Unlawful Sexual Activity among Teens

Teens who engage in sexual relations with other teens may feel they are legal to do so as long as both parties consent, however sometimes their relations are considered unlawful sexual activity.

Too young for consent

Photo by: Leo Hidalgo

Unlawful sexual activity among teens does not include instances or rape, sodomy or sexual abuse that carries severe penalties for the offender. Unlawful adolescent sexual activity are sexual relations where both parties give consent yet one or more parties are not at an age old enough for consent. According to the Salt Lake County Division of Youth Services, “teens and youth of a certain age range CANNOT consent to sexual activities. Even if a youth gave consent, they are not permitted by law to do so in certain circumstances – and anyone having sexual contact with them could face criminal charges. This rule still applies even if the contact was by a teen or youth with another teenager or youth.” So how young is too young for teens to engage in sexual activity and what are the punishments?

Felony charges

Unlawful sexual activity among teens is considered a felony if there is a major age difference between the consenting teens involved. According to Utah Code 76-5-401.3, teens face third degree felony charges if they are:

• 17 years old and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with another teen 12 or 13 years old, a four to five year age difference;
• 16 years old and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a teen who is 12 years old, a four year age difference.

Close in age, still against the law

The closer in age the teens who are involved, the less severe the punishments. This law varies slightly if the younger of the teens is a 12 or 13 year old who has barely reached adolescence. Statute 76-5-401.3 states, teens face class A misdemeanor charges if they are:

• 16 years old engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a teen who is 13 years old, a three year age difference; or
• 14 to 15 and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a 12 year old, a two to three year age difference.
Teens may be charged with class B misdemeanor if they are:
• 17 and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with another teen who is 14 years old, a three year age difference;
• 15 years old and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a teen 13 years old, a two year age difference.

Even teens who are really close in age or the same age face charges for having sexual relations. The punishment is a class C misdemeanor if the teen is:

• 14 years old and engaging in sexual activity with a teen who is 12 to 13 years old, a one to two year age difference ; and also
• 12 or 13 and engaging in sexual activity with another teen who is 12 or 13, the same exact age.

Almost adults

The laws regarding sexual activity among teens changes once the younger party involved reaches the age of 16 or 17 years of age. 16 and 17 year old do not face charges for sexual relations with other teens their same age. If the other party is an adult, it may still be legal depending on the age difference. Utah Code 76-5-401.2 explains that “a person commits unlawful sexual conduct with a [16 or 17 year old] if [the person] is:

• seven or more years older but less than 10 years older than the minor (…) and the person knew or reasonably should have known the age of the minor;
• 10 or more years older than the minor (…); or
• Holds a relationship of special trust as an adult teacher, employee, or volunteer (…)”.

This statute goes on to note sexual conduct includes any sexual act, inappropriate touching, or indecent liberties with the minor. Charges for the adult involved range from a class A misdemeanor to a third degree felony.

Not just old fashioned thinking

Teens who wish to engage in sexual activity should be warned that refraining from such is not just old fashioned thinking, it is the law. Those who face charges for unlawful sexual conduct should consult with a juvenile defense attorney.

No Charges Filed For Utah Teen Who Made Threats of Violence Online

A Utah teen was released with no charges filed after an investigation into threats of violence he made online.

Report of planned school shooting

A male student at Emery High School in Utah used the social media app Snapchat to make threats of violence towards other classmates at his school. After seeing a Snapchat post that the teen was going to shoot other students, someone alerted police to the threat. The male teen responsible for the frightening post was detained while police investigated the alleged threat.

Taking threats seriously

There is no explanation as to why the teen made the threats toward his peers, however police determined the danger to not be credible. Police interviewed friends of the teen as well as those who may have seen the post on Snapchat. In a case like this, investigators likely searched the teen’s locker, phone, computer and home. Through the investigation however, there was no evidence that the teen actually planned on carrying out the attack. It was likely he said it in frustration or anger.

Threats of violence

According to Utah Code 76-5-107, A person may face class B misdemeanor charges for committing a “threat of violence if:

(a) The person threatens to commit any offense involving bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage, and acts with intent to place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury, substantial bodily injury, or death; or

(b) The person makes a threat, accompanied by a show of immediate force of violence, to do bodily injury to another.”

Although the teen made a verbal or written threat of violence, he didn’t act towards the threat at all and was released without charges. The teen didn’t escape unscathed however. He is facing serious backlash from his peers as well as the community. It is important to teach children the criminal as well as social consequences that can occur from making threats of violence towards others. Teens who end up facing charges are encouraged to seek legal counsel with their parents or guardians.

Robbery Plan in Utah Results in First-Degree Felony Charges for Teens

A teen who made a plan to kidnap and rob his old roommate in Utah is now sitting in the Salt Lake County Jail charged with multiple offenses including first-degree felony charges.

Robbery and a beating

Photo by: Geoffrey Fairchild

18 year old Eduardo Michael Miranda-Carmona who the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office list as being a citizen of Mexico got together with a few friends and planned a robbery of someone who used to be his roommate. The roommate was jumped while leaving work, stabbed, tied up, and thrown into the back of a vehicle. There Miranda-Carmona and friends robbed the man at gunpoint, used his credit cards illegally, and dumped him to be found by a Utah policeman on patrol.

First, Second, and Third-degree felonies

The man who was robbed knew Miranda-Carmona as the two were old coworkers and roommates. This, along with security footage likely helped detectives to quickly identify and arrest Miranda-Carmona. He is currently in the Salt Lake County Jail with multiple felony and misdemeanor charges including:

• First-degree aggravated robbery with a weapon (76-6-302);

• First-degree aggravated kidnapping (76-5-302);

• Second-degree aggravated assault resulting in bodily injury (76-5-103);

• Third-degree unlawful acquisition or possession of a finance card (76-6-506.3); as well as

• Contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a class B misdemeanor.

Three other teens involved

Over the next few weeks, police were able to identify and arrest 19 year old John Ewing as well as two under age juveniles in the aggravated robbery case. With multiple felony offenses including two first degree felony charges, all four teens are looking at several years to life in prison for what appears to be a vindictive and maybe financially motivated crime, coordinated by one.

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

Photo by: kill

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

Photo by: thecrazyfilmgirl

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.