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.

Child Abuse Homicide Charges Likely For Teen Babysitter in Utah

A 16 year old Utah teen accused of shaking a baby in his care could be facing child abuse homicide charges after the infant died following being taken off life support.

In his care

Photo by: Morgan

The teenager, who is unnamed due to his age was taking care of the 5 month old baby girl and her two year old brother at their home in West Valley City when the baby stopped breathing. The infant was rushed to the hospital where it was determined that she had been shaken by the teenage babysitter. The baby was taken off life support after it was determined her injuries were too severe. She then sadly passed away.

Child abuse homicide

Authorities said the boy was being held on child abuse charges pending a potential change to homicide if the baby ended up not making it. Now that she has died, the charged against the boy could be enhanced to child abuse homicide. Utah Code 76-5-208 states “Criminal homicide constitutes child abuse homicide if, under circumstances not amounting to aggravated murder . . . the actor causes the death of a person under 18 years of age and the death results from child abuse,
(a) if the child abuse is done recklessly. . . [it is a first degree felony];
(b) if the child abuse is done with criminal negligence . . .[it is a second degree felony]:
(c) if, under circumstances not amounting to the type of child abuse homicide described in Subsection [A], the child   abuse is done intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence . . . .[it is also a second degree         felony].”

Know your limits

According to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, “SBS/AHT [Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma] is the leading cause of physical child abuse deaths in the U.S.” Taking care of an infant or a small child can be very difficult, especially if the baby cries incessantly or behaves contrary to how the person caring for them would want them to. Most caretakers practice soothing techniques and other methods to bring happiness to both the child and the caretaker. Even then, sometimes the crying or unwanted behavior continues. Caretakers are encouraged to know their limits and take the appropriate time and space needed to ensure they can handle the situation with the young child safely and appropriately. Teens who may be dealing with surges and fluctuations of hormones known to cause irritability and even moments of rage should decide whether or not child care is something they should be participating in. Any teens facing charges for grave mistakes regarding children in their care should consult with a juvenile defense attorney immediately.

Utah Church Leader Faces Charges for Sexual Abuse of A Teen

A leader of a Utah church group was arrested for sexual abuse of a teen after a young woman came forward with information regarding an incident that occurred seven years ago.

Sexual abuse

A 20 year old Utah woman told authorities that her church leader had non-consensual sexual relations with her when she was 13 years old. Jefferson Cuong Quoc Ngo, who at the time was 18 years old, was arrest on multiple charges including sexual abuse of a child.

Age difference

When a 25 year old is arrested for engaging in sexual activity with a minor, there is no reason to wonder why the perpetrator got in trouble. When an older teen or young adult is arrested for sexual relations with a minor, many may wonder exactly what the laws are regarding such instances. According to Utah Code 76-5-401.3, 12 to 13 year old are not considered old enough by Utah law to engage in sexual activity. Older teens that choose to carry on a sexual relationship with a young teen or “tween” may face felony charges of unlawful adolescent sexual activity while young adults could receive more severe child sexual abuse charges. Once a teen is 16 or 17, they are considered more capable of making decisions regarding their sexual activity, and their sexual partner can be an adult as long as the age difference is not too great.

Non-consensual sexual encounter

Regardless of the ages of the individuals involved, no sexual activity may take place if one of the parties does not consent to it. According to the victim in the case, she did not want to engage in sexual activity with Ngo but was made to believe the encounter was okay because she thought they were a couple. Due to her young age at the time, she was too immature to understand the adult situation she was in and what her rights were. Ngo is facing two felonies and one misdemeanor for his illegal conduct. For more information on legal age of consent in Utah or for questions related to sexual abuse charges, contact a criminal defense attorney.

Sexual Assault Charges for Utah Teen Who Took Hazing Too Far

A Gunnison, Utah teen was charged with multiple charges of sexual assault after a hazing incident was taken too far.

Sexual assault by team member

Photo by: Mike Dupris

Many youth that join high school sports teams will experience a little bit of hazing. While some incidents are innocently done as a fun way to welcome new members to the team, others cross a line and can result in criminal charges for those responsible. Mid-September, a 15 year old freshmen student at Gunnison High School alerted the high school resource officer to a hazing incident that involved the male juvenile being held down and sexually assaulted by a sophomore following football practice. After the boy came forward to authorities, other victims soon followed suit and the 16 year old sophomore was arrested for six first degree felonies as well as five second degree felonies related to the sexual abuse.

Harmful hazing

While the student charged with sexual abuse obviously crossed the line from innocent hazing to criminal activity, other hazing rituals may also be against the law as well. Utah Code 76-5-107.5 states “A person is guilty of hazing if that person [knowing the activity is for those to be or remain a member of any organization] intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly commits an act or causes another to commit an act that:

(a) i. endangers the mental or physical health or safety of another;

ii. involves any brutality of a physical nature such as whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics, bruising, electric shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or exposure to the elements;

iii. involves consumption of any food, alcoholic product, drug, or other substance or any other physical activity that endangers the mental or physical health and safety of an individual; or

iv. Involves any activity that would subject the individual to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, extended isolation from social contact, or conduct that subjects another to extreme embarrassment, shame or humiliation”.

Criminal Penalties

Depending on the severity of the hazing and what weapons of illicit materials are used, hazing may be punished ranging from a class B misdemeanor to a second degree felony. Any teens facing charges for their involvement of criminal hazing are encouraged to seek the legal counsel of a reputable juvenile defense attorney.

Utah Teens Charged After Business in the Park Turned Aggravated Robbery

Two southern Utah teens were arrested late last month after their questionable business deal in the park turned into aggravated robbery.

“Business”

Photo by: Andy Thrasher

18 year old Jess P. Bozek and 19 year old Angel Isaiah Vazquez-Mendoza were arrested after an individual came forward stating the duo had met him in a quiet park to conduct a business transaction yet instead had robbed him at gunpoint. The victim stated the two demanded the items he had of value on him such as a wallet and drug items and when he challenged their demands, they physically restrained him while threatening him with a gun and knife. Authorities were able to quickly locate Bozek and Vazquez-Mendoza and both were arrested on multiple charges including aggravated robbery.

Aggravated Robbery

Although the victim wasn’t hurt and the gun was claimed to be a fake, two different weapons were used to threaten bodily harm which therefore constituted aggravated robbery. Standard robbery is defined by Utah Code 76-6-301 as when “[a] person unlawfully and intentionally takes or attempts to take person property in the possession of another from his person, or immediate presence, against his will, by means of force or fear, and with a purpose or intent to deprive the person permanently or temporarily of the person property”. Section 76-6-302 of the Utah State Code adds: “A person commits aggravated robbery if in the course of committing robbery, he:

(a) Uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon . . . ;
(b) Causes serious bodily injury upon another; or
(c) Takes or attempts to take an operable motor vehicle.”

Five to life

Both boys who are legally adults but who appear to be still immensely naive when it comes to common sense are facing serious charges for their business deal gone awry. Standard robbery is a second degree felony while aggravated robbery is a first degree felony. The 18 and 19 year old could be facing five years to life in prison for their mistake. For more information on felony charges as they pertain to juveniles and young adults, contact a criminal defense attorney who has experience working with clients of all ages.