Unlawful Sexual Activity among Teens

Teens who engage in sexual relations with other teens may feel they are legal to do so as long as both parties consent, however sometimes their relations are considered unlawful sexual activity.

Too young for consent

Photo by: Leo Hidalgo

Unlawful sexual activity among teens does not include instances or rape, sodomy or sexual abuse that carries severe penalties for the offender. Unlawful adolescent sexual activity are sexual relations where both parties give consent yet one or more parties are not at an age old enough for consent. According to the Salt Lake County Division of Youth Services, “teens and youth of a certain age range CANNOT consent to sexual activities. Even if a youth gave consent, they are not permitted by law to do so in certain circumstances – and anyone having sexual contact with them could face criminal charges. This rule still applies even if the contact was by a teen or youth with another teenager or youth.” So how young is too young for teens to engage in sexual activity and what are the punishments?

Felony charges

Unlawful sexual activity among teens is considered a felony if there is a major age difference between the consenting teens involved. According to Utah Code 76-5-401.3, teens face third degree felony charges if they are:

• 17 years old and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with another teen 12 or 13 years old, a four to five year age difference;
• 16 years old and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a teen who is 12 years old, a four year age difference.

Close in age, still against the law

The closer in age the teens who are involved, the less severe the punishments. This law varies slightly if the younger of the teens is a 12 or 13 year old who has barely reached adolescence. Statute 76-5-401.3 states, teens face class A misdemeanor charges if they are:

• 16 years old engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a teen who is 13 years old, a three year age difference; or
• 14 to 15 and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a 12 year old, a two to three year age difference.
Teens may be charged with class B misdemeanor if they are:
• 17 and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with another teen who is 14 years old, a three year age difference;
• 15 years old and engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a teen 13 years old, a two year age difference.

Even teens who are really close in age or the same age face charges for having sexual relations. The punishment is a class C misdemeanor if the teen is:

• 14 years old and engaging in sexual activity with a teen who is 12 to 13 years old, a one to two year age difference ; and also
• 12 or 13 and engaging in sexual activity with another teen who is 12 or 13, the same exact age.

Almost adults

The laws regarding sexual activity among teens changes once the younger party involved reaches the age of 16 or 17 years of age. 16 and 17 year old do not face charges for sexual relations with other teens their same age. If the other party is an adult, it may still be legal depending on the age difference. Utah Code 76-5-401.2 explains that “a person commits unlawful sexual conduct with a [16 or 17 year old] if [the person] is:

• seven or more years older but less than 10 years older than the minor (…) and the person knew or reasonably should have known the age of the minor;
• 10 or more years older than the minor (…); or
• Holds a relationship of special trust as an adult teacher, employee, or volunteer (…)”.

This statute goes on to note sexual conduct includes any sexual act, inappropriate touching, or indecent liberties with the minor. Charges for the adult involved range from a class A misdemeanor to a third degree felony.

Not just old fashioned thinking

Teens who wish to engage in sexual activity should be warned that refraining from such is not just old fashioned thinking, it is the law. Those who face charges for unlawful sexual conduct should consult with a juvenile defense attorney.

Move over Tang- Energized Chocolate Snuff Is the New Thing Now

Taking a chocolate high to a whole new level, a company out of Florida called Legal Lean has developed an energized chocolate snuff that is meant to snorted, not eaten.

Energized chocolate snuff

Photo by: Andrea

Flavored vape juice, alcohol enemas…what new, risky fad will the kids be trying next? Well, the newest product on the market is called Coco Loko, a chocolate powder mixed with energy supplements that when snorted, is developed to give users an energized buzz mixed with a euphoric high. Although Coco Loko is only available to purchase by adults 18 years of age or older, it won’t be long before it becomes a frequently used item among the youth, much like e-cigs have in recent years.

Safety concerns

Photo by Yale Rosen

The nose is not meant to transport anything into the body except clean filtered air. This is why we have nasal hairs to trap debris along with antihistamines to trigger expelling actions such as sneezing and a runny nose when microscopic particles such as pollen enter the nasal cavity. This natural filtering and removal system is meant to protect the lungs further down the respiratory tract from being permeated by foreign elements which can pose a severe health threat. By purposefully and powerfully snorting a substance such as energized chocolate snuff into the nasal cavity, the chance of small particles making their way to the lungs is greater. This can result in painful inflammation or aspiration pneumonia, which could be fatal.

Legal for now

Photo by: Randen Pederson

Much like the childish sniffing of Tang over the years, there really is no law criminalizing the snorting of chocolate. Unfortunately, the delivery method of the energized chocolate snuff could desensitize kids to the act of sniffing substances up their noses. Normalizing that act in itself could remove a future stigma of illegal drug use delivered in the same manner. Before energized chocolate snuff hits store shelves, parents should take this opportunity to speak to their children regarding this new dangerous trend and the dangers about sniffing foreign substances.

New Dangerous Trend Involves Teens Consuming Alcohol through Their Nether Regions

Utah parents are being warned about a dangerous trend going around that involves teens consuming alcohol through their nether regions.

Alcohol consumption

Photo by: Johnny Silvercloud

There are many ways in which alcohol can be consumed such as sipping a fine wine, having a casual beer, or doing shots of hard alcohol. Then there are drinking methods that are considered more “fun” and therefore appealing to the younger generation, including teens. These include: beer bongs, shot-gunning, Jello shots, and even keg stands (where kegs of beer are allowed). However alcohol is consumed, it should only be done by those 21 years of age or older.

