17 Year old Led Police on Late Night Chase in Stolen Vehicle

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

Photo by: Mark Doliner
Photo by: Mark Doliner

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.

Vandalism Charges for Egging Houses

Late night pranks such as toilet papering and egging houses may seem like harmless fun, but the pranksters could end the night with vandalism charges.

Winter break

Photo by: Philip Schatz
Photo by: Philip Schatz

For the next week or more, most youth throughout Utah have a break from school which also leads to a break from curfew and early bedtimes. With this newfound freedom, numerous teens take time away from their electronics to find something more entertaining to do. Late night pranks aren’t anything new; generations of teens have used the nighttime hours to get into a variety of mischief. Regrettably, some of these common rites of passage can essentially lead to vandalism charges.

Not a harmless prank

While some pranks are annoying yet harmless, other pranks such as egging houses are not as innocent. Egging houses can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage ranging from broken windows to entirely redoing a home’s siding. When a prank ends in damage, it is vandalism. Vandalism is considered criminal mischief and is punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the damage. Beyond criminal charges, homeowners who are targeted with the vandalism can press charges as well.

Mom of the year

Photo by: Ben Brown
Photo by: Ben Brown

Most parents understand the risk of criminal charges such as vandalism on a juvenile record and therefore discourage their teens from getting involved in acts of vandalism or criminal mischief. Other parents, the forever children, not only condone vandalism such as toilet papering or egging houses, but may help their kids out with the prank. This was the case for an Ogden Utah mom who helped her daughter and friends egg several houses throughout the Wasatch front. The mother is now facing criminal charges related to the vandalism and it is possible that the youth involved will face charges as well.

Idle hands

There are many safe and legal options out there to keep teens entertained during this winter break. However, for teens who have used this free time unwisely and are facing vandalism charges because of it, contact a juvenile defense attorney as soon as possible.

Mass Retail Theft by Group of Teens

A group of teens were involved with a mass retail theft earlier this week, stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from a popular store.

Shopping spree

Photo by: David Shankbone
Photo by: David Shankbone

This week many teens and their families were planning a special holiday, preparing to share stories around the table, give thanks, and enjoying an assortment of decadent dishes. This wasn’t the case for a large group of teens in Washington D.C. however who decided to create a pre-black Friday deal, taking part in a with a mass retail theft.

Taking a stand against injustice

Just before 7pm on Tuesday, nearly two dozen teens rampaged into a Diesel clothing store, taking about $13,000 worth of high end apparel. While it may appear as though these teens were committing group retail theft, they were supposedly making a statement about unfair racial profiling.

Store alert system a.k.a. racial profiling

Several stores in the Georgetown area had a system in place to help warn each other and law enforcement of potential shoplifters. While this system may have had good intentions, many shoppers including several teens in the D.C. area are accusing the system of using racial profiling. These accusations have caused several groups to lash out at the local retailers involved.

Retail theft is a crime

While it is encouraged for teens to take a stand against something that they believe is unjust, committing a crime such as retail theft can result in charges, regardless of the intent. According to Utah Code 76-6-412, a person who is convicted of retail theft can face anywhere from a class B misdemeanor to a 2nd degree felony, depending on the price tag of the item(s) and the circumstances surrounding the retail theft. Teens who have made a criminal mistake and committed a crime such as retail theft need to discuss their charges with a juvenile defense attorney.

When Does a Schoolyard Brawl Become Physical Assault?

Fights are common among kids, but when does a simple schoolyard brawl become physical assault?

Kids battling out there problems

Photo by: zzclef
Photo by: zzclef

Many schoolyard brawls begin and end with harmless pushing and shoving, rarely escalating to punches being thrown. When the fight is mild without anybody suffering any injuries, both parties typically walk away with nothing more than hurt pride. Even when fights do intensify and leave someone with a black eye or a fat lip, it has not been common practice for the kids or their parents to press physical assault charges. .

Times are changing

With the influx of information being at our fingertips, there are a higher majority of individuals who are educated with the basics of the law and penalties for various crimes. Those kids who settled things on the schoolyard are now parents who realize they have an option of pressing charges of physical assault when their son or daughter is hit by a peer.

Bullying has opened eyes

Along with information found online, the spotlight being placed on bullying has opened the eyes of the public to the possibility that fights on the playground may be a case of bullying. With everyone more aware, there may be a rise in physical assault charges where there wouldn’t have been before. Additionally, the rise in news stories of schoolyard brawls that got out of hand are likely to make the everyone more on edge with any fight between kids.

Assault defined

While many states separate assault as being the threatening of harm and battery meaning the actual striking of another individual, Utah groups these together as simply assault. In Utah Code 76-5-102, assault is defined as:

An attempt, with unlawful force or violence, to do bodily injury to another; or
An act, committed with unlawful force or violence, that causes bodily injury to another or creates a substantial risk of bodily injury to another.

With the threat of intensifying violence among kids and possible physical assault charges looming, it is critical for kids to learn to settle their differences differently that the generation before them. Those who are facing charges for physical assault following a fight at school should seek defensive counsel immediately, as assault charges can be either a class B or a class A misdemeanor and may bring time in jail or juvenile detention.

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.