Teen Texting While Behind the Wheel

Although Utah is not yet included, several states in the U.S. have placed legal restrictions on not just teen texting but also any use of a cell phone by a teenager while driving.

Last year in Connecticut, a 16-year-old girl was driving and possibly texting when she fatally struck a jogger. At the time of the incident, Connecticut had banned the use of cell phones by drivers under the age of 18. The teen was charged with several crimes, including: negligent homicide, using a handheld telephone while under age and driving in the wrong lane.

Prohibited Cell Phone Uses While Driving

So far, Utah hasn’t banned driver-use of cell phones completely, although teen texting (as well as texting by adults) while operating a car is prohibited. The only time a driver may use a cell phone is to:

• Make or receive a phone call
• Use global positioning or navigation services
• Get help in a medical emergency situation
• To report or request help for a safety hazard
• To report criminal activity
• Provide roadside or medical assistance

Tell your driving-age child that texting is against the law and be a good example by not indulging in a bit of texting-while-driving yourself. Nevertheless, we know that a lot of kids will ignore this good advice and do what they want; after all—nothing bad will happen because of a little teen texting, right?

Talk to a Utah Juvenile Defense Attorney

We’re here to help if your child has been arrested for teen texting. Kids make mistakes and deserve to be helped during times of crisis. Instead of trying to handle the Utah juvenile justice system on your own, talk to a respected Utah juvenile defense attorney who can advise your child and take care of his case, both in and outside the courtroom.

Utah Teens Who “Sext”

Texting is a common, usually daily, occurrence for many Utah teen. Texting too much may get a teen into trouble with their parents over the cell phone bill, but excessive texting isn’t against the law. The last few years has seen the advent of a new type of communication called “sexting.” Sexting is sending sexually explicit photos or messages electronically, usually from one cell phone to another.

Photo: Jeramey Jannene

Sexting in Utah is a misdemeanor. The penalties for misdemeanors range from up to 90 days in jail for a class C misdemeanor; up to 6 months in jail for a class B misdemeanor and up to 1 year in jail for a class A misdemeanor. Before you sext anyone, you may want to ask yourself if sexting is worth any amount of time spent in jail or detention. Not only can sexting give you a criminal record, it can also damage your personal pride.

If you are tempted to sext, avoid it at all costs. If someone wants to see you naked, don’t comply. You never know where pictures sent through cell phones or over the internet will end up. You may think you’re in a loving, lifelong relationship with a person, only to find that relationship over next week and any pictures you’ve sent them spread abroad for all to behold. Don’t get charged with a crime because you’re trying to impress or attract someone. The consequences aren’t worth it. Protect yourself and keep your clothes on. If you’re already in trouble with the law for sexting or any other crime, hire a Utah juvenile defense attorney without delay. Don’t get in any deeper than you already are.