Club that glorified organized violence as a fun activity to pass the time. Nearly two decades later, these violent get togethers continue to be a favorite pastime and the younger generation is keeping it going strong. A group of teens in southern Utah recently participated in a fight club as a way to kick off the summer during senior sunrise.

Organized violence

Most fight nights in Utah are at least somewhat organized as someone thinks enough of it to bring boxing gloves to a get together. There are many times when fight nights are well thought out and planned, with some events demanding an entrance fee to participate or view.

Physical injuries

While physical injury is expected, teens often don’t understand that fight nights don’t always end with a simple split lip or bloody nose. Concussions, knocked out teeth, and broken noses or other bones are common and can have unexpected recovery times and medical costs. Beyond physical injuries, these types of events can also damage a teen emotionally.

Emotional injuries

Photo by: Ian T. Macfarland
Photo by: Ian T. Macfarland

While some fight nights only see contestants fighting who desired to participate, others may involve someone calling another person out and putting them on the spot to fight or flee. Teens who originally had no intention to fight may feel pressured to participate to save themselves from being humiliated. Others who refuse or those who lose mercilessly may be publicly taunted and tormented by their peers.

Criminal charges for fight nights

If physical and emotional injuries aren’t enough to deter teens from participating in fight nights, maybe criminal charges will get their attention. Utah Code 63N-10-306 states that “Club fighting is prohibited. Any person who publicizes, promotes, conducts, or engages in a club fighting match is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.” Those charges could result in a year behind bars and a fine of up to $2,500. Parents who allow or even supervise their teens to participate in fight nights can also face criminal charges. As teens attempt to fill their summer with fun and exciting activities, it is important to discourage organized violence as a way to beat the summer boredom.

Can Compressed Air Guns Be Used on Small Wildlife?

Small wildlife such as birds and rabbits are often used as target practice for young Utah residents who wish to sharpen their skills with compressed air guns. The problem is: it may be illegal.

Compressed air guns

Compressed Air Guns
Photo by: Gordon

BB guns, pellet guns, and airsoft rifles, are all almost weapons that are used frequently by minors without much regulation and training. Unfortunately, this lack of training on these pseudo weapons leaves many juveniles unaware of the law regarding what they are allowed to shoot and where. Before risking legal penalties for using compressed air guns on small animals, youth and their parents are encouraged to research the laws where they live.

Protected wildlife

Although compressed air guns are not considered firearms in the state of Utah, they still have the potential to cause bodily injury or even death to small animals. Before kids decide to take out the annoying bird in the bushes next door, they should first find out if the animal is a protected species. Hundreds of animals are considered protected, from those who are domesticated pets or livestock to others who are protected under the Endangered Species Act or Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

City limits

If an animal is a nuisance animal or a pest and not protected in any way, it may be lawful to use compressed air guns on the animal, however minors should always check with an adult first. Another factor that must be considered and discussed with a knowledgeable adult prior to using compressed air guns is whether or not it is lawful to discharge them within city limits. Many cities including Salt Lake City prohibit the use of “any gun, revolver, or firearm of any kind or nature, or airgun ( . . . ) unless upon a place specifically designed exclusively for the use of any such type instrument.” (SLC Ordinance 11.48.030)

Seek information

For those seeking more information related to compressed air guns or about shooting small wildlife, the Utah Division of Wildlife and local city offices should be able to clarify what is considered lawful use of compressed air guns. If it is after the fact, and a person needs information regarding legal complications surrounding the use of compressed air guns, they are encouraged to contact a juvenile defense attorney.

15 Year Old Utah Teen Arrested for Discharging a Firearm near Riverdale Park

A 15 year old Utah boy has been arrested for discharging a firearm near a Riverdale park; a location that is also in close proximity to an elementary school.

Semi-automatic weapon at park

discharging a firearm
Photo by: Mike

On Tuesday evening, Riverdale police received multiple calls about gunshots being heard near Riverdale Park and Riverdale Elementary. Officers arrived to the scene and after a short police chase on foot, the 15 year old was apprehended. On his person was a semi-automatic weapon as well as an undisclosed quantity of ammunition. There is no information available on a possible reason behind the teen discharging the firearm. Fortunately nobody was hurt and no property has been reported damaged thus far.

Minor possession of a firearm

Although no one was injured, the 15 year old is likely to face multiple charges for discharging a firearm. Utah code 76-10-509 explains that “A minor under 18 years of age may not possess a dangerous weapon unless he:

(a) Has the permission of his parent or guardian to have the weapon; or

(b) Is accompanied by a parent or guardian while he has the weapon in his possession.”

A teen who violates this law faces a class B misdemeanor or Class A misdemeanor if he has already been charged for a similar crime. If the firearm in question had been a fully-automatic versus a semi-automatic, the teen would be facing a third degree felony.

Discharging a firearm

Photo by: Ian Carroll
Photo by: Ian Carroll

Utah Code 76-10-508.1 states that discharging a firearm is a third degree felony if the person in question shot towards a house, person, or vehicle or “with intent to intimidate or harass another”. If a person is injured those charges increase to a second degree felony; seriously injured, a first degree felony. Beyond Utah State law, the city of Riverdale Utah also has ordinances in place regarding discharging a firearm near a park. According to section 7-7-4 (a) of a public document put out by the Riverdale City regarding parks and trails, “No person in any park or river trail system shall: use firearms of any description including, but not limited to, air rifles, spring guns, bows and arrows, rockets, slings, paint guns, or any other forms of weapons potentially harmful to wildlife or dangerous to human safety.”

Federal charges

Discharging a firearm can bring an array of charges, even federal. According to information found on CONGRESS.GOV, the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990“Amends the Federal criminal code to impose criminal penalties for the possession or discharge of a firearm in a school zone ( . . . )”. With the many charges possible regarding discharging a firearm, parents of teens involved should take the matter seriously and solicit counsel from an experienced juvenile defense attorney.

Three Utah Juveniles Arrested Following Gas Station Aggravated Robbery

Three Utah juveniles were arrested following an early morning aggravated robbery of a gas station where the clerk was shot multiple times.

Unnecessary escalation

Aggravated Robbery
Photo by: Chris Heald

The three juveniles who have not been named nor had their ages released were arrested for aggravated robbery after then allegedly entered an Exxon gas station in the early morning hours of January 23rd, 2017, emptied the contents of the cash register, and shot the clerk twice; once in the wrist and once in the upper leg. A family member of the victim who is recovering after multiple surgeries said the victim stated that the suspects became frustrated when the clerk could only offer them the money in the till, not in the vault for which he had no access. Pictures taken from the security camera of the store showed the robbery taking place as well as identifying the teen who pulled the trigger on the clerk.

Aggravated Robbery

Utah Code 76-6-302 defines aggravated robbery as when a person, “in the course of committing robbery, he: uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon ( . . . ); causes serious bodily injury upon another; or takes or attempts to take an operable motor vehicle. Aggravated robbery is a first degree felony” and punishable with a fine as high as $10,000 and a possible prison term of five years to life in prison.

Minimal cash for life in prison

Photo by: majuznk
Photo by: majuznk

Most gas stations and other convenience stores keep a maximum of $100 in the register, which is why they discourage accepting large bills which would deplete their ability to make change. This is especially true at night when management is not available to open the vault, and regular employees are not privy to the combination to open it. Aggravated robbery of a gas station is literally trading life in prison for pocket change.

Adult charges may be pending

When a juvenile is charges with a first degree felony, there is a great possibility they may be charged as an adult. Defendants in this position are encouraged to counsel with a defense attorney who handles all defense cases, both in juvenile and adult (district) court.