Utah Teens Arrested for Aggravated Robbery of Drug Dealer

Four Utah teens were arrested for aggravated robbery of a drug dealer after demanding the illegal goods at gunpoint.

Compounding crimes

One 17 year old and three 18 year old teens were arrested in Layton, Utah after authorities were alerted they group had used a weapon to rob a drug dealer. The boys met with another 18 year old who was going to sell them THC extract. When the meeting took place, the teenage boys instead physically assaulted the dealer, pointed a gun at him, and left with the unlawful product.

Aggravated robbery

The four teens were arrested and charged with aggravated robbery. Utah Code 76-6-302 states “A person commits aggravated robbery if in the course of committing robbery, he:

  1. Uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon . . . ;
  2. Causes serious bodily injury upon another; or
  3. Takes or attempts to take an operable motor vehicle.

Aggravated robbery is a first degree felony”, punishable with a hefty fine and five years to life in prison.

Possible distribution charges

It took several hours for the robbery to be reported by the drug dealing teen, likely due to him fearing for his own arrest. Although he eventually got up the courage to report the crime, he also put himself at risk of facing charges himself. Distribution of marijuana products is a third degree felony as stated by Utah Code 58-37-8. Third degree felonies are punishable by up to five years behind bars.

Adult decisions

Every teen including the 17 year old involved in this deal gone bad could be facing time in prison. Had the charges not been as severe, such as a misdemeanor or even a lower felony, the youngest teen involved would ensure his case staying in the juvenile court system. Since aggravated robbery is listed in the Serious Youth Offender section of the Utah Code, he could end up being charged as an adult. Teens and barely adults who are facing serious charges should consult with an attorney who has experience in both the juvenile system as well as the district court to better handle cases that may switch from one court to another.

Utah Juvenile Case Goes Public

A Utah juvenile who was charged with choking an elderly woman while she played the organ at church will now have his case be viewed to the public.

The crime

A 71 year old woman was playing the organ at church late one night in November when someone came up behind her, choking her to the point of unconsciousness. Five months later, DNA evidence left at the scene by the suspect was linked to family members through a DNA database. With the linked DNA, investigators were able to track down a 17 year old boy and charge him with multiple felonies, including aggravated assault.

Juvenile cases and the public

When a juvenile commits a crime, the public may hear about the crime through news outlets when the story is deemed “newsworthy” or when reporters are grasping for any story during a dull week. Usually this information only contains the age of the juvenile and the details of the crime committed. Once the case goes to court, those proceedings are typically closed to protect unless the teen is charges as an adult. This protects the juvenile from public scorn and retaliation while increasing the teen’s chances at rehabilitation and turning instead to a crime free life.

Juvenile case goes public

The judge over the 17 year old boy’s aggravated assault case has decided to let the case go public. What this means:

  • News reporters will be allowed to view and document the public hearing; and
  • Witness testimonies will become public knowledge;

Since it is still in juvenile courts:

  • The teen’s name will still be withheld in an attempt to protect the court proceedings; and
  • No pictures will be taken of the juvenile defendant.

Pros and cons

When a juvenile case goes public, there is always the worry that the public proceedings will have a detrimental effect on the youth. On the contrary, having the case publicized could stop false accusations from surfacing from a public who are drawing their own conclusions while in the dark. Teens facing charges should consult with their attorney about the pros and cons of having a case go public, while knowing their legal counsel will do everything in their power to protect the teens still growing reputation and future.

Attempted Homicide Charges for Utah Student Who Caused Non-Life Threatening Injuries to Classmate

A Utah student is being charged with attempted homicide after he caused non-life threatening injuries to a classmate at Northridge High School in Layton.

Razor blade attack

Photo by: atalou

During lunch at Northridge High School in Layton, a 15 year old boy came up from behind another 15 year old male student and cut the other student’s neck with a razor blade. A school resource officer quickly intervened, and the victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries that required stitches. The young teen with the blade was calmly arrested and charged with attempted homicide.

