Teen Calls Police, Admits to Selling Marijuana

A teen called police to report about a drug deal gone bad, meanwhile admitting that she was selling marijuana.

Impulsive call leads to criminal charges

Photo by: Martin Cathrae

A teenager girl from Indiana was planning on selling marijuana to a couple other teens when they pulled a gun on her, took the merchandise, and stiffed her on a payment. Upset, the teen called police to report the theft. When officers arrived to take the young dealer’s statement, they observed more marijuana, multiple pieces of paraphernalia, along with scales and other items meant for preparing and selling marijuana.

Thieves caught, all teens arrested

Officers were able to find the marijuana thieves and those two boys along with the dealer and a couple other teens involved were all taken to a juvenile detention center. The two boys who stole from their dealer peer could face charges of possession as well as robbery. The teenage girl who alerted police to the illegal scene may face hefty charges of possession with intent to distribute.

Strict marijuana laws

Photo by: Chuck Grimmett

In the last several years, teens have been observing marijuana laws in neighboring states becoming more relaxed and the younger generation may assume all states are loosening their grip regarding marijuana. Unfortunately, there are still states that hold possession and especially distribution of marijuana as a serious offense. Similar to Utah, Indiana, where the teen was arrested, is another state whose marijuana laws remain incredibly stern.

Charges for selling marijuana

The Indiana teen arrested for selling marijuana could face a class A misdemeanor if under 30 grams or a class D felony if she had a larger quantity to sell. If charged as an adult, which is unlikely given there were no victims in this case, the teen could be facing a maximum of three years in prison. Charges for the same crime in Utah could result in up for five years in prison; up to 15 years for subsequent offenses.

Utah laws for teens

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Teens in Utah need to be reminded that although many states are lifting bans on medical marijuana and even marijuana for recreational use- that is not the case in Utah. Additionally, if/when Utah does get on board with decriminalizing marijuana, it will likely follow suit with other states and only be legal for adults over the age of 21 and only allow distribution from licensed businesses. Teens who are facing charges for possession or selling marijuana should seek legal guidance from a juvenile defense attorney.

Utah Teenager Pretends to Be a Woman Online – Obtains Nude Photos from Young Boys

A 19 year old Utah teenager was arrested after police discovered the teen was pretending to be an woman online in an attempt to obtain nude photos from young boys.

Not a filter

Photo by: David Burillo

Several young boys were reported to have sent nude photos of themselves via social media after being requested to do so by a very attractive woman named “Jessica Ford”. Unknown to the young juveniles, “Jessica Ford” was in fact a 19 year old teenage boy named James Robert Louis Wood who was using random pictures of a woman to gain the boys trust. Wood pretended to be “Jessica Ford” and sent pornographic photos of a woman to the boys, asking them to give pictures of themselves in return; which they did. Over the course of two months, Wood had obtained nude photos from at least eleven young boys. Wood then shared these pictures at school and even sent some to one of the victim’s siblings.

Sexual exploitation of a minor

Woods was charged with dealing harmful materials to a minor and for multiple counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Utah Code 76-5b-201 states “A person is guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor when the person:

(i) knowingly produces, possesses, or possesses with intent to distribute child pornography; or
(ii) intentionally distributes or views child pornography ( . . . )”.

“Each minor depicted in the child pornography [and] each time the same minor is depicted in different child pornography” it is considered a separate defense. Wood is facing twelve second degree felonies for sexual exploitation of a minor and ten third degree felonies for dealing harmful material to a minor.

Hefty charges for serious crimes

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So far nothing has been disclosed stating Wood’s intent with the pictures. He may have been posing as a woman and collecting nudes from the boys for his own sexual gratification or it may have been done as a prank; something he could show off at school or used to torment a sibling of one of the boys. Regardless, Wood’s is facing substantial fines and several years in prison and an even longer duration of time on the National Sex Offender Registry. Anyone facing charges related to child pornography is encouraged to seek a reputable criminal defense attorney before appearing in court.

Unlawful Body Piercing and Tattooing of a Minor

Teens have many ways of expressing themselves through the way the look, yet when it comes to body piercing and tattooing, it is unlawful for anyone to perform either on a minor without consent from a parent.

Body piercing

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Many teens in Utah have body piercings that do not include any piercings done on the ear. Body piercing can include: Nose, eyebrow, tongue, lip, belly button, nipples, and even genital piercing. While there are many parents that allow their minor children to explore with body piercings, many Utah teens obtain these piercings without permission from their parents.

Tattoos

Photo by: Rick Bergstrom

Unlike piercings which can be removed with the possibility of the piercing closing up, tattoos are forever. For this reason, most parents encourage their teens to wait until they are older to avoid to risk of having tattoo regrets. It is reported that almost 40% of teens have a tattoo before they reach the age of 18 years old. A large majority of those tattoos are also done without a parent’s permission or even knowledge.

