Hurricane Teen Arrested for Graffiti in Multiple Locations

Hurricane Teen Arrested for Graffiti
Photo: GraffitiStencil

On March 19, a Hurricane juvenile was arrested for the graffiti vandalism of 14 different locations around town. At this point, investigators are unsure if the specific tag used by the teen is gang related.

Leave No Stone Unturned… or Untagged

According to a report from KSL News, on Wednesday, March 11, the walls of 14 different locations—including residences, businesses, a school, church, park and city bridge—were vandalized with black spray paint. A little over a week later, a 15-year-old male was arrested in connection with the graffiti vandalism; however, the Hurricane City Police Department says an investigation is still ongoing.

One aspect of the investigation is looking into the specific graffiti tag the teenager used, “CTG.” According to a statement from Hurricane Police, “Officers have found that the letters stand for ‘Crown to Gods,’ but are still working to determine … if this is just juveniles making this up or trying to start a gang.”

Along these lines, the Hurricane City Police Department has asked anyone with more information on the tag to contact them at (435) 635-9663.

Graffiti Vandalism ranges from Misdemeanor to Felony

According to Utah Criminal Code 76-6-107, Offenses Against Property, graffiti is defined as “any form of unauthorized printing, writing, spraying, scratching, affixing, etching, or inscribing on the property of another regardless of the content or the nature of the material used in the commission of the act.”

Graffiti ranges from a class B misdemeanor if the damages caused are less than $300 (including removal costs, repair costs, or replacement costs, whichever is less) up to a second degree felony if the damages exceed $5,000. In the case of the Hurricane juvenile, the damages were estimated at $2,000, which would constitute a third degree felony if committed by an adult, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. In addition, the court will impose restitution in the amount of removal, repair or replacement costs, with an additional $1,000 for graffiti on areas such as overpasses where traffic will be affected by the removal or repair.

Those numbers start adding up to a lot of money that could be spent on art supplies to be used in a more constructive fashion. If your child has been charged with graffiti vandalism, contact an experienced juvenile defense attorney who will look out for their best interest.

Juvenile Attempts to Flee in Stolen Vehicle, Injures Officer in Process

juvenile attempts to flee in stolen vehicle
Photo: Scott Davidson/Wikimedia Commons

On Wednesday, March 11, Salt Lake Police responded to a traffic accident where a juvenile on the scene attempted to flee in what turned out to be a stolen vehicle. Police say it is still unclear how the vehicle became damaged.

The Joy Ride Runs out of Gas

According to a report from KSL News, at approximately 12:54 a.m. on Wednesday, March 11, Salt Lake Police responded to reports of an accident near 1953 W. California Ave. When the officer arrived, he found several men pushing a car with front end damage to some gas pumps.

The officer detained two people while he attempted to figure out what had happened. According to Salt Lake Police Det. Cody Lougy, one of the suspects fought with the officer.

“This individual actually stood up, ran toward the car, got into the stolen vehicle and attempted to flee in the stolen vehicle.”

The officer had to pull the individual out of the vehicle, during which he received several lacerations. Upon arrest, investigators determined that the individual was actually a juvenile who had given the police officer a fake ID card.

The vehicle was stolen from Brigham City, and the juvenile admitted to knowing it was a stolen vehicle. The juvenile was arrested on suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle, fleeing, and resisting arrest.

Possession of a Stolen Vehicle is a Felony

According to Utah Criminal Code 76-6-412, knowingly possessing a stolen vehicle is considered theft and is a second degree felony if the vehicle was operable at the time of the theft. When committed by an adult, a second degree felony is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and fine of up to $10,000.

In certain cases, juveniles can be charged in adult court even if they are under the age of 18. One of these instances is when a crime committed by a juvenile would be considered a felony if committed by an adult. This is a serious crime for a kid who was just planning on taking a little joy ride.

If your child has been charged with being in possession of a stolen vehicle, make sure you contact an experienced and sympathetic juvenile defense attorney who will look out for their best interests.

Assault Conviction Added to Teen Already Convicted in Adult Court

assault charges for teen already convicted in adult court
Photo: PixGood

The unusual conviction of Aza Ray Vidinhar, the 16-year-old West Point boy who stabbed his two younger brothers to death in May of 2013, just got a little more complicated with an additional assault by prisoner conviction. While Vidinhar was previously being held in the Mill Creek Detention facility in Ogden, since the assault, he was moved to the Weber County Jail.

A Strange Case from the Beginning

According to KSL News, in 2014, Vidinhar took a plea deal in the murder case of his brothers that was believed to be the first of its kind in the state of Utah. Vidinhar pleaded guilty to the two counts of murder; however, one count was in juvenile court and the other count was in adult court. Providing Vidinhar successfully followed his treatment and didn’t cause any problems, he would have stayed in juvenile detention until he turned 21, at which point he would be transferred to the adult prison system to serve his remaining 15 years to life.

Vidinhar’s attorneys had stated that once that happened, they were planning to ask for an early review hearing from the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. However, on Nov. 1, Vidinhar added more problems to his situation with an assault by prisoner charge after he attacked a fellow inmate with a broom. On Tuesday, Feb. 24, Vidinhar pleaded guilty to the assault charge. While his sentencing won’t happen until March 23, prosecutors are recommending that the sentence run concurrent with the sentences for the murder conviction.

