Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney - Clayton Simms

new_clayton_about A criminal charge, whether it is a felony or misdemeanor, can be a life changing event. Clayton Simms is a fierce advocate for people who have been charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses. He represents clients who are facing charges in Salt Lake City and Greater Salt Lake County. In addition, he also represents clients along the Wasatch front. Clayton Simms represents defendants in other crimes Clayton has represented athletes, doctors, lawyers, and other notable people and has been featured on the news. Do you have a legal question? Contact Clayton Simms today!

Failure to Obey a Crossing Guard – Respect the Vest

During the morning or afternoon commute, always pay attention to the people in orange at crosswalks as failure to obey a crossing guard can actually result in a ticket.

Back to school

Photo by: Melissa Doroquez

Photo by: Melissa Doroquez

School is back in session throughout most of the state and with that comes the neighborhood crossing guard who may occasionally let the authority of their job go to their heads. Most crossing guards use common sense and don’t walk out abruptly into traffic or guide children across busy intersections unless the walk sign is illuminated. Others however, seem to choose the most inopportune times to stop traffic and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

That’s Mr. Crossing guard to you

Crossing guards are more than power hungry people with a stop sign and orange vest. They are hired by the state of Utah to protect and guide the children going to and from school and as thus are given jurisdiction over the assigned crosswalk zones. Failure to obey a crossing guard, no matter how ill-timed their decisions to stop traffic are, can result in a $75 ticket. Utah Code 41-6a-209 states “a person may not willfully fail or willfully refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of a: peace officer, firefighter, flagger ( . . . ) or uniformed adult school crossing guard invested by law with authority to direct, control, or regulate traffic.”

Respect the vest

Crossing Guard

Photo by: David D

It can be embarrassing when a crossing guard stops and scolds a driver for disobeying their order to stop, but the best thing the driver can do in that instance is respect the vest and apologize profusely, hoping to be forgiven so a ticket will not follow.

Street Cameras and License Plate Scanners – Is Public Surveillance an Invasion of Privacy?

When driving down the street, any individual with or without a criminal history is being watched through public surveillance technology including street cameras and license plate scanners; a constant and troubling invasion of privacy.

Street cameras

License Plate Scanners

Photo by: Mike_fleming

To temporarily escape the government’s known watchful eye over the internet, many will close down their personal computers and put away their phones only to again be under constant observation the second they step outside their home. Cameras placed on streetlights, ATMS, and the exterior of buildings such as gas stations and grocery stores keeps tabs on anything happening along public streets. Public surveillance is said to be beneficial for crime prevention and investigation purposes, but for the millions of innocent people who pass by these cameras on a daily basis, it can seem like Big Brother is always watching.

License plate scanners

If an individual is able to avoid the abundance of cameras placed throughout U.S. cities, their vehicle is still under surveillance. License plate scanners, otherwise known as automatic number plate recognition technology can be placed in stationary locations throughout town such as on street lights, toll gates, and freeway overpasses or be attached to the bumper or roof of law enforcement vehicles for surveillance in motion. Unlike video surveillance, license plate scanners link a license plate to a person’s personal information. License plate scanners are used by law enforcement to track a person’s whereabouts and determine if that individual is a person of criminal interest. If that individual’s movements deem them worthy of being scrutinized, their name and vehicle information is added to a “hot list”, and the license plate scanners will alert authorities of that individual’s location at any given time.

Problems with public surveillance

Although public surveillance may have started as a way to prevent crime and protect citizens, now it appears to be nothing more than a constant invasion of privacy. Originally, license plate scanners were few and far between, with scanners at certain high profile areas around cities. Now, those scanners can be found everywhere – always watching, always recording. Law abiding citizens who are not committing crimes are still being observed and monitored on a daily basis, with their entire lives on display and recorded to databases! Days, weeks, months, and even years of an individual’s movements are collected regardless of any criminal history. Law enforcement may know more about an individual by their habits and routines that their own family does.

Stalking escalated

Photo by: hunnnterrr

Photo by: hunnnterrr

Public surveillance by law enforcement is disturbing enough already, imagine if that information got into the wrong hands! At what point will this surveillance of the public become available to the public? For a price, people can already research each other online. For $49.99, all “public records” can be compiled and delivered to anyone, complete with a person’s address, phone numbers, email address, and even any photographs posted online. Imagine if the information obtained through cameras and license place scanners likewise became available to everyone as public record. Public surveillance through cameras and license plate scanners could show that someone picks their young child up from school at 3:00pm daily; grocery shops on Wednesdays mornings; and leaves their children at the sitter while they attend a pottery class at the college on Friday evening. Not only would privacy be moot, this could open doors for an abundance of alarming situations.

Keep public privacy intact

No one should have their personal lives tracked, not even by the police. If a person has committed a heinous crime, then the description of their vehicle along with the license plate number should be given to authorities to be used as needed. For all law abiding citizens, and even those with forgotten parking tickets, they should have the right to privacy until law enforcement is given a reason to investigate them.

Rules for Watching TV in the Car

Watching TV in the car is easier than ever with the use of portable devices or built-in DVD players, yet there are rules regarding who is allowed to be entertained by a movie while driving.

Progression of watching TV in the car

Watching TV in the Car

Photo by: rick

Before DVD players became the standard for all family type vehicles, parents had to endure hours on the road with grumpy kids who were tired of playing the license plate game. Some families as early as the 1980’s discovered they could strap a small TV and VCR inside the car and plug it into the cigarette lighter with a power converter. In the late 1990’s the first portable DVD player was invented, allowing parents an easier and lighter way to bring movies on the road with them. Nowadays with built-in DVD players and smartphones capable of playing full length movies, every passenger in the vehicle is able to watch the show of their choice during boring road trips.

Passengers only

Watching TV in the car is not allowed for everyone however. Obviously for safety reasons, the driver is not allowed this same luxury. Not only are drivers prohibited from watching TV in the car, they aren’t even allowed to be able to see the screen that someone else is watching. Utah Code 41-6a-1641 states: “A motor vehicle may not be operated on a highway if the motor vehicle is equipped with a video display located so that the display is visible to the operator of the vehicle.” The only exceptions to this rule are for law enforcement, navigation purposes, or for viewing vehicle systems such as rear facing cameras.

Out of driver’s view

Some DVD players are attached to the vehicle’s audio system making them easily viewable to everyone in the car. Additionally, DVD players located in the back seat may be seen by the driver if a mirror to watch rear facing children is installed, making the screen viewable in the mirror. Regardless of where the screen is located, drivers who are caught watching TV in the car or having a screen in view may end up with a $40 ticket.