Juveniles May Face Adult Burglary Charges in Utah School Burglary

Potential Adult Burglary Charges
Photo: Michael Coghlan

Three juveniles were arrested last week and one is still being sought in connection with a burglary at Logan High School on August 14. In addition to burglary charges, the juveniles could also face charges of criminal mischief.

Smile for the Camera

According to a report from KSL, Logan Police Capt. Tyson Budge stated that the burglary at Logan High School occurred at approximately 12 a.m. on August 14. The main lobby of the building was open as a result of the school being under construction. Four teens entered the school and stole thousands of dollars of computer equipment. In addition, Budge reported that the teens also discharged fire extinguishers in the school, causing additional damage with could rank in the thousands of dollars as well, possibly resulting in criminal mischief charges.

Fortunately for law enforcement, while the school may have still been under construction, surveillance cameras were in operation at the time. Logan Police posted the surveillance videos to their Facebook page on August 15, and within a week, all of the juveniles had been identified by tips from community members and three of them had been taken into custody. The fourth individual has also been identified but is still being sought in connection with the crime.

Potential Adult Burglary Charges

There are several reasons a juvenile may be charged as an adult. In the case of these four teenagers (ranging in age from 15 to 17 years old), the factors that could contribute to this type of prosecution are the fact that they all have extensive criminal histories (one of the juveniles was actually already on probation) and the fact that they committed a crime which would be considered a felony if committed by an adult.

In this case, according to Utah Code 76-6-202, burglary occurred because the juveniles entered or remained unlawfully in a building with intent to commit a theft. If convicted, burglary is considered a third degree felony.

This case serves to underscore the importance of an experienced juvenile defense attorney. If your child is in trouble with the law and this isn’t their first time, don’t leave their fate in the hands of a public defender. Consult with a trusted, compassionate juvenile defense attorney who has your child’s best interest in mind.
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Utah Teen Driving Stolen Vehicle in Custody

Utah Teen Driving Stolen Vehicle
Photo: Dan Dawson

A Utah teen driving a stolen vehicle in Syracuse almost hit several children in Founders Park. Fortunately the joy ride was ended without incident or injuries.

Like Something out of an 80’s Movie

In the 1988 comedy, License to Drive, Corey Haim plays a teenager who fails his driving test, but in an effort to impress a girl, he “borrows” his grandfather’s Cadillac. Unfortunately, while the plot lines are similar, the hilarity that ensued in License to Drive did not replay in Syracuse on Saturday, May 31.

On the day in question, a 14-year-old boy from Sunset reportedly stole his grandfather’s car in Duchesne County. Investigators were notified at approximately 5:30 p.m. that the theft had occurred and that the boy was possibly heading to Syracuse in the stolen vehicle. Although no evidence was found to substantiate the claim, Syracuse police were also told that the boy might be armed.

Stolen Vehicle Almost Turns into Vehicular Homicide

After police attempted a traffic stop, the joy ride turned into a high speed chase. At one point, the teen drove the car through Founders Park, nearly hitting several children before continuing into a residential neighborhood. Following public safety procedure, Syracuse police were forced to end the chase.

However, within five minutes the stolen vehicle was spotted again by Davis County sheriff’s deputies and the chase resumed. As the teen started heading toward the park again, off-duty police officer Bryson Rowley, who had been listening to a police scanner app on his cellphone pulled his truck in front of the car to stop it.

No injuries were reported as a result of the incident, and the teen is currently in custody.

When Civil Proceedings Become Criminal

Juvenile cases are generally considered civil proceedings. There are exceptions to this, such as traffic violations and offenses which would be considered a felony if committed by an adult. In this situation, a stolen vehicle would be considered a second degree felony. It remains to be seen how this case will be treated.

If your child has been taken into custody for a similar charge or is being accused of any other crime, remember that it is in your best interest to contact an experienced juvenile defense attorney.

Utah Teen Considered Person of Interest in Southern Utah Homicide and How a Juvenile’s Case is Transferred to Adult Court

The teen is just 17-years-old, so is officially still a juvenile, although there are possible steps that prosecutors could take in attempting to have him declared an adult and requesting his case be moved to adult court if he ends up being arrested for the crime.

Steps to Take to Have Juvenile Certified as Adult in Utah

First, a prosecutor would file information alleging that a crime was committed which would have been a felony if committed by an adult. At that point, the juvenile court would conduct a preliminary hearing. At that hearing, the prosecution would have the burden of establishing that a crime was committed and that the defendant was responsible and that (with a preponderance of evidence) it would not be in the best interest of the minor or of the public for the juvenile court to handle the case.

