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.

Differences between Juvenile Court and Adult Court in Utah

When a teenager in Utah is charged with a crime, it can be handled by either the juvenile court or the adult court and it is important to know the differences between the two.

Juvenile court

Juvenile Court or Adult Court
Photo by: State Farm

Although the juvenile court handles cases of criminal activity by minors, it is a civil court where the goal is not to punish kids but to teach and rehabilitate them while also ensuring that they are not a danger to the community. Utah Code 78A-6-102 states: “The purpose of the [juvenile] court is to:

(a) promote public safety and individual accountability by the imposition of appropriate sanctions on persons who have committed acts in violation of law;

(b) order appropriate measures to promote guidance and control, preferably in the minor’s own home, as an aid in the prevention of future unlawful conduct and the development of responsible citizenship;

(c) where appropriate, order rehabilitation, reeducation, and treatment for persons who have committed acts bringing them within the court’s jurisdiction;

(d) adjudicate matters that relate to minors who are beyond parental or adult control and to establish appropriate authority over these minors by means of placement and control orders;

(e) adjudicate matters that relate to abused, neglected, and dependent children and to provide care and protection for minors by placement, protection, and custody orders;

(f) remove a minor from parental custody only where the minor’s safety or welfare, or the public safety, may not otherwise be adequately safeguarded; and

(g) consistent with the ends of justice, act in the best interests of the minor in all cases and preserve and strengthen family ties.”

Adult criminal court

If a teenager is charged with a felony listed under Utah’s Serious Youth Offender Act (78A-6-7), their case can be transferred to adult court where they can face serious repercussions including hefty fines and lengthy imprisonment. Offenses that are included in the Serious Youth Offender Act include:

• aggravated cases of arson;
• assault;
• kidnapping;
• burglary;
• robbery; and
• sexual assault; as well as
• felony discharge of a firearm;
• attempted aggravated murder; or
• attempted murder; or
• any subsequent offense involving the use of a dangerous weapon;

Juvenile defense attorney

Unfortunately in adult court, it is less lenient that juvenile court and those facing adult criminal charges should expect their sentencing to include more punishment without so much focus on education and rehabilitation. Additionally, once a case goes to adult court, those records which include the juvenile’s name are released to the public. For these reasons, it is imperative that juveniles and their parents and/or guardians seek counsel from a criminal defense attorney who has dealings with both the juvenile court as well as the adult court, and who will try diligently to keep all cases against minors within the juvenile court jurisdiction.

Teenagers Sneaking Soda Ends with Assault on an Officer

Three teenagers from southern Utah were arrested after one was caught sneaking soda and the others chose to intervene forcefully, one committing assault on an officer.

Those cups are for water only

Photo by: Bill Selak
Photo by: Bill Selak

An employee of a fast food restaurant in southern Utah contacted police after a 16 year old filled a cup of soda without purchasing it then knocked the employee down when the stolen drink was taken back and dumped. Officers located the teen at home, expecting to speak with the 16 year old and his parents. Instead they ended up calling over a dozen other officers for backup and arrested the 16 year old and two of his friends for an array of charges including assault on an officer.

Interfering and assault on an officer

Interfering and Assault on an Officer
Photo by: Chris Yarzab

When officer arrived at the home to speak with the teen, other people at the residence tried to intervene with the officer’s investigation. As the 16 year old was being led by police to the squad car, 19 year old Marcus Quiddam became agitated and chest bumped the officer. Not stopping there, Quiddam caused the officer to fall backward, resulting in minor injuries to the officer when he attempted to break his fall. The 16 year old and another aggravated minor were arrested for interfering with an arrest. Quiddam was also charged for his interfering as well as assault on an officer, a class A misdemeanor.