Attempted homicide

Attempted homicide is a serious charge that even if committed by a juvenile, could end up resulting in a prison term. Utah law states that there are some serious felonies that if committed by a minor fourteen years of age or older, could cause a juvenile to be tried as an adult. According to Utah Code 78A-6-702, some of these felonies include:
i. “Aggravated arson
ii. Aggravated assault resulting in serious bodily injury to another;
iii. Aggravated kidnapping;
iv. Aggravated burglary;
v. Aggravated robbery;
vi. Aggravated sexual assault;
vii. Felony discharge of a firearm;
viii. Attempted aggravated murder; or
ix. Attempted murder; or
(b) [other offenses] involving the use of a dangerous weapon, which would be a felony if committed by an adult [and the minor has previous felony convictions with a dangerous weapon]”.

Clash between two teens

According to other students and investigating officers, the two teens involved had been having problems with each other for quite some time. The animosity between the two obviously got so bad as to lead to an attempt at taking another’s life. Parents and teachers are encouraged to observe teen’s behavior for signs of hostility toward or from other students and speak to school officials before things escalate. For more information on juvenile crimes that could result in adult charges, contact an attorney who has experience in both courts.

Three Teens Harboring a Runaway Friend Arrested

Three 18 year old teens from St. George Utah were arrested for harboring their friend who was listed as a runaway by law enforcement.

Missing person

Photo by: chriscom

In a Facebook plea from her distraught father, 17 year old McKenzie Scholzen was reported missing Monday after leaving home to go on a walk and never returning. Jeff Scholzen, McKenzie’s father stated concern for his daughter’s well-being due to suicidal tendencies. Local law enforcement was informed and began investigating the case while the community shared the father’s online post more than eight thousand times in an effort to locate the missing teen. Three days later, McKenzie was located safe and three older teens were arrested.

Road trip

McKenzie was found in a LDS church roughly 40 miles north of her home but hadn’t been there the entire time. The teen along with three 18 year olds had in fact travelled over 800 miles away to northern California before returning to southern Utah. McKenzie who left of her own free will was placed temporarily with a crisis center before being released to her parents. The 18 year olds who weren’t much older than McKenzie but legally considered adults by Utah law were arrested – Luis Rockwood for a warrant and Diego (Jasper) Wellhoff along with Lydia Probst for obstruction of justice and harboring a runaway.

Harboring a runaway

Photo by: Francois Marcotte

McKenzie went on the road trip willingly with her friends but because of her age as a minor, anyone helping her now faces criminal charges. Utah Code 62A-4a-501 states “a person . . . is guilty of a class B misdemeanor if the person:

(a) knowingly and intentionally harbors a child;
(b) knows at the time of harboring the child that the child is a runaway;
(c) fails to notify one of the following, by telephone or other reasonable means, of the location of the child:
i. the parent or legal guardian of the child;
ii. the division; or
iii. a youth services center; and
(d) fails to notify [one of the above persons] within eight hours after the later of:
i. the time that the person becomes aware that the child is a runaway; or
ii. the time that the person begins harboring the child.”

A class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine on top of any other charges faced.

Utah Teen Fleeing Police in Stolen Vehicle Causes Fatal Accident

A Utah teenager fleeing police in a stolen vehicle caused a fatal accident in Santaquin on Sunday.

Fleeing in a stolen vehicle

Photo by: Scott Davidson

Officers from the Payson City Police Department were on the lookout for a stolen truck when an officer on duty spotted a 17 year old juvenile driving the stolen vehicle Sunday night. The officer attempted to pull the teen over, however the teen failed to stop on command and fled. Later that same evening another officer on I-15 near Santaquin attempted to pull the teen over when the teen again failed to stop for police, resulting in a pursuit. While evading the police officer, the teen left the interstate and collided with a vehicle, critically injuring the other driver. That other driver who was a 17 year old female later died from her injuries.

Felony charges

The teenage driver of the stolen vehicle was transported to the hospital for injuries sustained in the accident but will be transferred to the custody of a youth detention center upon his medical release. He will face numerous charges which could include:

• Theft of “an operable motor vehicle”, a second degree felony as stated in Utah Code 76-6-412;

• “Failure to respond to officer’s signal to stop . . . and while so doing causes death or serious bodily injury to another person” another second degree felony (41-6a-210);

• Other felony charges if it is determined the boy was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If the teen’s charges are transferred from juvenile court to district court, he may face several years behind bars. For legal support regarding juvenile cases or those that may involve both courts, contact an attorney that handles both juvenile and criminal defense cases.