Utah Teens Arrested for Aggravated Robbery of Drug Dealer

Four Utah teens were arrested for aggravated robbery of a drug dealer after demanding the illegal goods at gunpoint.

Compounding crimes

One 17 year old and three 18 year old teens were arrested in Layton, Utah after authorities were alerted they group had used a weapon to rob a drug dealer. The boys met with another 18 year old who was going to sell them THC extract. When the meeting took place, the teenage boys instead physically assaulted the dealer, pointed a gun at him, and left with the unlawful product.

Aggravated robbery

The four teens were arrested and charged with aggravated robbery. Utah Code 76-6-302 states “A person commits aggravated robbery if in the course of committing robbery, he:

  1. Uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon . . . ;
  2. Causes serious bodily injury upon another; or
  3. Takes or attempts to take an operable motor vehicle.

Aggravated robbery is a first degree felony”, punishable with a hefty fine and five years to life in prison.

Possible distribution charges

It took several hours for the robbery to be reported by the drug dealing teen, likely due to him fearing for his own arrest. Although he eventually got up the courage to report the crime, he also put himself at risk of facing charges himself. Distribution of marijuana products is a third degree felony as stated by Utah Code 58-37-8. Third degree felonies are punishable by up to five years behind bars.

Adult decisions

Every teen including the 17 year old involved in this deal gone bad could be facing time in prison. Had the charges not been as severe, such as a misdemeanor or even a lower felony, the youngest teen involved would ensure his case staying in the juvenile court system. Since aggravated robbery is listed in the Serious Youth Offender section of the Utah Code, he could end up being charged as an adult. Teens and barely adults who are facing serious charges should consult with an attorney who has experience in both the juvenile system as well as the district court to better handle cases that may switch from one court to another.

Teens “Trip-Sitting” Friends under the Influence of Hallucinogens

Parents concerned their teens may be using hallucinogens such as LSD and mushrooms may be shocked to discover the safety of their teen while hallucinating may be up to their friends who are “trip-sitting”.

Trip-sitting

Photo by: Nan Palmaro

Trip-sitting is term used to describe when a sober friend hangs out with one or more other friends while they use illicit drugs that cause hallucinations. While it may appear to be a responsible move to have a sober friend present, most teens are not mature or experienced enough to handle many of the severe situations that can occur when someone is under the influence of hallucinogens. Additionally, many teens may not know who or when to call if an emergency arises.

Hallucinogens

In order to understand what could go wrong while “trip-sitting”, it might be good to understand how hallucinogens works and the adverse reactions that can occur. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Hallucinogens are a diverse group of drugs that alter perception (awareness of surrounding objects and conditions), thoughts, and feelings. They cause hallucinations, or sensations and images that seem real though they are not.” They go on to note that “some hallucinogens also cause users to feel out of control or disconnected from their body and environment.”

Side effects and adverse reactions

NIH also states that some of the common side effects of taking a hallucinogen besides visual disturbances include:

• “Increased heart rate
• Nausea
• Intensified feelings and sensory experiences
• Changes in sense of time”

Some people who hallucinate enjoy their experience while other can have what is referred to as a “bad trip”. When this happens, the user may become extremely uncomfortable with their intensified feelings or they may have hallucinations that are frightening. In instances like this, they may have severe reactions which according to NIH include:

• “Paranoia – extreme and unreasonable distrust of others [and]
• Psychosis – disordered thinking detached from reality”

The teen hallucinating may become violent towards other or themselves as well.

Teen ability to handle situations

While some teens can handle the intense situations that may occur with a bad trip, the majority may not be mature enough to safely handle a hallucinogenic panic attack from a friend. Teens are encouraged to refrain from hallucinogenic use and to tell a trusted adult immediately if they witness a friend displaying behavior that could put themselves or the public at risk.

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.