Expungement of Juvenile Records in Utah

The past can’t be changed, however it need not be revealed with expungement of juvenile records in Utah. Juvenile court records can be sealed, without ever having to be mentioned again. The crime is not cleared, but repercussions do not need to follow the youth into adulthood.

Juvenile crimes

Photo by: Flazingo Photos

There it is – that “yes/no” box on college applications and job applications following the question: “Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor?” or “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” Older teens and young adults trying to get a job or get into college may wonder when the mistake they made when they were younger will ever be resolved. For anyone still marking “yes” for a crime that happened when they were a juvenile, there is a way to change the “yes” to a “no”.

Expungement of records

Expunging is the same as sealing the record. The court clerk places the records in an envelope, seals it, and writes “do not open unless ordered by a court”. Only the person that committed the crime can have the court order the envelope to be opened. The court looks on the expunged juvenile record as never having occurred.

Requirements for expungement

According to Utah Courts, In order for records to be expunged, the courts must be petitioned. The petitioner must be at least 18 years old, and fulfilled their sentence at least one year prior. The petitioner must not have been charged as an adult nor involved in any moral turpitude. All restitution must have been made. In addition the petitioner has to exhibit rehabilitation. If the expungement is ordered by the court, it is the petitioner’s duty to file with all pertinent agencies.

Time to move on with life

After having the records expunged, that pesky “yes/no” box asking if an older teen has committed a crime will no longer hold them back unless they commit another crime. A good defense lawyer can help open the doors to a different life for a teen with criminal regrets – One where the “yes/no” box can be marked no and the childhood mistake need not be a detriment any longer.

Felony Distribution and Negligent Homicide Charges for Utah Teen Who Arranged Fatal Drug Deal

A teen has been charged with felony distribution as well as negligent homicide after arranging a drug deal that led to the overdose of a southern Utah woman.

Heroin overdose

Photo by: Tony Webster

A southern Utah woman was found dead of a heroin overdose and police were able to track down the individual who helped her obtain the drugs that led to her death. 19 year old Gadge Christensen admitted to police that he helped obtain the drugs for the woman and was aware of her death. He then self-confessed that prior to helping the woman obtain the heroin, he knew it was dangerous- a fact that anyone with common sense would know. He was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility on negligent homicide and felony distribution charges.

Negligent Homicide

The heroin that Christensen helped obtain for the woman has not been reported as being laced with anything that would increase the chances of an overdose, but any heroin use carries an overdose risk. Since Christensen knew that basic drug fact prior to the user’s death, he is also facing charges of negligent homicide. Negligent homicide is defined by Utah Code 76-5-206 as when “. . . the actor, acting with criminal negligence, causes the death of another. Negligent homicide is a class A misdemeanor.

Felony distribution

Photo by: Find Rehab Center

Utah Code 58-37-8 states regarding felony distribution of heroin that “ . . . it is unlawful for any person to knowingly and intentionally . . . distribute a controlled or counterfeit substance, or to agree, consent, offer, or arrange to distribute a controlled or counterfeit substance”. Setting up a heroin deal can result in “. . . a second degree felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years”.

 

Exercising Miranda Rights

With the information that is provided so far, Christensen doesn’t appear to be a regular time heroin dealer. He very well could have been a middle man who was fulfilling a request of a user. However since Christensen openly admitted to law enforcement that he had played a part in finding and distributing the heroin to the now deceased woman, he is now facing serious charges with the potential to land him behind bars for several years. Many older teens and young adults do not fully understand their rights when being faced with an arrest. They may not listen closely to all the protections that their Miranda Rights offer, and instead choose to be openly affable. This mindset could result in them portraying themselves out to have more of a criminal intent that they actually did. Anyone who has been read the Miranda Warning is highly encouraged to be honest with law enforcement, but to also exercise their “right to an attorney” prior to speaking to police to ensure they do not admit to crimes in the spirit of being agreeable.

Racial Tension Involving Teenagers Ends in Death Threats

Last week a picture portraying racial tension surfaced from an incident at the Lincoln Memorial and the teenagers involved have now been the recipients of death threats.

Racial Tension

Photo by: jar [o]
You’ve seen it – the young white teenage male with a little smile on his face, wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. He is looking at an angry looking Native American carrying a drum. The old adage says “a picture cannot lie”, however a picture does not always present the whole truth. This picture went viral on social media; it popped up on many people’s home page and created public outrage, which resulted in death threats.

Many sides to the story

The picture appears to involve a group of white teenagers and a group of Native Americans. This would lead people to believe that there are only two groups involved, however there are three sides to this story and all three sides have some similarities and some discrepancies. All agree that the event took place outside the Lincoln Memorial on Friday, January 18th. All three agree that there were three separate demonstrations going on a march for the Indigenous Peoples, a March for Life, and a group preaching the bible and their beliefs. All three agree that there were hostile words spoken and raised voices. The rest is up for interpretation.

Hebrew Israelites’ Side

The Hebrew Israelites were at the National Mall to “preach the truth of the Bible”, to teach their belief that African ’Americans are God’s chosen people. One member of the Hebrew Israelite said while they were trying to teach the Native Americans of the meaning of the word savages, the teenagers were mocking them and shouting racist slurs. The Hebrew Israelites believe the students were at fault for the incident.