Trouble for teens

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When a parent discovers that a teen has gone behind their back to get a body piercing or a tattoo, that minor can usually expect to get into trouble. Whether it is being grounded, losing a phone or car privileges, surprised and upset parents may punish their kids even though it cannot change a permanent decision.

Trouble for the artist

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If a parent is upset about their child getting a body piercing or tattoo, they may go after the person responsible for giving the new body art to their teen. This can result in civil fines and criminal charges for the piercing and tattoo artist. Utah Code 76-10-2201 states “A person is guilty of unlawful body piercing [and tattooing] of a minor if their person performs or offers to perform a body piercing [or tattoo]:

(a) upon a minor;
(b) without receiving the consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian; and
(c) for remuneration or in the course of a business or profession.”

Unlawful body piercing or tattooing of a minor is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,000. Rebellious teens that don’t want to get others in trouble should either wait until the age of 18 or speak with their parents about their desire for body art.

Misdemeanor Charges for Stealing Road Signs as Souvenirs

Many teens see road signs as souvenirs that can be fun to hang from their bedroom walls, however stealing these signs can result in misdemeanor charges.

Illegal décor

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It isn’t uncommon to see the rooms of teenagers and even college students embellished with signs taken from Utah roads. While some signs are more popular than others, it seems any road sign in a room can be considered a “cool” thing to have.

Road signs

According to the Utah Driver Handbook, there are hundreds of different signs on the roads. These can include:

• Stop signs;
• Yield signs;
• Railroad warnings;
• Warning signs;
• Regulatory signs; and
• Signs informing drivers they are in a school zone.

These signs are posted for driver safety and instruction and without them, the risk of accident due to driver error increases. These signs frequently go missing however, and often appear in the rooms of local teens. Other signs that may find themselves missing on Utah roadways include street signs that happen to match a person’s name or a mile marker bearing a favorite number or signifying another number of importance to the thief.

Section 420

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One of the most popular signs along Utah highways to go missing is mile marker 420. This number is celebrated among marijuana enthusiasts and is therefore common to wind up stolen repeatedly. Other states including Idaho, Colorado, and Washington have stopped replacing the stolen 420 signs and instead installed mile markers with the number 419.9 to discourage theft. Ironically enough, section 420 of Utah Code Chapter 8 part 4 warns Utah residents that stealing or damaging any road signs, including the 420 mile markers is illegal and punishable as a class B misdemeanor.

Common doesn’t mean legal

While possessing street signs is common, it doesn’t make it legal. Not only could removing or damaging road signs be seen as theft, the missing road signs could cause accidents with injuries that the sign thief could be held responsible for. Teens who wish to decorate with road signs are encouraged to purchase them from vendors and leave those installed on Utah roads alone.

Knife Wielding Utah Teen Charged With Aggravated Assault after Defending Sibling

A knife wielding Eagle Mountain Utah teenager was charged with aggravated assault after defending his younger sibling from abuse.

Violence for violence

The 16 year old teen who has not been named due to his age was placed into a juvenile detention center after he stabbed his 18 year old brother five times with a knife. The younger teen was trying to intervene to defend his 14 year old sister from their older brother, Steven Johnston, after an argument between the girl and Johnston escalated. Reports state that Johnston began physically assaulting the 14 year old girl when the 16 year old brother came to her aid, using a knife to wound the 18 year old sibling and thereby ceasing the assault on the younger sister.

Charges for both brothers

18 year old Johnston was flown to the hospital to be treated for his wounds and upon his release, will face misdemeanor charges for assaulting his younger sister. Meanwhile, the 16 year old brother is facing felony aggravated assault for using a knife to defend his sister against their older sibling. According to Utah Code 76-5-103, “Aggravated assault in an actor’s conduct that is:
i. an attempt, with unlawful force or violence, to do bodily injury to another; ( . . . )
ii. a threat, accompanied by a show of immediate force or violence, to do bodily injury to another; or
iii. an act, committed with unlawful force or violence, that causes bodily injury to another or creates a substantial risk of bodily injury to another; and
that includes the use of:
i. a dangerous weapon ( . . . );
iii. other means or force likely to produce death or serious bodily injury.”

No criminal intent

More than likely, the teen did not have plans on assaulting his older brother with a knife that day. In the heat of the moment however, it may have been difficult for him to think of anything other than protecting his sister from harm. It is difficult to ask anyone, especially a minor, to think and act rationally in stressful situations. In hindsight, the teen may have been able to stop the abuse from the 18 year old brother without using a weapon. There is also the chance the abuse could have continued to escalate, further jeopardizing the safety of the little sister. The 16 year old Utah teen chose to ensure the safety of his sister, and may now face up to 15 years in prison. Any minors who are facing charges following a rash decision during a stressful situation or after defending another person from harm, contact a juvenile defense attorney to discuss the defense options related to the case.