Teens and alcohol don’t mix and very often it seems that teens are driving don’t mix either; so what about those teens that do both – drink and drive?
Teens and young adults under the age of 21 are not legally permitted to drink alcohol and no one of any age should get behind the wheel of a car after drinking. When both of these laws are broken at once and teens make the dangerous choice to drink and drive, the statistics can get ugly. Some of the facts stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are:
• “One in 10 teens in high school drinks and drives.
• Young drivers (ages 6-20) are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood alcohol concentration [BAC] of .08%.
• 85% of teens in high school who report drinking and driving in the past month also say they binge drank [more than 5 alcoholic drinks within a couple hours]”
Penalties for teens who drink and drive
Not only do teens need to worry about the dangers of alcohol on a young brain and the messy combination mixing alcohol with driving, teens who are caught driving drunk can expect certain penalties as well. These penalties can include a fine too large for any after school job to afford as well as 48 hours of house arrest or even detention along with probation. Teens who drink and drive can usually expect to lose their driver’s license for anywhere from 6 months until they turn 21 years old. They are also expected to attend alcohol abuse classes.
Not worth it
Making the choice to drink and drive is a choice with more disadvantages than any buzz is worth. If that bad choice is made, it is important to understand how teens fit into the legal system. Teenagers who are facing charges in juvenile court for minor consumption of underage DUI should be represented by a juvenile defense attorney. Those who are facing criminal charges with the possibility of being charged as an adult should speak with a criminal defense attorney. The best bet would be to find an attorney who can handle anything from a juvenile misdemeanor to an adult felony for any charge accrued by a teen.
It has been determined that jail time will not be necessary for a Utah teenager who was charged with vandalism in California last June.
Vandalism – a costly choice
18 year old Jared Vance of Provo Utah was visiting a war memorial in Danville California when he foolishly spray painted drug referenced graffiti on what was described by Danville Police as “pavement, stone paths and granite benches”. California law states that depending on the cost of the damage, vandalism can be punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony with a fine ranging between $1,000 and $50,000 along with up to a year in jail.
Discerning it as a juvenile mistake
Authorities in Danville California and board leaders of the All Wars Memorial could have thrown the book at Vance for the vandalism on a respected memorial site however they have chosen to accept a public apology, community service, and reimbursement for the graffiti removal with no expected jail time for the young graffiti artist.
Fortunate “young” adult
At 18 years old, Jared Vance likely still looks and acts like a teenager yet is considered by law to be an adult. Although there is no excuse to defacing public property, the immaturity of his actions should not result in him spending time behind bars. Fortunately, the people of Danville California recognized that and gave this young man a chance to redeem himself without jail time. The Danville Police Department, who are continually involved with or sponsoring community events such as “Recess with the Cops” and “Coffee & Cocoa with the Cops” obviously understood a juvenile mistake when they saw one.
Many teenagers and young adults are not the recipients of such understanding and grace as what was shown to young Jared Vance by the people of Danville. Not only can juveniles be punished severely for crimes, they can also be charged as adults and face time in jail. If your son or daughter is facing criminal charges whether they are a teenager or an immature young adult, it is imperative to consult with a defense attorney that handles both juvenile and adult criminal cases to keep them out of the system.
Adolescent relationships are difficult and confusing already without adding the possibility of criminal charges for stalking a crush.
Don’t be creepy
Teenagers frequently have a hard time approaching and asking out someone they like with fear of being turned down and humiliated. Instead of getting up the nerve to talk to their crush, some may linger nearby–watching, sneaking a picture or two to gawk at with friends, and maybe going as far as sending their crush an anonymous text. While this may seem like innocent behavior from a shy, love-struck individual, the one being stalked may be creeped out and file charges.
When a person becomes aware they have someone tailing them, instead of being flattered it can be upsetting. They may notice someone observing them who stays hidden and never makes eye contact which can cause the crush to become fearful of the person’s intentions and therefore scared of being harmed. When the situation makes the crush worried or scared, it can be considered stalking.
According to Utah State Code “a person is guilty of stalking who intentionally or knowingly engages in a course of conduct [such as following, photographing, communicating, threatening] directed at a specific person and knows or should know that the course of conduct would cause a reasonable person: to fear for the person’s own safety ( . . . ); or to suffer other emotional distress.” A first violation of stalking is a class A misdemeanor. Subsequent violations could result in felony charges. Since many cases of stalking among teenager could be the result of an innocent crush, it is important to talk to a juvenile defense attorney to help clear the air and ward off potential charges.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Police in Centerville Utah were led on a late night chase by a 17 year old Magna boy in a stolen vehicle.
Evading police in a stolen vehicle
Officers in Centerville because suspicious of the teen’s behavior and quickly discovered that the teen was driving a stolen vehicle. When police attempted to pull the young driver over, he decided to flee instead. After hitting speeds of 80 mph the teen blew a tire and eventually crashed into a fence. He then left the stolen vehicle and fled on foot, only to be found dripping wet hiding in a creek.
2nd degree felony
Officers don’t know how the Magna teen acquired the motor vehicle, but he could be facing a 2nd degree felony for being in possession of a stolen vehicle. According to Utah code 76-6-412: “Theft of property ( . . . ) is punishable: as a second degree felony if the : ( . . . ) property stolen is a firearm or an operable motor vehicle;”
Auto Theft is not joyriding
Many teens may be confused on the dissimilarity between auto theft and joyriding. Although they are both illegal, the penalty between the two is very different. Joyriding is a misdemeanor while auto theft is a felony. So why is the 17 year old from Magna facing felony charges instead of a misdemeanor? The reasons could for multiple details including:
• The vehicle had been stolen for more than a day (undetermined at this time)
• The stolen vehicle was used to commit a crime (evading police)
• There was moderate damage done to the vehicle while stolen (crashing through a fence)
Teens who have made the mistake of borrowing a car without permission, it is important to return the vehicle promptly in good condition without breaking any other laws in the process. For legal help regarding auto theft or joyriding, contact a juvenile defense attorney.