Salt Lake City Kids Trespassing at School Charged After Being Turned in by Parents

Several Salt Lake City kids trespassing at a school were charged with burglary and fleeing police after being turned in by their parents.

Missing school already

Photo by: haven’t the slightest

A passerby of Edison Elementary School in Salt Lake City alerted police when they observed several kids climbing a ladder to access the roof of the school just before midnight. Police responded and were able to apprehend most of the kids while a few ran off. Soon after the kids who ran came back accompanied by their parents. Authorities discovered the teens had broken a skylight on the roof to access the interior of the building and once inside, had stolen electronic items.The kids who were trespassing at the school after hours and during the off season were charged with burglary. The ones who ran and were caught by the police or their parents were charged with fleeing police.

Trespassing vs burglary

Although the kids had committed trespassing at the school, they were charged instead with burglary.

  • Trespassing – Utah Code 76-2-206 states “A person is guilty of criminal trespass if, under circumstances not amounting to burglary . . . the person enters or remains unlawfully on . . . property and intends to cause annoyance or injury to any person or damage to any property, including the use of graffiti .. . [or] intends to commit any crime, other than theft or a felony”. Since the kids did commit a theft, the trespassing charges are enhanced to burglary.
  • Burglary– According to Utah Code 76-6-202,”An actor is guilty of burglary who enters or remains unlawfully in a building or any portion of a building with intent to commit [a crime such as] a felony [or] a theft”.

Trespassing on building other than a dwelling is a class B misdemeanor. If someone trespasses and steals something, that is burglary and is punished as a third degree felony.

Tough lesson

The teens were booked into a juvenile detention center where they await the repercussions of their actions.It is not known if the kids arrested for burglary had a previous criminal history or if this was just a poor decision made from summer boredom mixed with too much freedom and peer pressure. Regardless, they would greatly benefit from being represented by an experienced juvenile defense attorney.

Colorado Teen Spend Weeks in Utah Jail for Second Degree Theft of a Vehicle

Two teens from Colorado have been charged in Utah with second degree theft of a vehicle and one teen has been unable to return home for over six weeks.

Utah traffic stop

19 year old Darrell Mitchell of Denver, Colorado and 19 year old Chanel Wideman of the neighboring suburb of Aurora, Colorado were both detained following a traffic stop south of St. George, Utah in early April. The duo were driving over twenty miles above the speed limit prompting a Utah Highway Patrol officer to initiate the stop. Once stopped, the UHP officer discovered the vehicle had been reported stolen from the Denver International Airport. A search was made on the vehicle where a stolen firearm, marijuana, and a large quantity of prescription medication was located in the vehicle as well. Mitchell and Wideman were both detained for multiple felonies including second degree felony theft of a vehicle.

Theft of a Vehicle and other felonies

During questioning, both Mitchell and Wideman claimed personal ownership of the vehicle, firearm, and drugs. Consequently, both were charged. The teens both face multiple felony and misdemeanor charges for the theft of the vehicle, drugs, and the firearm. Theft of vehicle is defined by Utah Code 76-6-412 as a second degree felony, punishable by one to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. The firearm by a restricted person charge is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine as high as $5,000. The drugs with intent is also a third degree felony, with an additional fine and possible prison term added.

Jailed away from home

Both of the teens broke the law and were fittingly arrested. Unfortunately however, Wideman was not financially able to pay the bail and afford the multiple trips back to Utah so she has been sitting in a Utah jail over 600 miles away from her home, family, friends, and job. Wideman would have gone home and returned for her various hearings, yet Utah courts considers her a flight risk as she resides in another state. For this reason her bail has not been reduced like it was for Mitchell, and she remains in Utah. Teens who are barely adults and are free to travel nationwide without their parents should be aware of the laws in which they visit and all the various repercussions should they be placed in jail away from home.

Attempted Homicide Charges For 19 Year old Utah Teen Who Hit Child on Scooter

A 19 year old Utah teen has been arrested for attempted homicide charges after he hit intentionally hit a child on a scooter.

Auto-pedestrian accident

19 year old Steven Becky of Draper, Utah was driving erratically down the wrong side of the road when he saw an 11 year old girl walking her scooter. Becky then veered his vehicle from the left lane all the way to the right, striking the girl walking. Following the auto pedestrian accident, Becky was clearly under the influence of drugs and behaved in an aggressive manner to those on scene. When authorities questioned him, he waived his Miranda rights and admitted to hitting the girl intentionally.

Attempted homicide

Becky was booked into the Utah County Jail on multiple charges including second degree attempted homicide. Utah Code 76-4-101 states “a person is guilty of an attempt to commit a crime if he . . .

