Spreading HIV is Illegal in Utah

Having protected sex or practicing abstinence is not only  a good idea to prevent unwanted pregnancies, it is the law in Utah for those that knowingly have a sexually transmitted disease.

What happens behind closed doors is everybody’s business

35 states have laws to help prevent the spread of STD’s such as HIV. Utah Code 26-6-5 states that “Any person who willfully or knowingly introduces any communicable or infectious disease into any county, municipality, or community is guilty of a class A misdemeanor […]. “ Even if precautions are taken such as wearing a condom, criminal charges can occur from transmitting STD’s. These charges are increased to a felony if the STD HIV is spread through a prostitute that is aware that they are positive with the disease.

Negligent or intentional

Not every individual that shares an STD will have charges filed against them. There are many STD’s that are difficult to tell if someone has, as not all of them have symptoms, especially in the early stages. Those that are unaware that they are carriers of an STD such as HIV will not be prosecuted. However, those that are aware of their disease and share it, whether or not they are reckless and share it through their negligence or if they intentionally infect another person, can face criminal charges.

Protect yourself and protect others

The state or government  will try to discourage the spread of STDs by having criminal penalties. Those penalties will depend on the infectiousness of the disease, and your willingness to share it. If you suspect that you may be a carrier of an STD such as HIV, get it confirmed by a doctor before you engage in sexual activities with others. If you are facing charges for negligence or even assault from transmitting an STD, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.

Threat of Terrorism Charge for Man Threatening Provo PD

Threat of terrorism to Provo PD

Photo: Fabexplosive/Wikimedia Commons

Between Tuesday, Feb. 17 and Friday, Feb. 20, three men and one woman were arrested after allegedly making threats against the Provo Police Department. One of the men was charged with a threat of terrorism.

Don’t Write it if You Don’t Mean it. Or Maybe Just Don’t Write it.

According to KSL News, the incident that set the stage for the threat of terrorism charges was the fatal shooting of Cody Evans, 24, of Springville, on Sunday, Feb. 15. A Provo police officer and a Utah County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed Evans after he pointed what they believed to be an assault rifle at them. It was later determined that Evans had two different pellet guns.

The same day Evans was killed, “concerned citizens” reported to Provo police that they had seen several threatening messages on social media, including one that read: “To provo pd. Beware of c4 and dat 50cal … I’m fed up yall killin my homies, im killin u!” Provo police said “c4” was in reference to “an explosive that has the capability to cause mass casualties and substantial property damage.” This is where the threat of terrorism comes into play.

On Tuesday, Feb. 17, Brandon Stacy West was arrested after attempting to purchase a firearm. West wasn’t the poster of the comments, however, the attempted purchase went against his probation, and he allegedly had spoken of “retaliation.”

The poster of the comments, Michael Leon Angus, also reportedly referred to a “Fletcher” and asked who else was “down to ride on these pigs,” to which Jacob Fletcher responded, “You know I am …”

Police arrested Fletcher on Wednesday, Feb. 18, on multiple felony warrants. Lindsay Parker, 25, made the third suspect to be arrested. Parker had been with Fletcher for several days, including driving him around the day they were arrested. She admitted in a police affidavit that she knew Fletcher was on the run. In addition to obstruction of justice, Parker was booked on several drug charges.

Angus was the last link in the chain, and he was arrested on Friday, Feb. 20, and booked on investigation of a threat of terrorism. In a statement released by the Provo Police Department, Angus “admitted that he had posted threatening comments about Provo police officers, but claimed he was just upset and did not intend to do anything.”

Threat of Terrorism Seriousness Depends on Circumstances

According to Utah Criminal Code 76-5-107.3, a threat of terrorism can range from a class B misdemeanor to a second degree felony. The misdemeanor would be “if the person threatens to commit any offense involving bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage,” and cause “an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies to take action due to the person’s conduct posing a serious and substantial risk to the general public.”

In the case of Angus, the fact that he mentioned the C4 explosive jumped the charges up to a second degree felony, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, because he threatened to use a “weapon of mass destruction” as defined in Utah Criminal Code 76-10-401.

This is not to say that Angus didn’t have a right to be upset, however, the lesson is to be aware of how you vent such strong emotions. Putting them in writing on the Internet is not the way to handle it. If you or someone you know has been charged with a threat of terrorism, don’t leave fate in the hands of a public defender. Be sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Wrong Way Driver Charged with Fleeing, Resisting Arrest

wrong way driver resisting arrest

Photo: Lionel Allorge/Wikimedia Commons

A man who was driving the wrong way down a one-way street on Friday, Jan. 30, was arrested and charged after refusing to pull over, then allegedly threatening to shoot the officer, and finally resisting arrest. According to court records, this isn’t the man’s first run-in with the law.

Lots of “Wrong Ways,” Including Resisting Arrest

According to a report from KSL News, the trouble began at approximately 2:20 a.m. on Friday morning. An officer noticed a driver going the wrong way on 500 South, a one-way street. The officer turned on his overhead lights in an attempt to get the driver to turn around and go the correct way, but instead the driver went around the officer.

At this point, the officer added his siren to the mix, but the driver still didn’t stop. Rather than create more danger by starting a wrong-way pursuit, the officer pulled over, called dispatch, and then searched the area, finding the vehicle parked at a residence at 500 South 800 East. According to Salt Lake police detective Dennis McGowan, when the officer approached the vehicle to see if the driver was still inside, he heard something which may have been a threat come from a man on the porch of the residence.

The officer ordered the man, Brent Brown, 43, of Salt Lake City, off the porch and to lie down on the ground. However, a struggle ensued when the officer tried to put on the handcuffs, adding a charge of resisting arrest to Brown’s tally for the morning, including failure to stop at the command of a law enforcement officer.

Detective McGowan said the Brown’s statements were “broken up, disjointed, and unintelligible,” but as of Friday, information hasn’t been released as to whether Brown was intoxicated, although given his lengthy history of DUI and other alcohol related charges and traffic violations, it’s not out of the question.

Resisting Arrest: Class B Misdemeanor

According to Utah Criminal Code 76-8-305, interference with an arresting officer, more commonly known as resisting arrest, occurs when a person “has knowledge, or by the exercise of reasonable care should have knowledge, that a peace officer is seeking to effect lawful arrest or detention of that person or another and interferes with the arrest or detention”.

Resisting arrest can happen if the person uses force or any weapon, refuses to perform any act required by lawful order (such as allowing himself to be handcuffed), or refuses to stop doing something that interferes with the arrest of detention. Resisting arrest is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

If you or someone you know has been charged with resisting arrest, don’t leave your defense in the hands of a public defender. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will work on your behalf.