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.

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.


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.

Gang Activity Alive and Well in Utah; Gang Recruitment Age Continues to Drop

Photo: zhouxuan12345678

Speakers at the recent 2014 Utah Gang Conference had a variety of issues to discuss, but one of the most troubling concerns is that gangs don’t seem to have a minimum age requirement. In fact, one speaker reported that a five-year-old kindergartener was responsible for gang-related graffiti at a West Valley City elementary school.

Does the Law Make Any Difference?

There is a law that’s specifically designed to deter adult gang members from recruiting minors to join any criminal street gang, but it’s clear that law doesn’t completely work.

It’s a class B misdemeanor to:

* solicit, recruit, entice or intimidate a minor to join a criminal street gang–even if the minor doesn’t actually join the gang

* conspire to commit an act that is intended to cause a minor to join a criminal street gang

* use intimidation to prevent or attempt to prevent a minor from leaving a gang or otherwise end the minor’s affiliation with such a group

A person who’s found guilty of a class B misdemeanor may find himself serving a jail sentence of up to six months.

It’s a class A misdemeanor for any person who is a member of or otherwise actively involved with a criminal street gang to:

* intimidate or otherwise cause a minor to commit or attempt to commit any misdemeanor criminal offense;

* commit one (or more) of certain specified crimes

* more than once, by the same minor, within a period of 180 days

If you’re found guilty of committing a class A misdemeanor, you might end up stuck in jail for up to one year.

Contact a Utah Juvenile Defense Attorney

If your child is in legal trouble, don’t wait to talk to a Utah juvenile defense attorney. Even though it’s illegal for gang members to recruit minors, they still manage to get some kids on their side.

Regardless of your child’s particular situation, get him or her the legal help they deserve. Make that important call now.

School Stabbing Leaves More Than 20 Wounded, Some Critically

Photo: Isaac Tovar

A 16-year-old boy allegedly injured more than 20 people at a school stabbing in Pennsylvania, leaving authorities with more questions than answers about the motive behind the attack.

School Stabbing Leaves Many Questions

Other students and adults who witnessed the attack stated that the young man didn’t have any unusual look on his face nor did they have a sense that this particular boy could or would commit such violence.

This particular crime seems to have caught many people off guard, since most schools now have plans in place should a shooting occur but a school stabbing isn’t the norm. There were a couple of schools in Texas, though, who have experienced stabbings within the past several months.

It’s probably nearly impossible to predict when a student or other person might commit an attack on a school. There’s little to no information about the boy in question in this incident, but it’s likely that more details will come to light as time passes and the investigation continues.

Case May be Handled in Adult Court

It is reported that prosecutors will try to have this young man treated as an adult instead of being taken care of in the juvenile court system.

Let Us Help Your Child–and You

We are Utah juvenile defense attorneys who will work hard to protect the rights and interests of your child, should he become involved in the juvenile justice system. Minors deserve the same protection and advice that adults receive, and it’s vital that they have an attorney on their side as early as possible.

There’s a reason that kids’ cases are handled in juvenile court as opposed to adult court, and we are diligent in our efforts to keep kids where they can best be served–and that’s not with the grown-ups.

If your child is in legal trouble, help him or her by contacting us today. It may be the best choice you’ll ever make on your child’s behalf.

Utah Teen Considered Person of Interest in Southern Utah Homicide and How a Juvenile’s Case is Transferred to Adult Court

The teen is just 17-years-old, so is officially still a juvenile, although there are possible steps that prosecutors could take in attempting to have him declared an adult and requesting his case be moved to adult court if he ends up being arrested for the crime.

Steps to Take to Have Juvenile Certified as Adult in Utah

First, a prosecutor would file information alleging that a crime was committed which would have been a felony if committed by an adult. At that point, the juvenile court would conduct a preliminary hearing. At that hearing, the prosecution would have the burden of establishing that a crime was committed and that the defendant was responsible and that (with a preponderance of evidence) it would not be in the best interest of the minor or of the public for the juvenile court to handle the case.

There are several considerations that the juvenile court could base its decision on in such a matter, including:

* the seriousness of the offense and if the community would be better protected by the minor possibly serving a jail or prison sentence

* whether the alleged offense could subject the minor to enhanced penalties

* if the offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, premeditated or willful manner

* whether the offense was against person or property

* the maturity level of the minor, including considerations of his home, environment, emotional attitude and pattern of living

* the record and previous history of the minor

* the likelihood of rehabilitation of the minor by use of juvenile court-available facilities

* whether the minor used a firearm

* if the minor used possessed a firearm on or about school premises

As you can see, there are many issues that can be taken into account where there’s a request to transfer a juvenile’s case to adult court. It’s vital that a minor’s potential for being incarcerated in adult prison not be taken lightly. To that end, if you have a child who’s involved in any criminal matter, you should talk to a Utah juvenile defense attorney as soon as possible.

Help Your Child by Getting Him the Legal Help He Needs

You can’t assume that your child’s best interests will automatically be taken seriously. It’s imperative that he or she be represented by a top defense attorney who is experienced in helping kids. Make that important call today.