Rising tensions

Photo by: Kate Ausburn
Photo by: Kate Ausburn

With tensions rising between police officers and those they are sworn to serve and protect, many forget there are laws in place to protect the officers. Teens especially are at risk for crossing the line and facing charges as they can be emotionally driven as well as uneducated as to the specific laws regarding acting out toward law enforcement. It is important to teach children to continue to stand up for what they believe but to do it in accordance with the law.

Fraternal Rivalry or Sibling Abuse

Fraternal rivalry is common among brothers and sisters, yet there may come a point when the hurtful interaction between them could be seen as sibling abuse.

Sibling abuse

Photo by: Ken Wilcox
Photo by: Ken Wilcox

Sibling abuse is harmful behavior from one sibling to another which may be exhibited as emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual injury. Sibling abuse is hard to detect since many parents expect their kids to tease and quarrel with one another. The abuse is often not recognized immediately or not at all.

Emotional and verbal abuse

A little teasing is common and expected among kids, yet a pattern of constant name calling, mocking, or insulting should signal parents to intervene. Verbal abuse can be emotionally traumatizing, leaving lasting impressions on the victim. Feelings of worthlessness and an increased chance of depression can originate from emotional or verbal abuse experienced as a child.

Physical abuse

Photo by: Aislinn Ritchie
Photo by: Aislinn Ritchie

Two kids fighting over a toy is bound to happen. One of them may take a swing at the other; pull hair, or even bite. When a child violently and repeatedly lashes out at another however, it can signal physical sibling abuse. With physical abuse among siblings, one child is usually always the victim while another is the aggressor. If not addressed early, the victim may grow to be fearful of others or oppositely accepting of physical abuse. Additionally, the aggressor may not get the help they need for their violent behavior which may be evident in the way they treat others as an adult.

Sexual abuse

While emotional, verbal and physical abuse can happen whether or not a parent is present, sexual abuse is typically hidden from parent’s knowledge.  Children who are victims may begin acting out inappropriate scenes with their friends or toys.  Sometimes the only way parents may suspect abuse is occurring is when they observe destressing behavioral changes in the victim.

Criminal charges for aggressor

Sibling Abuse
Photo by: Peter Rowley

If sibling abuse is suspected or observed, parents must do all they can to curb the behavior immediately and obtain the psychological assistance that both the victim and the aggressor require. Unchecked sibling abuse could end in criminal charges for the aggressor such as assault, domestic violence, or other charges related to sexual misconduct and a lifetime of emotional and trust issues for the victim.

Utah Teens Start after School Riot

Three Utah teens are facing felony charges for starting a riot after school in the parking lot of Pine View High School in St. George last week.

Photo by: hans van den berg
Photo by: hans van den berg

Looking for a fight

The teenager girls, one of which was a minor, went to the high school with the intention of starting a fight. When the last bell of the day rang, hundreds of high school students piled out the doors to head home but instead came upon a frightening situation. A handful of students leaving were approached by the three outsiders and punches were thrown.

Riot penalties

Picking a fight with another person isn’t typically considered riot, although it could end in assault charges. A person is considered to be creating a riot when they, along with one or more friends (a small to large group), create an aggressive environment where people around are made to feel as though they are in danger. If they don’t end the dangerous behavior when told, they can face riot charges.

Misdemeanor or felony

According to Utah Code 76-9-101, “Riot is a felony of the third degree if, in the course of and as a result of the conduct, any person suffers bodily injury, or substantial property damage, arson occurs or the defendant was armed with a dangerous weapon ( . . . ); otherwise it is a class B misdemeanor.”

Peer pressure

Photo by: Pabak Sarkar
Photo by: Pabak Sarkar

Although an investigation is pending, it is not known at this time what affiliations the girls who started the riot had with those they targeted; there is a possibility the attack was random. One thing has been made apparent from witnesses however; the underage girl was encouraged by the older teens to fight. Giving in to peer pressure when it puts the individual or others in danger is never worth it in the end. Peer pressure that has led to criminal charges should be discussed thoroughly with a juvenile defense attorney.