Possession with Intent to Distribute Charges for High School Sophomore

Photo by: NIlanjan Nag
Photo by: NIlanjan Nag

A sophomore at a Utah high school is facing possible charges for possession with intent to distribute after a large amount of drugs were found in his car at the high school parking lot.

Drug dogs

Officers searched a 16 year old’s vehicle after a K-9 unit alerted law enforcement to a possibility of drugs in the car. The drug dogs were at the high school doing a random search of hallways, lockers, and student vehicles; something they do at least once a month.

Mobile illegal business

The teenager, whose name is not released due to him being a minor, was attempting to leave the parking lot of the high school when officers stopped the young man and searched his vehicle, finding over five pounds of marijuana hidden inside.

Possession with Intent to Distribute
Photo by: Cannabis Culture

Possession with intent to distribute

Although there was no report on officers finding scales, baggies, or any other evidence suggesting that the boy was going to sell the marijuana, there is a high probability he may face charges of possession with intent to distribute based solely on the large quantity of marijuana he possessed. Since the five pounds of marijuana can be assumed to be more than a normal person would have on them for personal use, that may be all that is needed for intent to distribute charges to follow.

3rd degree felony +

Possession of over one pound but less than 100 pounds of marijuana is a 3rd degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine as much as $5,000. Someone facing possession with intent to distribute also faces a 3rd degree felony. While it may seem that the boy is facing a 3rd degree felony no matter which charge he faces, because he was in a school zone, intent to distribute charges would be increased to a 2nd degree felony. This is one of many reasons why it is encouraged to speak with a juvenile defense attorney regarding any drug charges.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident

The majority of vehicle accidents that take place in high school parking lots are minor; however teen drivers need to remember that leaving the scene of an accident is against the law, even if no damage or injury is present.

Police report not always required

Photo by: Paul Sullivan
Photo by: Paul Sullivan

When it comes to minor fender benders that are typical for high school parking lots, teen drivers may assume that they are free to leave as long as nothing looks broken. Although this may be how most cases of bumper cars end up, it is important that both parties agree on not filing a report to avoid facing charges of leaving the scene of an accident.

Remember passengers and parents of minors

In addition to all involved drivers being in agreeance, their parents who are likely on their insurance if they are under 18 or living at home, and any passengers involved should give the okay as well. If not, the departing party can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, regardless of it is was their fault.

Exchanging information

Even if a police report is not filed, information must be exchanged to help both drivers avoid possible charges should the other driver call foul play later. This is particularly imperative if there is any visible damage to a vehicle. Failure to exchange information before leaving the scene of an accident where property damage occurred is a class C misdemeanor, and punishable by up to 90 days in jail and up to $750 fine.

Accidents with bodily injury

Photo by: tales of a wandering youkai
Photo by: tales of a wandering youkai

If an injury occurs, both parties are required by law to remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives. Leaving the scene of an accident where an injury occurred can result in a class A misdemeanor and up to a year in jail or a 3rd degree felony and possibly 5 years in jail if the bodily injury is severe.

When in doubt, call it in

Anytime teenagers are involved in parking lot fender benders, it is wise for them to contact their parents along with the school officer if available. Making rash decisions after a small yet traumatizing accident may leave teens with a criminal record for leaving the scene of an accident. Teens who have already made this mistake, call a juvenile defense attorney.

Electronic Communication Harassment for Prank Calling

Prank calling is a favorite past time for many teens, but there are times when it can lead to electronic communication harassment charges.

Is your refrigerator running?

Photo by: Bonnie Nacko
Photo by: Bonnie Nacko

According to Utah Code 76-9-201, charges for electronic communication harassment can ensue from merely prank calling a number and being annoying. With prank calls such as these, electronic communication charges can follow when there is repeated contact or any contact after the person being called has asked not to be pranked again. This includes calling and hanging up and unfortunately this law doesn’t seem to apply to telemarketers.

Taking things a little too far

Occasionally, prank calls can take a darker tone when pranksters move from jokes into insults, taunts or threats. If the prank calling causes the person on the other line to be fearful or if the call is threatening or prone to “provoke a violent or disorderly response”, one call is all that is needed to be slapped with electronic communication harassment.

Hi, hi, hi, hey, hello, :), <3, sup, bro, dude…

When friends blow up another’s text messages with repeated IM’s, it is annoying and illegal. Utah code states that this can cause “disruption, jamming or overload of an electronic communication system”, and is technically electronic communication harassment. While this may be innocent and just for fun, make sure both parties feel that way.

Know the limits of the law and who you’re calling

Most prank calls are harmless and take place between friends; however there are individuals that find this annoying prank to be offensive. When a person on the other end of the prank call decides to press charges, minors can expect to face a class A misdemeanor for a first offense or a 3rd degree felony if this is a repeat offense of electronic communication harassment. For more information regarding electronic communication harassment for minors, contact a juvenile criminal defense attorney.

Police Car Joyride for Utah Teen

An Apple Valley, Utah teen is in jail after taking a police car joyride early Sunday morning.

Photo by: Scott Davidson
Photo by: Scott Davidson

Party poopers

18 year old Jason Bateman and a handful of his friends were hanging out in the back of a parked truck in Hildale, Utah shortly after 2am when police officers showed up regarding a noise complaint. Officers found beer, alcohol, and handguns among the people in the truck who consisted of both adults and minors.

Someone’s played Grand Theft Auto

After unsuccessfully trying to flee on foot, Bateman was handcuffed and arrested for minor consumption. Police left the 18 year old in the rear of the police car, handcuffed with his hands in front of him. Bateman then climbed into the front of the patrol car and sped off on a police car joyride, nearly hitting a group of bystanders.

Getting nowhere fast

Bateman’s police car joyride peaked at speeds reaching 120 mph as he soared past the Utah border, heading deeper into Arizona. Eventually however, he decided to end his joyride, pulling off the road willingly on southbound SR-389. Bateman and another individual from the truck are being held at Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane, Utah.

Should’ve stuck with minor consumption

Photo courtesy of: Washington County Sheriff's Office
Photo courtesy of: Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Because Bateman chose to flee on his police car joyride, now added onto his class B misdemeanor of minor consumption are four more class B misdemeanors, one class C misdemeanor, one class A misdemeanor, three 3rd degree felonies and one 2nd degree felony. For any teens whose choices have made a bad situation worse, make the good decision by getting in touch with a juvenile defense attorney.