New Motorcycle Lane Filtering Laws in Utah

Laws regarding motorcycles have changed in Utah, now allowing lane filtering which is different than what is known as lane splitting.

Lane filtering

Lane Filtering

Photo by: Paul Sableman

A new law was put into effect in May, allowing motorcycle riders to perform an action that is known as lane filtering. According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, “Lane filtering” means, when operating a motorcycle other than an autocycle, the act of overtaking and passing another vehicle that is stopped in the same direction of travel in the same lane. In other words – lane filtering refers to the process of a motorcyclist moving between two lanes to the front of traffic stopped at an intersection.”

Law specifics

Many drivers of motor vehicles are concerned with the new law, perhaps worried a motorcycle will come whizzing by them while they are stopped in traffic or attempting to switch lanes. Fortunately, the new law ensures the new action by motorcycles is done carefully, keeping other drivers’ safety in mind. Utah Department of Public Safety advises motorcycle drivers that:

  1. Lane filtering is only allowed when the road being traveled has speeds of 45 miles per hour or lower;
  2. Lane filtering can only be done on roads with at least two adjacent lanes of travel going in the same direction;
  3. Motorcycles can only filter between traffic when other vehicles are stopped;
  4. While lane filtering, motorcycle speeds may not exceed 15 miles per hour; and
  5. The motorcycle driver is responsible for making sure the action is done safely.

Utah laws vs other states

While all Utah drivers should be excited about any law that alleviates traffic while keeping motorcycle drivers safer, Utah motorcycle laws still differ from those in nearby states. California is currently the only state to allow an action known as lane splitting, which Utah motorcycle drivers should know is different from lane filtering. While lane filtering allows a motorcycle to travel individually between stopped vehicles, lane splitting is the act of multiple motorcycles sharing a lane of travel, otherwise known as riding side by side. Lane splitting is not currently allowed in Utah, and motorcycle riders could receive a traffic violation for doing so. Drivers of all vehicles on the road are encouraged to drive safely and consult with an attorney for any driving infractions that could end in criminal charges.

Aggravated Charges for Man Who Killed Missing Utah Student

Aggravated charges are pending for a Utah man after authorities located charred DNA evidence of missing college student in the man’s backyard.

Missing college students

Photo by: Tony Webster

In the early morning hours of June 17, 2019, Mackenzie Lueck let her parents know she had arrived at the Salt Lake City Airport before taking a Lyft ride to a park in North Salt Lake. There she met someone in another vehicle and was never seen again. For the next week and a half, Lueck missed her school classes and work and did not take a flight she had scheduled back to California to see her family. Investigators worked tirelessly around the clock, eventually questioning a man that had engaged in electronic communications with Lueck prior to her disappearance.

DNA evidence

Neighbors to the man alerted authorities that the day Lueck had gone missing, the man had been burning things in his backyard with gasoline. After obtaining a search warrant, police were able to find burned remains of Lueck’s belongings as well as charred body tissue. DNA evidence from those findings were linked to Lueck. The owner of the house, 31 year old Ayoola Ajayi was arrested on several charges including aggravated charges of kidnapping and murder as well as obstruction of justice and desecration of a human body.

Aggravated charges

Ajayi is facing four felonies for the following:

  • Third degree desecration of a human body. Utah Code 76-9-704 states “A person is guilty of abuse or desecration of a dead human body if the person intentionally and unlawfully . . . disturbs, moves, removes, conceals, or destroys a dead human body or any part of it”.
  • Second degree obstruction of justice, described by Utah Code 76-8-306 as when a person commits actions with the “. . . intent to hinder, delay, or prevent the investigation, apprehension, prosecution, conviction, or punishment of any person regarding conduct that constitutes a criminal offense”.
  • First degree aggravated kidnapping defined by Utah Code 76-5-303 as “ . . . if the actor, in the course of committing unlawful detention or kidnapping: uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon . . . or acts with intent;
    – To hold the victim for ransom or reward, or as a shield or hostage . . . ;
    – To facilitate the commission . . . of a felony;
    – To hinder or delay the discovery of or reporting of a felony;
    – To inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or another; . . .
    – To commit a sexual offense”.
  • First degree aggravated murder. “Criminal homicide constitutes aggravated murder if the actor intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another” and was also involved in sexual offenses, kidnapping, desecration of a human body or other circumstances as stated in Utah Code 76-5-202.

The ultimate penalty

Ajayi is facing up to five years in prison for desecration of a human body, one to 15 years for obstruction of justice and five to life for aggravated kidnapping. The aggravated charges of murder could result in life in prison or the death penalty, depending on if it is charged as a noncapital or capital felony. Section 76-5-202 states “If a notice of intent to seek the death penalty has been filed, aggravated murder is a capital felony. If a notice of intent to seek the death penalty has not been filed, aggravated murder is a noncapital first degree felony”.According to Section 76-3-207.7, noncapital first degree aggravated murder is punishable by “life in prison without parole; or an indeterminate prison term of not less than 25 years and that may be for life. Regarding a capital felony, 76-3-206 notes “the sentence shall be: . . . life in prison without parole or death.

Criminal defense

Regardless of the type of crime committed and whether or not they have been tried already by the public court of social media, anyone facing charges has the constitutional right to be represented by an attorney in a court of law. For more information on the options available for those facing serious charges such as aggravated murder, contact a criminal defense attorney.

Little League Parent Arrested For Aggravated Assault in Utah

A parent of a little league player was arrested in Utah for aggravated assault toward their child’s coach.

Out of control parents

Photo by: Jim Larrison

Last week the rest of the nation watched in disbelief as a video made the rounds on social media showing a group of parents yelling and throwing punches at a kid’s baseball game in Colorado. This week a similar incident took place in Utah as a single parent lost their cool at a game and went after the coach with a baseball bat.

No parent of the year award

37 year old Andrew Bunot was arrested at his children’s game in Roy, Utah after Bunot was displeased with the lack of time his kids got to spend actually playing the game and decided to have words with the coach. Instead of just talking to the coach however, Bunot grabbed a baseball bat and threatened the coach with it. Other parents stopped Bunot as he made threatening advances toward the coach with the bat. Bunot was arrested for aggravated assault while his children watched.

Aggravated assault

Utah Code 76-5-103 states “Aggravated assault is an actor’s conduct . . . that is:

  1. an attempt, with unlawful force or violence, to do bodily injury to another;
  2. a threat, accompanied by a show of immediate force or violence, to do bodily injury to another; or
  3. 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:

  1. a dangerous weapon . . . ;
  2. any act that impedes the breathing or the circulation of blood of another person by the actor’s use of unlawful force or violence that is likely to produce a loss of consciousness . . .
  3. other means or force likely to produce death or serious bodily injury.”

Since Bunot threatened the coach with a bat which is capable of causing serious bodily injury, he is not facing a third degree felony. Third degree felony aggravated assault is punishable by a fine up to $5,000 and as much as five years in prison.

Poor examples of sportsmanship

Parent outburst during youth athletics is a growing problem, with many parents being verbally abusive to referees, coaches, and even the kids. As the problem with parents at games escalates to cases of physical and aggravated assault, it’s time for parents to start being better examples of sportsmanship to their children so they don’t miss games while sitting behind bars.