Assault Charges Vary Depending on Circumstance

According to Utah Criminal Code 76-5 Part 1, there are several forms of assault, ranging from propelling a bodily substance to assault against school employees to Vidinhar’s charge of assault by prisoner.

According to 76-5-102, regular assault is defined as “an attempt, with unlawful force or violence, to do bodily injury to another.” This includes a threat to do bodily injury accompanied by a show of immediate force or violence. Assault is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 if committed by an adult. However, if “substantial bodily injury” is caused, or if the victim is pregnant, it becomes a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. If a dangerous weapon is displayed or used, the charge jumps to aggravated assault, a felony charge that can land a juvenile in adult court.

If you child has been charged with any form of assault, contact an experienced and sympathetic juvenile defense attorney who will look out for your child’s best interests.

Making Terroristic Threat Charges Possible for Juvenile Bomb Note

making terroristic threats possible for juvenile
Photo: tlparadis

On Wednesday, Feb. 25, Weber County Sheriff’s deputies evacuated more than 900 students from a charter school in West Haven after a student discovered a note with a possible terroristic threat. No threats were found at the school, and the student who allegedly wrote the note was taken into custody.

Maybe Try a “Keep Out” Sign Next Time

According a report in KSL News, school administrators contacted the Weber County Sheriff’s office on Wednesday afternoon after receiving a note that a student at Quest Academy found in the halls. The note stated that a bomb had been placed in a specified locker and was set to detonate.

More than 900 students were evacuated from the school to an LDS meetinghouse near the school while bomb technicians came in and checked the locker. After finding nothing suspicious, the technicians proceeded to sweep the entire school with bomb-sniffing dogs. Weber County Sheriff’s Lt. Lane Findlay said they take potential terroristic threats such as this one very seriously.

“Even thought most of them pan out to be a hoax or a prank, we have to be very diligent in making sure that we’ve investigated and that safety is a priority,” Findlay said.

A 12-year-old student was identified as being the one who wrote the note. The first clue was most likely the fact that the specified locker belonged to the boy in question. The boy claimed to police that he didn’t intend the note to be a terroristic threat, but rather a joke to people who might visit his locker.

Findlay said he didn’t believe that the boy intended to carry out any type of violent action, but he also stressed the importance of not joking about such things.

“[I]t’s certainly taxing on everyone as far as the manpower issues and making sure the evacuation is done safely,” he said.

Making a Terroristic Threat a Felony for Adults

According to Utah Criminal Code 76-5-107.3, in this case, a person would be guilty of making a terroristic threat if the person “threatens to commit any offense involving bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage, and threatens the use of a weapon of mass destruction… or threatens the use of a hoax weapon of mass destruction.”

The code goes on to state: “It is not a defense under this section that the person did not attempt to carry out or was incapable of carrying out the threat.” When committed by an adult, making a terroristic threat is a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, in addition to reimbursement to “any federal, state, or local unit of government, or any private business, organization, individual, or entity for all expenses and losses incurred in responding to the violation, unless the court states on the record the reasons why the reimbursement would be inappropriate.”

Obviously a 12-year-old isn’t going to be charged with a felony and put in prison, but it is still a very serious charge for a juvenile. If your child has been charged with making a terroristic threat—or any other charges—be sure to contact an experienced and sympathetic juvenile defense attorney who knows that sometimes boys will be boys and who will look out for the best interests of your child.

Teens in Custody After Aggravated Robbery Twice at Same Location

teens aggravated robbery of smoke shop
Photo: Pd Demeter/Wikimedia Commons

In what was originally believed to be the actions of adults, the aggravated robbery of the same location twice within two weeks has resulted in police taking three teens into custody. Two of the teens were booked into a juvenile detention facility, and prosecutors are seeking robbery charges in juvenile court for the third.

The Smoking BB Gun

According to a report from KSL News, the first incident at Smoke Shop 101 occurred on Tuesday, Jan. 27. West Jordan Police Sgt. Dan Roberts was quoted as saying that the perpetrators displayed and threatened the shop employee with what appeared to be a gun, potentially making it aggravated robbery.

The second incident occurred less than two weeks later on Saturday, Feb. 7. Police were concerned at this point that they were dealing with adults involved in a larger aggravated robbery spree. However, after an anonymous tip from a “concerned citizen,” three teenage boys—ages 13, 14, and 16 years old—were taken into custody.

The youngest and oldest of the three boys were booked into a juvenile detention facility. Sgt. Roberts said that prosecutors were seeking robbery charges against the 14-year-old in juvenile court. However, the article didn’t state if they were seeking specifically aggravated robbery charges. The “gun” was ultimately discovered to be a BB gun.

Both Robbery and Aggravated Robbery are Felonies

According to the Utah Criminal Code, both robbery and aggravated robbery are considered felonies when committed by an adult. Robbery is a second degree felony. However, aggravated robbery is a first degree felony, punishable by five years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Again, if committed by an adult.

According to the specific Utah Criminal Code 76-6-302, aggravated robbery has occurred if a person “uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon as defined in Section 76-1-601,” which includes “a facsimile or representation of the item.” It remains to be seen whether a BB gun falls into this category, even though the article on KSL speculated to this extent.

Felony charges are very serious when it comes to juveniles. Under certain circumstances, a juvenile can be tried for a felony in adult court. If your child has been charged with aggravated robbery or any other charge, be sure to contact an experienced juvenile defense attorney who will work on your child’s behalf.