Man Arrested for Marijuana Possession in Retirement Center

marijuana possession in a retirement home

Photo: Torben Hansen/Wikimedia Commons

In an episode of animated show “The Simpsons,” Homer is mistakenly admitted as a patient to his father’s retirement home. Once there, however, he realizes all the comfort care–and medication–the elderly get, and he decides to stay. However, it wasn’t a Simpson’s episode, or even a regular sitcom plot, when a man was arrested for marijuana possession and two other charges at Salt Lake assisted living facility.

Dude, Where’s my Grandma?

On Friday, Oct. 24, at approximately 7 p.m., supervisors of The Coventry, located at 6898 S. 2300 E., reported to police that they smelled marijuana coming from one of the rooms. According to a report from KSL News, when police approached the room, the odor grew stronger. Cottonwood Heights police Sgt. Corbett Ford stated that when Keaton Yates, 24, stepped out of the room, he still actually had a smoldering marijuana joint in his pocket.

“He went up there either to get high with grandma or use grandma’s room,” Ford said, “and hope that nobody would call him out.”

Or maybe he was bringing grandma something else. In addition to marijuana possession, Yates also had oxycodone pills and a butterfly knife on his person. In addition, it turned out he had a warrant for failure to appear in court on a domestic violence assault charge.

He was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for the marijuana possession, plus investigation of a weapon violation and prohibited acts with a controlled substance.

Marijuana Possession Still Illegal in Utah

Even though our neighbor to the east has decriminalized marijuana possession, it is still a crime in Utah. According to the Utah Controlled Substances Act, Section (2) “Prohibited acts – B,” it is unlawful for any person to possess or use a controlled substance, “unless it was obtained under a valid prescription or order.” Marijuana possession ranges from a class B misdemeanor to a second degree felony based on the amount in the suspect’s possession. In the case of Yates, it would be a class B misdemeanor because he had less than an ounce. The gradients then go from one ounce to one pound, one pound to one hundred pounds, and over one hundred pounds, the second degree felony.

The class B misdemeanor marijuana possession, where most casual users fall, carries a potential jail sentence of up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. Remember the key is “up to.” Don’t leave your fate in the hands of a public defender. If you have been charged with marijuana possession, contact an experienced criminal justice attorney who is looking out for your best interests.

Criminal Mischief Charges Result from Church Vandalism, Burglary

church vandalism equals criminal mischief

Photo: Center for Social Leadership

A Duchesne County LDS church was vandalized on Tuesday, Oct. 14. Two days later, the parties responsible were arrested and booked on charges of criminal mischief, burglary, and misdemeanor theft.

Thou Shalt Not Tag

The criminal mischief incident in question took place Tuesday night sometime after 10:30 p.m. at the church located at 181 N. 200 W. The damages weren’t discovered until the next morning.

It is unclear how the three vandals got into the church. There was no sign of forced entry into the building. However, several doors inside the church were kicked in, according to a report from KSL News. In addition to the damaged doors, various items–including cash–were stolen from the church, and red spray paint was used to “tag” various locations, including the door to the bishop’s office, the inside of the chapel, and a picture of Jesus Christ.

On Thursday, Tristan Joseph Peterson Hirst was detained and confessed to the crime to a Duchesne County Sheriff’s department sergeant. He also implicated Denver T. Bell and 17-year-old juvenile male in the crime. Hirst and Bell told police where the stolen items were located, and police were able to obtain them.

Both men were charged with criminal mischief, burglary, and misdemeanor theft. It is unclear what charges will be filed against the juvenile offender.

Criminal Mischief Defined

According to Utah Code 76-6-106, criminal mischief–more commonly known as vandalism–is considered an “offense against property.” According to the code, a person commits criminal mischief if he/she does any of the following:

  • damages or destroys (other than via fire/arson) property with the intent to defraud an insurer
  • tampers with the property of another resulting in endangering human life, health or safety
  • causes or threatens a substantial interruption of any critical infrastructure (such as communication, financial, transportation, health care, etc…)
  • intentionally damages, defaces or destroys the property of another
  • recklessly or willfully shoots a missile or other object against a vehicle of transportation.

A church does not qualify as “critical infrastructure,” and obviously Hirst and Bell didn’t fire a missile at anything. Their charge results from the most common form of criminal mischief, “intentionally damages, defaces or destroys the property of another.”

Criminal mischief ranges from a class B misdemeanor up to a second degree felony depending on the offense. When it comes to vandalism, the punishment will depend on the value of property damaged, with a second degree felony for over $5,000 down to a class B misdemeanor for less than $500.

If you or someone you know has been charged with criminal mischief or any other crime, be sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will look out for your best interests.