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 Juveniles Don’t Usually Face Criminal Convictions–With a Few Exceptions

Photo: Darien Library

In this state, most cases involving Utah juveniles are considered civil proceedings. Some exceptions include:

* traffic violations

* murder or aggravated murder committed by a juvenile aged 16 or older

* certain crimes which would be considered a felony if committed by an adult

* serious youth offender crimes

* other serious felonies that end up having the minor’s case transferred to district court

An adjudication in juvenile court is not a criminal conviction. Additionally, juvenile court adjudications may not impose civil disabilities or prevent the youth from future military service or appointment.

The Role of Juvenile Court is Rehabilitation if Possible

As a general rule, juvenile courts are not designed to take Utah juveniles who are delinquent in some fashion and subject them to the same type of penalties that are imposed upon adults. Rehabilitation is supposed to be the first order of business, not excessive punishment.

Update on Southern Utah Murder Suspect

As we mentioned last week, there is a 17-year-old boy in southern Utah who was a suspect in a murder. He has now been charged with murder, along with several other crimes. He turns 18 in a couple of days, at which point it’s understood he may be put in with the regular adult jail population.

The prosecution in this case is asking that he be treated as an adult. His defense attorney, on the other hand, would prefer to see the boy’s case remain in juvenile court. Of course, we don’t know the outcome at this point, but it will be interesting to see what the judge decides.

Don’t take anything for granted if your son or daughter has been arrested for any offense–regardless of the severity. Talk to a Utah juvenile defense attorney as soon as possible to find out what options are available for your child and get his or her case moving in a positive direction.

Two Utah Juveniles Facing Charges As Suspects in West Valley Area Burglary Ring

Photo: Yutaka Tsutano

A couple of juveniles have been arrested and booked into juvenile detention based on law enforcement’s belief that they have been involved in a successful burglary ring doing business in the West Valley City area.

Burglary Ring Kept Busy

The alleged burglary group reportedly focused on robbing homes that were normally unoccupied during the day. It’s also believed that they stuck mainly to stealing expensive electronics and jewelry. The other members of the group consisted of four adults, all of whom have been identified and charged with crimes such as racketeering, burglary and criminal mischief.

Kids Don’t Have it Too Easy

Most people will admit that it’s tough to be a kid these days. It’s even more challenging when the adults who should be watching out for and protecting kids are involving them in committing crimes.

Your Child Needs and Deserves the Best Legal Defense Possible

Luckily, juvenile courts have some options available to them when it comes to doling out consequences for juvenile offenses. The best way to insure your child gets the best possible outcome out of his juvenile court case is to hire an experienced Utah juvenile defense attorney to represent him.

Most kids are not beyond the reach of amendment when it comes to criminal behavior. It still makes sense to let an attorney handle any child’s case both in and out of the courtroom. Kids deserve the same respect as adults, and an attorney can make sure they are treated appropriately by all involved parties.

Make the right move today and talk to a top Utah juvenile defense attorney.

Utah Kids’ Use of Marijuana Still Strong, Still a Crime

Photo: Torben Hansen

Even though using marijuana is still illegal in Utah, some Utah kids (and adults) are finding reasons to use the drug and ways to get a hold of it.

Marijuana, the use of which has been legalized recreationally in Colorado and Washington states, has been authorized for medicinal purposes in at least 20 states in the Union. Utah, probably not too surprisingly, is still a hold-out state for legalized marijuana use in any way.

Lots of People on the Marijuana Bandwagon

A recent study shows that more kids are viewing marijuana use as something that shouldn’t be criminalized. In fact, even in Utah kids are more inclined to use marijuana for its supposed lack of side effects.

The study shows an increase in recent use of marijuana, etc., by 8th, 10th, and 12 graders in Utah over the past 4 years, and there’s no indication that those statistics will reverse themselves anytime soon.

Marijuana Use Still a Crime in Utah

As mentioned before, drug use–and alcohol use–is a crime in Utah, and kids who are caught disobeying the law face potentially stiff penalties. One typical consequence for kids who use drugs is having their driver’s license revoked or suspended until their reach the age of 21.

Other penalties can include home or juvenile detention, youth drug court intervention, fines and work hours. Any or all of these consequences can come about as a result of kids going through the juvenile court process.

If your son or daughter is in legal trouble, whether it’s related to drugs or not, don’t wait to contact a Utah juvenile defense attorney. Your child deserves to have a top legal advisor on his or her side in any court situation. Make that important call today.