Assault on a Pregnant Woman

A Spanish Fork man was arrested last week for charges related to assault on a pregnant woman after he sexually and physically assaulted a woman and locked her in the basement.

Physical and sexual assault

Photo by: Teresa Rodríguez

Photo by: Teresa Rodríguez

32 year old Jeff Jackson was arrested December 31st 2015 after the pregnant woman he assaulted contacted police after escaping from the basement in which she was temporarily being held captive. The victim had signs of physical abuse such as bite indentations and bruising along with other nondisclosed injuries. The abuse also took place in front of the victim’s minor children. Jackson is facing sexual offenses along with aggravated assault.

Taking food from a pregnant woman

Photo by: KittyKaht

Photo by: KittyKaht

Another case of assault on a pregnant woman happened in Salt Lake City earlier last month. An intoxicated man stumbling around in the parking lot of 7-11 approached an obviously pregnant woman leaving the convenient store and stole her pizza that she had just purchased. Stealing pizza from a pregnant woman is illegal (not to mention dangerous), and the intoxicated pizza thief made his charges worse by striking the pregnant woman in the face afterward.

Assault on a pregnant woman

Photo by: daniel julià lundgren

Photo by: daniel julià lundgren

Assault on a pregnant woman carries higher penalties as the stress of the assault could lead to health complications such as premature labor. According to Utah Code 76-5-102, simple assault is class B misdemeanor. This is unless there is “substantial bodily injury” or in a case of assault on a pregnant woman, in which it therefore becomes a class A misdemeanor. The charges are only increased however if it known that the woman is pregnant. Until a woman is further along in her pregnancy, it is often difficult to tell that she is with child without asking (which is strongly discouraged). For those facing assault on a pregnant woman when it was unknown that the other party was pregnant, contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss how to proceed.

Weather Related Reckless Driving

Reckless driving brings to mind someone driving quickly and erratically, yet it can often be related to driving at normal speeds in bad weather.

Snow on the road

Photo by: Paul Heaberlin

Photo by: Paul Heaberlin

Early Saturday morning the entire Wasatch Front woke up to snowfall. While the wintry wonderland is beautiful to look at or play in, it can be treacherous for drivers. Once roads were reopened, all along I-15 were signs warning drivers to slow down and to be aware of icy roads. Completely ignoring these warnings, many drivers continued to fly down the interstate at regular freeway speeds. Because of weather related reckless driving, several accidents occurred over the weekend resulting in numerous injuries and one death.

Alter driving for weather

When drivers travel at posted speeds but there is weather present that may limit their visibility or stopping time, they may receive a moving violation for driving too fast for conditions. Depending on the severity of the circumstances, drivers may end up facing charges of reckless driving instead. Utah Code 41-6-528 states: “A person is guilty of reckless driving who operates a vehicle: in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property; […]”. Reckless driving is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Reckless driving charges may be subjective

Photo by: Nicholas A. Tonelli

Photo by: Nicholas A. Tonelli

Utah has regular speed limits posted yet nowhere to be found are there separate speed limits for varying degrees of rain, fog, snow, or wind. For this reason, how fast a driver can safely travel is really up to the individual to determine what they are comfortable with. These guidelines that can end with charges for driving too fast for conditions or the related reckless driving are therefore subjective and may be challenged in court. For more information on fighting weather related reckless driving charges, contact a criminal defense attorney.

Pyramid Scheme and Multi-Level Marketing

When people learn of a business that encourages recruiting they often assume it to be a pyramid scheme, when in fact it may just be another multi-level marketing company. While both may give incentives to their reps for recruiting others, one is illegal while the other is simply frowned upon by those not trusting of “get rich quick” ventures.

Pyramid Scheme Act

Photo by: Stephen Day

Photo by: Stephen Day

Utah’s Pyramid Scheme Act defines a pyramid scheme as “any sales device or plan under which a person gives consideration to another person in exchange for compensation or the right to receive compensation which is derived primarily from the introduction of other persons into the sales device or plan rather than from the sale of goods, services, or other property.” Anytime the recruiting is the only reason or main purpose of the business, versus selling products or services, charges for violation of the Pyramid Scheme Act may result.

Multi-level Marketing

Photo by: That Hartford Guy

Photo by: That Hartford Guy

Multi-marketing businesses, otherwise known as direct-sales or network marketing, suffer from the bad reputation of pyramid schemes as they have similar business approaches. Multi-level marketing mimics a pyramid scheme model since the business thrives when recruits are encouraged to sign on. Those recruits can recruit others and so on. Those individuals who are higher up the recruiting ladder earn money from those on lower levels. This may sound exactly like a pyramid scheme, however the money that those in multi-marketing businesses make isn’t made strictly by recruiting; there is actually a product to be sold. In fact, most of the income is made from the sale of products or service. Certainly, those at the top earn more money in the long run than those who are newly recruited, but the business plan is appropriate and legal.

Trouble for genuine businesses

Photo by: Ben Helps

Photo by: Ben Helps

Multi-level marketing is usually done from home, online, or door to door sales. Unfortunately, because multi-level marketing representatives don’t have a specific business location or warehouse where products are stored, it may be harder to prove that their business has a product to sell. Not having the product on hand can make it difficult to prove that it is an authentic business, versus a pyramid scheme. This is especially difficult for businesses that are just starting out, and may not have thought out their product thoroughly. Many play it safe by hopping on the bandwagon of some of the major well-known multi-level marketing companies such as:

• Avon
• Mary Kay
• Scentsy
• Melaleuca
• Herbalife
• Amway
• The Pampered Chef
• doTerra
• Synergy

Others with an entrepreneur spirit choose to create their own business or go with companies that are just getting started. This is where many run a risk of facing pyramid scheme charges.

Penalties for running a pyramid scheme

According to Utah Code 76-6a-4 or the Pyramid Scheme Act, “Any person who knowingly organizes, establishes, promotes, or administers a pyramid scheme is guilty of a third degree felony.” Persons charged with a 3rd degree felony may face up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Jail time just for participating

Photo by: my_southborough

Photo by: my_southborough

Time behind bars isn’t only for those who are the masterminds of the pyramid schemes. Up to six months in jail can result from a person who merely joins the illegal business model. This is also discussed in Utah Code 76-6a-4. “Any person who participates in a pyramid scheme only by receiving compensation for the introduction of other persons into the pyramid scheme rather than from the sale of goods, services, or other property is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.” When creating or joining a multi-level marketing company, make certain that the company is doing everything possible to avoid pyramid scheme charges. For individuals who planned a business before considering the product, or for those who got caught up in a scheme that turned out to be illegal, contact a criminal defense attorney.