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.

Utah Student Arrested For Rape of Classmate in School Parking Lot

A Utah high school student was arrested on suspicion of raping a fellow classmate in a vehicle located in their school’s parking lot.

High school parking lot

Photo by: Tom Leonard

18 year old Dylon Hernandez was arrested after a female student came to police stating Hernandez had raped her in a parked car at the local high school. The female student had gone to her car to catch up on homework while Hernandez ditched his class to accompany her. While in the car, Hernandez was reported to have sexually forced himself on the girl, later admitting it and apologizing via social media.

First degree rape

The 18 year old teen, who is legally an adult but more than likely still a senior in high school, was booked into Utah County Jail for rape, a first degree felony. According to Utah Code 76-5-402, “A person commits rape when the actor has sexual intercourse with another person without the victim’s consent.” First degree felony rape is punishable by five years to life in prison as well as a lifetime on the Sex Offender Registry.

No means no

Photo by: GovernmentZA

In an effort to fight today’s rape culture, it is imperative to teach teens that although rape is common, it should not be normalized. It is a criminal offense that can physically, mentally, and emotionally harm the victim for years. While teens may be constantly fighting sexual tensions brought on by raging hormones, they must understand that when it comes to sex, no means no; no consent means no. Teens must be taught early the lifelong consequences for the victim including depression and PTSD as well as punishment for the perpetrator including lengthy prison sentences and a permanent record of sexual violence. For more information on legal repercussions stemming from rape or sexual abuse charges, contact a criminal defense attorney.

Undetected Bullying May Have Led to Violent Outburst by Utah Teenager

After the stabbing that happened at an Orem high school this week, several Utah residents questioned if undetected bullying may have led to the violent outburst by the 16 year old teenager.

When bullying victims fight back

Photo by: Thomas Ricker
Photo by: Thomas Ricker

Although authorities are unaware of any bullying that may have occurred prior to the stabbing, it is not uncommon for teen bullying victims to quietly bear the tormenting before eventually lashing out at their oppressors; an act that is too often done immediately before harming themselves. While this may not be the case for this incident as stated by the suspect’s parents, something triggered this young man with perfect grades and no criminal record to snap.

Depression to aggression

Bullying is often a major cause of depression among teenagers. Bad-mouthing (in person or online), name calling, ostracizing, and/or physical confrontations by peers can often cause a teen to withdraw from family and friends. When teens withdraw, they are more likely to lose interest in things that used to make them happy. As depression sets in, teens may experience intense, prolonged times of sadness and despair. Depression is not always evident as sadness however; those suffering may become more irritable and have increased instances of aggression.

Bullying
Photo by: Serge Saint

Watch for red flags of bullying victims

Stopbullying.gov lists nine warning signs that parents and teachers should be aware of to identify a child or teen who may be a victim of bullying:

• “Unexplainable injuries
• Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
• Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
• Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
• Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
• Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
• Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
• Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
• Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide”

Signs of an aggressor

Stopbullying.org also lists eight red flags that a child or teen may be the aggressor in bullying cases. “Kids may be bullying others if they:

• Get into physical or verbal fights
• Have friends who bully others
• Are increasingly aggressive
• Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
• Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
• Blame others for their problems
• Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
• Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity”

Taking appropriate action

If adults can be aware of bullying red flags and address them immediately with their teen, school personnel, as well as a counseling service that specializes in teen depression and mood disorders, many teens can receive the help they need to channel their feelings appropriately while those doing the bullying can be dealt with appropriately. If teens are facing criminal charges for a violent response to bullying they have endured, contact a juvenile defense attorney

Utah Teens Arrested for Making Terrorist Threats against High School

Two teenagers in Utah were arrested for making terrorist threats after they were overheard plotting an attack on Highland High School.

Talk about terrorist threats isn’t cheap

Terrorist Threats
Photo by: Steve Snodgrass

According to a family member of a witness, two teenagers who attended Highland High School were heard talking about bringing guns to school and opening fire on other students. Police determined the threat was likely a horrible joke and there was no evidence found to verify that the students were even capable of carrying out such a violent act. Regardless, both teens are facing serious criminal charges for their empty threats.

Implied threat to commit

Utah Code 76-5-107.3 states “A person commits a threat of terrorism if the person threatens to commit any offense involving bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage, and: ( . . . ) Cause[s] an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies to take action due to the person’s conduct posing a serious and substantial risk to the general public.” That section of Utah Code also states that “it is not a defense under this section that the person did not attempt to carry out or was incapable of carrying out the threat.” Also noted is that “a threat ( . . . ) may be express[ed] or implied.”

Angry adolescents or terrorists in the making

Whether or not the students were literally making terrorist threats against the school or just blowing off steam is irrelevant to law enforcement who take any terrorist threat very seriously. The two teenagers mentioned using firearms and not weapons of mass destruction such as bombs or chemical weapons, so the charges against them will likely range anywhere from a class B misdemeanor to a third degree felony instead of the higher second degree felony. Nevertheless, when teens are facing serious criminal charges such as making terrorist threats, parents are always encouraged to consult with an experienced juvenile defense attorney to ensure the best possible outcome for kids who have made a terrible mistake.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident

The majority of vehicle accidents that take place in high school parking lots are minor; however teen drivers need to remember that leaving the scene of an accident is against the law, even if no damage or injury is present.

Police report not always required

Photo by: Paul Sullivan
Photo by: Paul Sullivan

When it comes to minor fender benders that are typical for high school parking lots, teen drivers may assume that they are free to leave as long as nothing looks broken. Although this may be how most cases of bumper cars end up, it is important that both parties agree on not filing a report to avoid facing charges of leaving the scene of an accident.

Remember passengers and parents of minors

In addition to all involved drivers being in agreeance, their parents who are likely on their insurance if they are under 18 or living at home, and any passengers involved should give the okay as well. If not, the departing party can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, regardless of it is was their fault.

Exchanging information

Even if a police report is not filed, information must be exchanged to help both drivers avoid possible charges should the other driver call foul play later. This is particularly imperative if there is any visible damage to a vehicle. Failure to exchange information before leaving the scene of an accident where property damage occurred is a class C misdemeanor, and punishable by up to 90 days in jail and up to $750 fine.

Accidents with bodily injury

Photo by: tales of a wandering youkai
Photo by: tales of a wandering youkai

If an injury occurs, both parties are required by law to remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives. Leaving the scene of an accident where an injury occurred can result in a class A misdemeanor and up to a year in jail or a 3rd degree felony and possibly 5 years in jail if the bodily injury is severe.

When in doubt, call it in

Anytime teenagers are involved in parking lot fender benders, it is wise for them to contact their parents along with the school officer if available. Making rash decisions after a small yet traumatizing accident may leave teens with a criminal record for leaving the scene of an accident. Teens who have already made this mistake, call a juvenile defense attorney.