Skirmish between Groups of Teens in West Jordan Ends in Shooting

A skirmish between two groups of teens in West Jordan ended in a shooting last week and felony charges could be pending for one young juvenile.

Fight escalates

Photo by: Peter Anderson

One teen was shot and another arrested after a fight broke out between two groups of teens in West Jordan last Sunday evening. The incident, which is said to not be gang-related started for unknown reasons but quickly escalated to rocks being thrown and a gun being fired. One teen was shot multiple times and luckily did not have life-threatening injuries. Another teen who was said to be a 14 year old male was arrested and could face serious charges for shooting the other teen.

Aggravated Assault or worse

Authorities have not released what charges the teen is facing however it is possible the teen could face felony charges for either aggravated assault or a more serious offense such as attempted murder. Aggravated assault is defined by Section 76-5-103 as “conduct that is:

i. an attempt, with unlawful force or violence, to do bodily injury to another;
ii. a threat, accompanied by a show of immediate force or violence, to do bodily injury to another; or
iii. an act, committed with unlawful force of violence, that causes bodily injury to another or creates a substantial risk of bodily injury to another; and

. . .that includes the use of:
i. a dangerous weapon . . . ;
ii. any act that impedes the breathing or the circulation of blood of another person. . . ;
iii. other means or force likely to produce death or serious bodily injury.

Aggravated assault is punishable as a third degree felony unless the victim is seriously injured or loses consciousness during the assault at which point the penalty faced would then be a second degree felony.

Increased charges if proven intent

If the teen pulling the trigger had better aim or had the victim been a foot more to one side, the shooting could have been deadly. Some may wonder if the risk of death from the crime would then constitute attempted murder, a first degree felony. Although shooting another individual is likely to cause death, it should not be considered attempted murder unless the shooter pulled the trigger with the intent to kill as stated in section 76-4-101. This pivotal question of intent is likely to arise during legal proceedings however which could dramatically increase the fine and prison term a defendant is facing. Anyone facing aggravated assault charges are encouraged to seek experienced legal representation immediately.

Utah Teens May Be Allowed to Vote in Primaries before the Age of 18

Utah teens, many of whom are eager to let their voices be heard may now be allowed to vote in the primaries before they reach the age of 18.

Teen involvement in politics

Photo by: AFGE

Teens all over Utah have been taking a stand regarding political and debate topics, yet until now they have been unable to vote in favor of those who share their beliefs until they reach the age of 18. That barrier has now been changed to allow those approaching adulthood to join in on the primaries before they turn 18 years old.

Amended eligibility for voter registration

Utah Code 20A-2-101 was recently amended to allow teens to register and vote prior to them reaching the age of 18. That section now states: “. . . an individual may register to vote in an election who:

(a) Is a citizen of the United States;

(b) Has been a resident of Utah for at least the 30 days immediately before the election;

(c) Will be:
(i) At least 18 years of age on the day of the election; or

(ii) If the election is a regular primary election, a municipal primary election, or a Western States Presidential Primary:

(A) 17 years of age on or before the day of the regular primary election, municipal primary election, or Western States Presidential Primary; and

(B) 18 years of age on or before the day of the general election that immediately follows the regular primary election, municipal primary election, or Western States Presidential Primary; and

(d) currently resides within the voting district or precinct in which the individual applies to register to vote.”

Register now

Photo by: Tony Webster

Teens who are eligible to vote in the primaries should register soon as the last day to register by mail is approaching quickly with primaries taking place at the end of June. For more information on registering teens to vote, contact the local county clerk’s office.

Group of Teens Suspected of Robbery in Southern Utah

A group of teens are suspected of robbery in southern Utah after the group physically attacked a man in his apartment, leaving with over two grand worth of items.

Return with criminal intent

The teens in question had been at the apartment previously and had allegedly returned to collect personal belongings. When they arrived back at the apartment the next day, they were said to be in possession of a firearm. Another resident at the apartment not present during the incident stated that the group had physically assaulted another man and threatened him with a gun before stealing several expensive items from the property.