Alcohol and teens

Teens are warned about consuming alcohol for several reasons:

• Alcohol can develop developing brains;
• Teens are more likely to drink excessively, leading to alcohol poisoning; and
• Teens may be more likely to drive drunk instead of asking parents or other responsible adult for a ride home.

Teenagers who drink may try to fool their parents or think they can pass a breathalyzer by consuming alcohol without orally ingesting it. This is when alcohol becomes increasingly dangerous.

Alcohol enemas

Alcohol Enema
Photo by: Justin Taylor

Perhaps in an effort to hide the smell of alcohol on their breath or just to be different, many teens are becoming involved in a dangerous new trend that involves consuming alcohol through their nether regions. Alcohol enemas, otherwise known as butt-chugging needs little explanations as the name describes exactly how the alcohol is entering the body. What isn’t well known is the danger being putting alcohol in direct contact with the thin membranes of the rectum. Unlike drinking where the body has a chance at warding off alcohol poisoning by breaking down the alcohol or vomiting the excess, consuming alcohol through the rectum has no such safeguard. Alcohol enemas along with alcohol injections or eyeballing alcohol is an extremely dangerous practice that could end in death and criminal charges for everyone else involved.

Criminal charges

Beyond the obvious physical dangers of alcohol enemas, there are also risks of criminal charges to discuss with teens. With regards to teens attempting to avoid a DUI, no matter the way alcohol enters a body, breathalyzers monitor the BAC or blood alcohol content that is evident in breath. If alcohol is consumed orally or anally, the BAC will be the same. Another legal risk of alcohol enemas comes to those who perform or help someone else perform one. If the person receiving the alcohol enema is seriously injured or killed, those who performed the enema can face murder charges. For more information on the legal ramifications of teens and alcohol, consult with a criminal defense attorney today.

No Climbing Water or Radio Towers

Utah is not lacking on mountain peaks with views yet many residents including teens gravitate toward areas such as water or radio towers which may be off limits for climbing.

Water towers

Photo by: Elvert Barnes

Sometimes climbing the same hill in the neighborhood loses its appeal and teens look for other areas to explore. One popular activity that is actually off limits is climbing tall structures such as water or radio towers. While most water towers are surrounded by barbed wire fencing and no trespassing signs, there are some that allow visitors. In the southwest city of St. George, the historic Red Hills Water Tower that overlooks downtown has been reinforced with safety railings and an upgraded staircase. Not only is it open to the public, it is also a popular place for swing dancers. Most of the other water towers throughout Utah are not as inviting.

Radio towers

Radio towers are another place where teens like to explore for great views. Unfortunately, just like most of the water towers throughout Utah, radio towers are off limits for climbing. In an effort to protect their property as well as avoid liability in case of accidents, radio towers are usually fenced and posted with no trespassing signs. This does not always stop the youth however and criminal charges could ensue from climbing off limit structures.

Trespassing

Water and radio towers are considered “non-dwellings” and trespassing on these properties can result in class B misdemeanor charges for teens. The youth need to be warned that although climbing structures like water or radio towers may be a famous pastime for many youth and even their parents, it is against the law to do so.

Fight Nights Remain Popular among Teens and Everyone is talking about it

As a popular, yet absurd way to pass the time, fight nights remain popular among Utah teens and everyone is talking about it, even parents.

Boredom buster

Fight Nights
Photo by: Milos Milosevic

Fight nights became popular after the 1999 film Fight Club that glorified organized violence as a fun activity to pass the time. Nearly two decades later, these violent get togethers continue to be a favorite pastime and the younger generation is keeping it going strong. A group of teens in southern Utah recently participated in a fight club as a way to kick off the summer during senior sunrise.

Organized violence

Most fight nights in Utah are at least somewhat organized as someone thinks enough of it to bring boxing gloves to a get together. There are many times when fight nights are well thought out and planned, with some events demanding an entrance fee to participate or view.

Physical injuries

While physical injury is expected, teens often don’t understand that fight nights don’t always end with a simple split lip or bloody nose. Concussions, knocked out teeth, and broken noses or other bones are common and can have unexpected recovery times and medical costs. Beyond physical injuries, these types of events can also damage a teen emotionally.

Emotional injuries

Photo by: Ian T. Macfarland
Photo by: Ian T. Macfarland

While some fight nights only see contestants fighting who desired to participate, others may involve someone calling another person out and putting them on the spot to fight or flee. Teens who originally had no intention to fight may feel pressured to participate to save themselves from being humiliated. Others who refuse or those who lose mercilessly may be publicly taunted and tormented by their peers.

Criminal charges for fight nights

If physical and emotional injuries aren’t enough to deter teens from participating in fight nights, maybe criminal charges will get their attention. Utah Code 63N-10-306 states that “Club fighting is prohibited. Any person who publicizes, promotes, conducts, or engages in a club fighting match is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.” Those charges could result in a year behind bars and a fine of up to $2,500. Parents who allow or even supervise their teens to participate in fight nights can also face criminal charges. As teens attempt to fill their summer with fun and exciting activities, it is important to discourage organized violence as a way to beat the summer boredom.