There are several considerations that the juvenile court could base its decision on in such a matter, including:

* the seriousness of the offense and if the community would be better protected by the minor possibly serving a jail or prison sentence

* whether the alleged offense could subject the minor to enhanced penalties

* if the offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, premeditated or willful manner

* whether the offense was against person or property

* the maturity level of the minor, including considerations of his home, environment, emotional attitude and pattern of living

* the record and previous history of the minor

* the likelihood of rehabilitation of the minor by use of juvenile court-available facilities

* whether the minor used a firearm

* if the minor used possessed a firearm on or about school premises

As you can see, there are many issues that can be taken into account where there’s a request to transfer a juvenile’s case to adult court. It’s vital that a minor’s potential for being incarcerated in adult prison not be taken lightly. To that end, if you have a child who’s involved in any criminal matter, you should talk to a Utah juvenile defense attorney as soon as possible.

Help Your Child by Getting Him the Legal Help He Needs

You can’t assume that your child’s best interests will automatically be taken seriously. It’s imperative that he or she be represented by a top defense attorney who is experienced in helping kids. Make that important call today.

Utah Teens Leave Youth Center, Warrants Issued

Photo: Mustafa Khayat

Four Utah teens recently left a Draper youth center, which isn’t a secure facility, but is set aside as a place youth “inmates” aren’t allowed to leave without permission.

On the Run?

Two of the Utah teens were located in Orem, but the other two young men–a 15- and 16-year old, are still unaccounted for. Warrants have been issued for their arrests, since they’re not legally supposed to leave the youth facility on their own.

The youth center is a supervised facility for teens who’ve been ordered “incarcerated” for 60 to 90 days. This particular type of facility houses troubled youth who also are required to perform community service, in addition to other consequences assigned by a juvenile court judge.

Worries About Teens’ Abilities to Care for Themselves

News reports indicate that law enforcement are concerned for the two teens’ welfare and hope they don’t become dangerous. Of course, we don’t have any other information on these two young men, so discussing their potential danger to the community seems quite speculative at this point.

Troubled youth facilities can be beneficial for some Utah teens; quite a bit likely depends on the people who run the facility and the teens themselves.

Consult with a Utah Juvenile Defense Attorney

It’s important to make sure that any youth who finds himself in trouble with the law gets the best legal help possible, as quickly as possible. Having an experienced Utah juvenile defense attorney on your child’s side can make all the difference in the outcome of his or her case.

Help your child today by contacting a reputable Utah juvenile defense attorney today.

Emotions Fly Over Utah Teen’s Being Charged with Aggravated Murder in Sergeant’s Death

Photo: Paul Sullivan

A Utah teen is being charged with multiple crimes, aggravated murder in particular, for her alleged role in the shooting death of a Utah County Sheriff’s sergeant.

Driver of Car Charged with Aggravated Murder

Sergeant Cory Wride died recently after being allegedly shot by Jose Angel Garcia-Juaregui. His suspected teenage accomplice was Meagan Grunwald, who is just 17. Grunwald is being accused of driving the getaway vehicle for Garcia-Juaregui.

Under Utah law, aiding and abetting and being an accessory to a crime may make it possible for the alleged accessory to be charged with the same crime as the person (in this case) who actually shot the fatal bullet.

Utah Teen Not Eligible for Death Penalty

Prosecutors have noted that because of Grunwald’s age, she is not eligible for the death penalty, but they have charged her with aggravated murder in adult court–which would make her eligible for a life sentence without the possibility of parole if she’s found guilty.

What Do You Think?

Opinions are flying as to what is the best way to handle this young girl’s situation. Opponents of her being tried in adult court seem to feel that dealing with her that way is, in fact, overkill (no pun intended). After all, isn’t that why juveniles are usually dealt with in juvenile court, to attempt to rehabilitate them and assist them in becoming valuable members of society?

There’s no doubt that Grunwald drove the getaway vehicle, but there also doesn’t seem to be any doubt that she played no part in shooting the police officer. Is driving a car for a man 10 years her senior who had who knows what type of control over her enough to send her to prison for the rest of her life? You’ll find people on both sides of this particular issue.

One Tragedy Doesn’t Mean There Needs to be Another Tragedy

Our point in bringing up this case is: should one tragedy be compounded by another tragedy–sending a 17-year-girl to prison for a crime she didn’t actually commit? What justice is to be served under these circumstances?

All kids need and deserve legal help, regardless of the offenses or crimes they’ve been charged with. Talk to a Utah juvenile defense attorney today and get your kid’s case on the right track.