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!

Sexual Abuse at Home Daycare in Utah

After more than 20 years, multiple people have come forward as victims of sexual abuse that took place at a home daycare in Utah.

Not so trustworthy care

Photo by: Eric.Ray

When a parent drops their child off at a daycare, they are entrusting other people with the safety and well-being of their child until their return. For multiple families in Utah, their trust in a caretaker was broken due to the discovery of horrifying sexual abuse. Sadly, the families remained unaware of the abuse for two decades. After their children were grown with some having families of their own, several Utah families discovered that their children had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of the childcare provider’s son who lived in the residence of the daycare.

Abuse by teen, charged as adult

35 year old Theodore Joseph Heaps of Salt Lake City was arrested sexual abuse and rape of a child after a victim came forward with allegations that Heaps had raped her while she was 12 years old and in the care of Heaps mother who ran a daycare out of her home. Heaps, who was between 15 and 17 years old at the time of the sexual abuse, admitted to the allegations, and also stated that there were multiple victims over a three year period.

Criminal charges

Although the abuse took place long ago, authorities were just recently made aware of the crimes and charges were swiftly made against Heaps as soon as the district attorney gave the green light. Heaps is currently facing three first degree felonies: two for sodomy on a child and one for rape of a child. More charges could surface as other victims come forward. For help with criminal charges regarding current or past crimes, contact a criminal defense attorney.

Sharing Prescription Drugs in Utah

Many Utah residents have faced legal or other unpleasant ramifications due to them lovingly, yet illegally sharing prescription drugs with their friends or family.

Care, don’t share

Photo by: Ajay Suresh

When a family member or friend is suffering from an ailment, loved ones want to do whatever possible to help relieve the symptoms being suffered. Perhaps a spouse is in pain after a lengthy dentist visit. Maybe an elderly neighbor has thrown out their back working in the yard. Or possibly an adult child is facing the pain that comes from an unexpected kidney stone. Sometimes an ice pack or a simple over the counter remedy does the trick when other times something stronger is needed. Instead of sending the unwell person to their primary care physician to legally obtain a necessary prescription, many Utah residents will head for their own prescription medications to treat a loved one-not realizing they are about to commit a crime.

Sharing is distribution

When a family member or friend shares a prescription with others, they are ultimately distributing that prescribed medication to another. Even if the person receiving the medication does not offer any sort of payment, it is still against the law. Utah Code 58-37-2 states: “Distribute means to deliver other than by administering or dispensing a controlled substance [through a pharmacy]”. That section also notes: “Deliver” or delivery” means the actual, constructive, or attempted transfer of a controlled substance or a listed chemical, whether or not any agency relationship exists.”

Criminal charges

Many prescription drugs including those meant to reduce pain or induce sleep are considered controlled substances by state and federal law. The Controlled Substances Act separates street and prescription drugs into different schedules depending on what they are used for, their potential for abuse, and their risk for harm. When someone shares a prescription drug that is considered a controlled substance, especially those that are a Schedule I or II drug, they may face serious criminal penalties. According to Utah Code 58-37-8:

• Anyone convicted of distributing a Schedule I controlled substance or a Schedule II controlled substance such as Adderall, Ritalin, Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin, and Norco “ . . . is guilty of a second degree felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years, and upon a second or subsequent conviction is guilty of a first degree felony.”

• Anyone convicted of sharing a Schedule III or IV controlled substances such as Suboxone, Tylenol with Codeine, Vicodin, Soma, Valium, Ativan, Xanax, “. . . or marijuana is guilty of a third degree felony, or [second degree felony upon a subsequent conviction].”

The recipients of someone else’s prescription drugs may themselves face criminal charges for possession.

Health risks

Beyond the criminal charges possible, family or friends could end up responsible for causing more misery to someone they care about. When prescription drugs are shared, the person to whom they are shared with may have adverse reactions to the medication that could have been avoided had they been under the care of a doctor. Additionally, if a prescription is shared that is a controlled substance, the recipient may develop a dependence to the medication that can completely derail their lives and send them down a path of addiction and pain far worse than they were originally facing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn, “In 2016, more than 11.5 million Americans reported misusing prescription opioids in the past year.” That figure only includes those who reported their misuse, and may not include those who are getting their meds from a family member. For more information on criminal charges related to sharing prescription drugs, contact a criminal defense attorney. For help regarding substance abuse including prescription drugs, contact the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health to find a treatment center nearest you.

Drink Order May Help Protect Women in Unsafe Dating Situations

A specialty drink order making headlines may help protect women in unsafe dating situations.

Online dating

Photo by: Mike Beales

In a world where many dates begin online, meeting in person can still feel very much like a blind date. Many of these “meet in person” moments take place at bars where the environment is more casual and adding a drink or two helps lower inhibitions. Even in this comfortable setting, things still may go south. Once there, someone may discover the person they are meeting is far different than they expected. Some dates end up looking much different than their profile picture which was taken with a filter. More often things don’t work out due to a matter of personalities clashing. Unfortunately, there are some instances when a date goes wrong, leaving the other party feeling unsafe.

Bartenders looking out for patrons

When a date is just not going well, a person can either politely excuse themselves or wait for their scheduled call from a friend to bail them out. When a date ends up making a person fearful for their safety however, they may need help safely removing themselves from the situation. Several bartenders across the nation and even in the Salt Lake valley are looking out for their female patrons who may be in an uncomfortable or unsafe situation while at the bar. Many bar owners have posted instructions in the women’s restrooms on how to safely get out of a bad date. There are two different methods going around that have both proven to be effective in the bars where the info is posted.

Ask for Angela or an Angel Shot

Some bars have instructions posted informing women on bad dates to ask the bartender for “Angela”. This code word lets the bartender and other bar staff know that the person is in a situation that they feel uncomfortable getting out of on their own. The most popular “bad date exit plan” making the rounds is the Angel Shot. A woman in an unsafe dating situation at the bar simply requests a drink of the bartender. This “help me” drink is called the Angel Shot. How the woman orders this drink lets the bartender know exactly how they can help.

• If the woman wants to be walked to her car, she asks for her Angel shot “neat”.
• If she needs a cab or Uber, she asks for her Angel shot “on the rocks”.
• If she feels the need to involve the police, she asks for her Angel shot “with a lime”.

Staff trained to help

Not all bar staff in Utah are trained in knowing what an Angel shot is or what a patron means when they ask for Angela. Additionally, many perpetrators who would be problem dates have heard of Angel Shots, making the discreet request not so discreet. Fortunately, many bouncers and staff at popular bars are trained to look for problem situations. Prior to setting up a blind date, it might be wise to call ahead to the bar of choice and ask about such training to ensure a date is set in the safest possible setting.