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!

New Firework Laws in Utah

As Independence Day celebrations draw closer, residents should be informed of the new firework laws put into effect this year as well as restrictions specific to their area.

Less days for fireworks

Photo by: David Joyce

Prior to the 2018 legislative session, fireworks were allowed to be discharged 14 days in July: July 1st through July 7th and July 21st through July 27th. The amended laws approved by Utah lawmakers have now reduced lawful firework days to only eight days: July 2nd through July 5th and July 22nd through July 25th. The allowable firework days for New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year remain the same. Although fireworks are allowed throughout Utah on the eight approved days in July, that does not mean they are allowed everywhere.

Restricted firework areas

The state of Utah is currently seeing record high temperatures mixed with low humidity and accompanying winds. These conditions increase the likelihood of wildfires even without the use of recreational flaming explosives. In order to prevent firework use from adding to the growing number of wildfires presently active throughout Utah, there are areas where fireworks are not permitted. Statewide, fireworks are prohibited on state owned as well as federal land. Additionally most areas outside city limits or within close proximity to washes, wooded areas, or other locations where the chance of a brush fire is increased may have restrictions for firework use.

Penalties unlawful discharge of fireworks

Utah Code 53-7-225 states “A person is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, if the person discharges a class C common state approved explosive:

(a) outside the legal discharge dates and times . . . or

(b) in an area in which fireworks are prohibited”.

Residents should consult with their state and city laws prior to firework use to ensure their holiday festivities are in accordance with local laws.

Utah Man Booked on Felony Child Abuse Charges for Throwing Corrosive Substance on Young Children

A Utah man was booked into Cache County jail on felony child abuse charges after he threw a corrosive substance on two young children, resulting in burns to their skin.

Chemical burns

Photo by: Michael Coghlan

32 year old Jason Keith Summers of Smithfield, Utah was arrested after he entered onto a neighbor’s property and threw a substance thought to be sulfuric acid on two young children playing in the yard. Sulfuric acid is a common ingredient in drain cleaner and fertilizer which can not only cause burns and tissue damage but also blindness. Both children suffered chemical burns to their skin, one who had the chemical thrown on his face required additional treatment from a specialized burn center. After trying to flee custody, Summers was finally booked into jail on multiple charges including second degree felony child abuse.

Child Abuse

Utah Code 76-5-112.5 states: “Unless a greater penalty is otherwise provided by law:

(a). . . a person is guilty of a felony of the third degree if the person knowingly or intentionally causes or permits a child or vulnerable adult to be exposed to, inhale, ingest, or have contact with a controlled substance, chemical substance, or drug paraphernalia;

(b) . . . a person is guilty of a felony of the second degree, if:

(i) the person engages in the conduct described [above]; and

(ii) as a result of the conduct . . . , a child or vulnerable adult suffers bodily injury, substantial bodily injury, or serious bodily injury”.

History of drugs and violence

Perhaps in defense of his actions, Summers alerted police that he had used drugs the day of the chemical attack and law enforcement agreed Summers appeared under the influence of something. Court records further indicate Summers has a lengthy history of aggressive behavior while under the influence of illicit substances. While drug use may cause individuals to behave in ways they normally wouldn’t, they are still ultimately held responsible for their actions. Hopefully a treatment plan to overcome addiction will be included with the punishment handed down to Summers so he can stop the cycle of drug use and criminal actions.

Reduction in Opioid-Related Deaths in States with Legalized Marijuana

As Utah continues to hold the leash tight on legalizing marijuana, other states who have sanctioned this “gate-way” drug are reporting a reduction in opioid-related deaths and overall opioid use.

Relief from chronic pain

Photo by: Jorge Gonzalez

Many addicts that abuse opioids, whether through pill form or through substances such as heroin start off with a prescription written out by a caring medical practitioner. These prescriptions are often given to relieve chronic pain as a result of injuries or medical conditions. The National Institutes of Health states: “more than 25 million Americans suffer from daily chronic pain.” NIH adds that “[m]ore than 2 million Americans have OUD [opioid use disorder]. Millions more misuse opioids, taking opioid medications longer or in higher doses than prescribed.” What begins as a way to manage pain or other ailments however can quickly spiral into a lifelong dependency on opioids that is often dangerously supported using street drugs or illegally acquired pills when prescriptions are no longer being filled.

Safer alternative to pain pills

In a country that lost over 20,000 citizens to opioid related deaths in 2016 according to NIH, there has to be safer alternatives to help individuals manage chronic pain and other debilitating conditions. According to an article published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, there has been a notable decrease in opioid-related deaths in Colorado consequent of the legalization of recreational cannabis. The report which uses the state of Colorado to draw its association said: “Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis sales and use resulted in a 0.7 deaths per month . . . reduction in opioid-related deaths. This reduction represents a reversal of the upward trend in opioid-related deaths in Colorado.”

Decreasing opioid dependency

Photo by: Mark

While the US National Library of Medicine plans on analyzing data from other states, other research groups have already done so in regards to overall opioid use in marijuana-friendly states. These reports have all shown that in states where marijuana is legal for recreational or at least medicinal use, there has been a definite decrease in opioid abuse. One of the studies showed a 4% decrease in opioids beings prescribed for those covered under federal and state health insurance programs in states that had lenient marijuana laws. This percentage decrease did not include those covered under private insurance. When patients seek help from doctors to manage chronic pain and other conditions, doctors in marijuana-friendly states now have another alternative to offer their patients. Doctors can either write patients a prescription for dangerously addicting opioids or direct their patients to the nearest marijuana dispensary. Many medical practitioners whose life’s goals are to help people are now choosing marijuana as a safer alternative to prescription opioids when helping their patients with their ailments.

Utah, bringing up the rear

The Utah Department of Health stated: “From 2013 to 2015, Utah ranked 7th highest in the nation for drug overdose deaths.” They also noted that “in 2015, 24 individuals (residents and non-residents) died every month from a prescription opioid overdose in Utah.” In a state that is plagued by the opioid epidemic, why has Utah been dragging their feet with marijuana laws? While some may see the problem with allowing the plant to be used recreationally, there is minimal logic to support why medical use of marijuana has not yet been openly approved in Utah. Fortunately, there are small steps being made with allowing medical marijuana use in Utah. The Utah Medical Marijuana Initiative was passed by the senate earlier this year and will be on the ballot in November. If enough Utah residents vote “yes” on the initiative, patients with a qualifying illness or chronic pain can be issued a medical cannabis card, allowing them to obtain medical marijuana to manage their illnesses instead of using harmful opioids. Hopefully then will Utah finally be able to see a reduction in opioid-related deaths among its residents.