(a) engages in conduct constituting a substantial step toward commission of the crime; and
(b) intends to commit the crime; or
(c) when causing a particular result is an element of the crime, he acts with an awareness that his conduct is reasonably certain to cause that result.”

Section 76-4-102 adds “Criminal attempt to commit [homicide] . . is a first degree felony punishable by imprisonment for . . . not fewer than three years and which may be for life”.

Under the influence of drugs not a defense

Police determined that Becky was under the influence of multiple drugs including some hallucinogenics. Utah Code 76-2-305 states “A person who asserts a defense of insanity or diminished mental capacity, and who is under the influence of voluntarily consumed, injected, or ingested alcohol, controlled substances, or volatile substances at the time of the alleged offense is not excused from criminal responsibility on the basis of mental illness if the alcohol or substance caused, triggered, or substantially contributed to the mental illness.” While Becky may have not had control over his actions or intentions while under the influence, he made the choice to take drugs and therefore cannot use that as a defense. Anyone facing charges for criminal activity while intoxicated or high on drugs should consult with legal counsel regarding their options.

Utah Teens Who Stole Pride Flags May Face Hate Crime Charges Under New Law

Three teens who went around a South Jordan, Utah neighborhood stealing pride flags may face hate crime charges under a new law put into effect recently.

Stolen flags

Photo by: Elliott Brown

Several residents in South Jordan, Utah were the victims of theft when their pride flags were taken from their yards during Pride week. One resident caught the perpetrators on camera which led police to another home nearby. Inside officers discovered three teen boys who were identified from the resident’s video. Officer’s also located the stolen flags.

Theft

Charges are pending for the teens responsible but is it likely the teens will be charged with theft. According to Utah Code 76-6-412, criminal charges for theft of services or property can range from a class B misdemeanor to a second degree felony depending on the monetary value of the item and other variables such as previous convictions. The pride flags stolen by the teens may be of great personal value to the owners and others around that look to them as a symbol of hope and love to the LGBT community, but their monetary value isn’t high enough to warrant any felony charges.

Hate crime

While the teens shouldn’t face felony charges for theft of the flags, they could face additional misdemeanor charges if their actions are considered a hate crime. The teens were not going around the neighborhood, terrorizing random individual’s yards. They were collecting pride flags, which could be seen as a specific target. SB 103 regarding victim targeting penalty enhancement that was signed into law early April “ enacts provisions relating to sentencing for a criminal offense committed against a victim who is selected because of certain personal attributes.” If their crime could be seen as a hate crime as defined in SB 103, the boys could see enhancements to their charges. For instance, a class B misdemeanor would them become a class A misdemeanor; a class A misdemeanor would become a third degree felony; and so on.

Intent or ignorant choice

Authorities have not determined whether or not the boys intended to target the LGBT community or if they were just making ignorant choices by taking all the rainbow flags they could find. An experienced juvenile defense attorney can help ensure any youth facing charges in portrayed honestly and fairly in a court of law.

Utah Juvenile Case Goes Public

A Utah juvenile who was charged with choking an elderly woman while she played the organ at church will now have his case be viewed to the public.

The crime

A 71 year old woman was playing the organ at church late one night in November when someone came up behind her, choking her to the point of unconsciousness. Five months later, DNA evidence left at the scene by the suspect was linked to family members through a DNA database. With the linked DNA, investigators were able to track down a 17 year old boy and charge him with multiple felonies, including aggravated assault.

Juvenile cases and the public

When a juvenile commits a crime, the public may hear about the crime through news outlets when the story is deemed “newsworthy” or when reporters are grasping for any story during a dull week. Usually this information only contains the age of the juvenile and the details of the crime committed. Once the case goes to court, those proceedings are typically closed to protect unless the teen is charges as an adult. This protects the juvenile from public scorn and retaliation while increasing the teen’s chances at rehabilitation and turning instead to a crime free life.

Juvenile case goes public

The judge over the 17 year old boy’s aggravated assault case has decided to let the case go public. What this means:

  • News reporters will be allowed to view and document the public hearing; and
  • Witness testimonies will become public knowledge;

Since it is still in juvenile courts:

  • The teen’s name will still be withheld in an attempt to protect the court proceedings; and
  • No pictures will be taken of the juvenile defendant.

Pros and cons

When a juvenile case goes public, there is always the worry that the public proceedings will have a detrimental effect on the youth. On the contrary, having the case publicized could stop false accusations from surfacing from a public who are drawing their own conclusions while in the dark. Teens facing charges should consult with their attorney about the pros and cons of having a case go public, while knowing their legal counsel will do everything in their power to protect the teens still growing reputation and future.