Robbery vs armed robbery

The investigation into the robbery is still in progress and at this time police have not verified whether or not a firearm was used in the incident. Authorities do have names of the teens involved yet more information on formal charges should be forthcoming. The legal penalties for robbery are severe, yet the teens involved could face charges that are increased even more if the use of a firearm is proven. Utah Code 76-6-301 states: “A person commits robbery if:

(a) The person unlawfully and intentionally takes or attempts to take personal property in the possession of another from his person, or immediate presence, against his will, by means of force or fear, and with a purpose or intent to deprive the person permanently or temporarily of the personal property; or

(b) The person intentionally or knowingly uses force or fear of immediate force against another in the course of committing a theft or wrongful appropriation. “

Robbery is a second degree felony. If teens are found to have used a firearm during the course of the robbery or “cause[d] serious bodily injury upon another . . . “ as noted in section 76-6-302 of the Utah State Code, the charges would then be increased to aggravated robbery or armed robbery, a first degree felony.

Items of little worth

The motive for the robbery is unknown – whether or not the teens were getting back at another person for a transgression or if the teens simply wanted to gain possession of the stolen items. Regardless, revenge or the monetary value of the stolen items in the robbery are of little worth compared to the possibility of lengthy prison terms and fines up to $10,000 if the teens are tried as adults. For more information on felony charges for teens and how the legal system works regarding juvenile crime, contact a criminal defense attorney who handles cases involving teens or adults.

Sleep Deprived Teens Could Face Reckless Driving Charges

It is common for many teens to become sleep deprived between school, extracurricular activities, employment, and trying to fit friends and entertainment in as well. Unfortunately, burning the candle at both ends could result in tired teens driving dangerously and facing reckless driving charges because of it.

Drowsy driving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that “…being sleepy affects your ability to drive safely even if you don’t fall asleep. Drowsiness –
• Makes drivers less able to pay attention to the road.
• Slows reaction time if you have to brake or steer suddenly.
• Affects a driver’s ability to make good decisions.”
According to the New York Department of Health, “Teens and young adults are at a high risk for drowsy driving because they have less driving experience and may not recognize the consequences of driving while tired.”

Consequences of driving tired

Teens who drive when they are sleep deprived could literally be putting other people in danger, much like driving intoxicated. The NYDH states that “driving while tired is comparable to driving with a blood alcohol content of .08, the legal limit of intoxication.” With that in mind, could driving drowsy be considered reckless driving? According to Utah Code 51-6a-528, “A person is guilty of reckless driving who operates a vehicle: (a) in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property”. Getting behind the wheel tired is a choice – a choice that could be disregarding the safety of others on the road. Teens should understand that just because they can somehow roll out of bed and mildly function after a short night of sleep doesn’t mean they should. For more information on charges related to drowsy driving, speak with a reputable attorney.

Car Hopping in Utah

Utah teens have several slang phrases that parents are not privy to and these seemingly innocent terms could really be illegal activity such as car hopping.

Teen slang for illegal activities

Photo by: Eryne!

Teens often create slang terms to sound cool amongst their peers and other times the reason for their code talk it is to keep adults in the dark as to what they are talking about. Just as parents should know “Molly” and “dabbing” aren’t reference to a friend or a famous dance move, the phrase “car hopping” does not mean their son or daughter is switching around which friend they are driving with. Ask any teen what car hopping is and they will likely know what it refers to even if they haven’t been involved in the activity themselves.

Car hopping

Photo by: Hey Paul

In the adult world car hopping translates to breaking into cars and stealing anything valuable. Car hopping can be done in broad daylight in the parking lot of a school or the mall, but typically it occurs in residential areas during the early morning hours when the owners of the cars and all of their neighbors are asleep. Car hopping usually doesn’t involve picking locks or breaking windows; all that is needed is a car owner feeling too comfortable with their surroundings and failing to lock their vehicle. The thief then opens the door, rummages for anything of value such as cash (and change), electronics, stereo equipment, purses, wallets, meds, and even personal documents that can be sold or used for identity theft.

Criminal charges

Photo: PixGood

Breaking into cars is not only done by people with “zero chill”, but it can also result in serious criminal charges such as vehicle burglary and theft as well as curfew violations if done between the hours of midnight and 5am (curfew limits vary by city). Parents should encourage teens to respect their curfew and the property of those around them. If a teen finds themselves with others who plan on car hopping, teens are encouraged to say “bye Felecia” and bail.