The Native American Side

The spokesman for the Native Americans said that throughout the day the teenagers had been walking around making derogatory comments about the Blacks and about the Native Americans. Then there was a shouting match with heated words between the students and the Hebrew Israelites. The Native Americans began playing a prayer chant on the drums and walking between the two groups to try to calm both groups down. They accused the teenagers of making fun of the Native American heritage by making chopping motions with their hands. The Native Americans were walking between the students towards a meeting place at the front of the mall, but one teenager stood with a smirk on his face. The Native American believed this was illustrative of the years of built-up aggression against the Natives by whites. The Native Americans believe the Hebrew Israelites and the students were at fault for the incident.

The Teenager’s Side

The teenage in the photo was with a group of Catholic students in Kentucky protesting against abortion. The Hebrew Israelites had been shouting hateful comments to the students and the Native Americans throughout the day. When the Hebrew Israelites were calling the Native Americans savages, the group decided to chant cheers from sporting events to try and drown out the hateful words. One young black student responded to the insults by taking off his shirt and jumping along with the chants. When the Native Americans began to walk through the students, the teenagers were confused about what was going on so the pictured teen stood still with a small smile on his face, hoping to appear non-confrontational. Since the incident, the teens have started receiving death threats for their part in the situation.

Conclusion

The true story often lies somewhere in between each side’s story. Reality is often based on a each person’s past and beliefs. Interviews with bystanders are very different to each other and to the three groups. What may be dancing to one person would appear to be mocking to another. What may be a non-confrontational pose to one person may be an insult and an invitation to fight to another. When these incidents arise no one, including the youth, are exempt from the rising tensions. If you or your teen are facing legal action for violent or threatening behavior that could have risen based on a racially or otherwise tense situation, contact a defense attorney.

Utah Teen Charged with Attempted Murder Following Family Argument

A Utah teen has been charged with attempted murder following a heated family argument.

Family dispute

Photo by: SaminatorH

18 year old Tristan Olsen and his father both of Vernal Utah were engaged in a verbal argument when things quickly intensified. It is not known at this time whether or not the two began physically assaulting each other first, but what ended the argument was when the younger Olsen attacked his father with a knife, stabbing him multiple times. After the father and son went outside to smoke together, they told the mother who called for an ambulance. The father was taken to the hospital where he is in stable condition and Tristan Olsen was booked into the Uintah County Jail for attempted homicide.

Attempted murder

According to Utah Code 76-4-101, “. . . a person is guilty of an attempt to commit a crime [such as murder] if he:
(a) Engages in conduct constituting a substantial step toward commission of the crime; and
(b)
(i) intends to commit the crime; or
(ii) 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.”
That section also goes on to note that “. . . conduct constitutes a substantial step if it strongly corroborates the actor’s mental state [as acting with awareness of the potential result of the conduct].”

Attempted murder or something else

According to young Olsen, his father was the first to reach for the knife used in the attack. If this information proves correct, Olsen could have been acting in self-defense which is not punishable if “. . . the person reasonably believes that force or a threat of force is necessary to defend the person . . . against another person’s imminent use of unlawful force.” If any witnesses or the victim do not collaborate with that story, Olsen could still see a lessened charge since his actions were done during a heated argument when emotions were heightened. Like most teens who lash out at their parents, it is likely that Olsen didn’t intend to do his father harm. An experienced attorney can ensure Olsen receives the mental health services he needs while making sure he is represented fairly in court.

Reckless Driving Charges Possible for Utah Teen Who Crashed Vehicle While Blindfolded

A Utah teen who took a new challenge to dangerous levels could face charges of reckless driving after she crashed her vehicle while blindfolded.

New thriller

Photo by: Ginny

Netflix recently released a new thriller titled Bird Box which was viewed over 45 million times within a week of its release date. In the horror/thriller film “Bird Box”, the main character and her two children must navigate through a forest and down a river. The clincher however is they must remain blindfolded or they will die from their own suicide attempts. The movie uses monsters that prey on sight, leaving blindfolds to be the only saving grace of the characters.

The Challenge

While the film itself has received high ratings from viewers and critics alike, one of the fads that has followed is being openly opposed by law enforcement and Netflix. Following the millions of movie views, several people have taken it upon themselves to do what is known as the “Bird Box Challenge”. This challenge involves a person blindfolding themselves and then trying to navigate or perform tasks without the ability to see. Although some may do the challenge in a controlled environment such as navigating safely across their bedroom, others are taking the challenge too far, putting themselves and others in danger.

Bird Box vs driving

Photo by: Keirsten Marie

One teen in Utah decided to take the challenge to the road. The 17 year old girl was driving down Layton Parkway with her 16 year old male friend pulled her beanie down over her eyes, and continued down the road. Not surprisingly, she eventually crossed into oncoming traffic and hit another vehicle before crashing into a light pole. Fortunately for her and the other driver, no injuries were reported. Now that law enforcement knows the reason behind the wreck, the teen will likely face charges which could include reckless driving.

Reckless Driving

Utah Code 41-6a-528 states “A person is guilty of reckless driving who operates a vehicle: In willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. . . “. Reckless driving is punishable as a class B misdemeanor. Anyone who wants to join a like fad or challenge is encouraged to think about the physical as well as criminal repercussions that could occur. Parents are encouraged to speak to their teens about dangerous challenges that are currently making the rounds to ensure their teen are using common sense before joining in with the crowd.