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What Constitutes Domestic Violence in Arizona?

June 23, 2015

Domestic violence is an assault crime between people of a close or intimate relationship, such as a husband and wife, girlfriend and boyfriend, relatives, or roommates. In order for assault to constitute domestic violence, the victim and perpetrator usually need to be living in the same household. In Arizona, domestic violence is usually a class one misdemeanor, but it may be elevated to a felony if there are serious weapons or injuries involved.

Additional charges

While a domestic violence charge can be elevated to a felony, it may also include the additional charge of disorderly conduct. This usually occurs when the incident resulted in a disturbance to the peace and quiet of the neighborhood. In many of these types of domestic violence cases, one of the parties calls 911. When the police arrive, they usually obtain recorded statements from both parties and witnesses. The police will also take photographs of any injuries. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, the police may or may not take one or both parties into custody.

Consequences

A first offense class one misdemeanor for domestic violence can carry up to a six-month jail sentence. However, if there are no serious injuries and it is a first time offense, the charge usually doesn’t result in jail time. If the domestic violence charge is a felony, it may result in substantial prison time if weapons were involved or the injuries are very serious.

Defenses

Depending on the circumstances of the case, someone charged with assault or domestic violence may be able to claim self-defense. A person charged with misdemeanor domestic violence is not entitled to a trial by jury. However, felony defendants do receive a jury trial. Either way, a domestic violence charge will show up on someone’s record in background checks for employment purposes.

If you are facing domestic violence charges, Tucson defense attorney Janet Altschuler Criminal Defense Attorney knows and understands the criminal justice system throughout Arizona. Before shifting her focus to criminal defense, Ms. Altschuler served as a prosecutor, so she understands how criminal prosecutors handle cases. To schedule a free consultation, please call (520) 829-1741.

Colorado Legalizes Rain Drop Catching

June 16, 2015

In 2009, rainwater collection became legal in Colorado for the first time since territorial days. From the moment it fell in many Western states, each droplet of water received ownership assignment. While Coloradans raced to scoop rainfall right out of their gutters, water rights were actually assigned more than a century ago.

Laws legalizing rainwater collection

In the midst of population growth and widespread drought, a number of Western states have started encouraging residents to actively collect rainwater. Now, Colorado has passed two new laws to legalize rainwater collection. Some Colorado residents have already been illegally collecting rainwater to water their plants and vegetable gardens. For these bloodthirsty hydration pirates, the new laws mean no longer facing criminal charges for catching water on their roofs and watering around their homes.

Ownership in the sky

The concept of owning the rain falling from the sky is as much a philosophy debate as it is a legal one. In Western states, lawyers take the issue quite seriously. In fact, in the Four Corners area, which includes Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, a number of rules and regulations dictate rainwater collection and use. Meanwhile, each of these states has a subculture of residents illegally using the rain freely provided by nature, but forbidden by state laws. In Colorado, the two new laws allow up to a quarter-million residents with private wells to begin harvesting their own rainwater.

Enforcement of regulations

While Colorado rainwater collection may have previously been illegal, the laws weren’t stringently enforced. Retailers could sell rain equipment, but admitted to knowing better than to ask what the buyer’s intent was with the equipment. State water officials also acknowledged that they rarely enforced the old law. These new laws allow state officials to create a system of fines for rain catchers who don’t obtain a permit first.

Call (520) 829-1741 to schedule a free consultation with Janet Altschuler Criminal Defense Attorney. When you work with Attorney Altschuler, you aren’t hiring a paralegal or associate. You will work directly with her, benefiting from her considerable skill and knowledge in Tucson criminal defense.

Oklahoma Law May Result in Fines for Wearing a Hoodie

May 31, 2015

Cloak

These days, the hoody is a ubiquitous article of clothing. Nearly every person in the country owns a hoodie, and many like to wear them in public from time to time. If a proposed law in Oklahoma goes through, however, hoodie-wearers could be facing a fine of up to $500. Wearing a hoodie may constitute a crime of fashion, but is it really a crime crime?

Original Law

Strangely enough, a law against “hoodies” has been on the Oklahoma books since 1923. The original law banned the wearing of masks or hoods during the commission of a crime, and was specifically meant to deter the Ku Klux Klan in the state. If you commit a crime while wearing a hoodie in Oklahoma, you will charged at least twice—once for the crime, and once for wearing a hoodie while committing said crime.

Proposed Amendment

Just a few months ago, Oklahoma State Senator Don Barrington proposed an amendment to the existing law that would make wearing a hoodie in public illegal at all times—not just when committing a crime. Those seen wearing hoodies in public would be fined $500. The idea is apparently to discourage people from hiding their identity, which would theoretically make people less inclined to commit crimes.

Implications

The proposed amendment is, of course, utterly ridiculous. No matter how much the fashionistas in the fashion capitals of the world may want to police other people’s clothing, it’s simply a terrible idea. The hoodie is a comfy, practical, and incredibly popular article of clothing. Even if the amendment passed, it would be very difficult to enforce. Suddenly Oklahoma would become a state of outlaws.

If you’re accused of a crime—ridiculous or not—consider speaking with a skilled criminal defense attorney. Janet Altschuler of Tucson has more than 17 years of experience representing residents of Tucson and elsewhere in Arizona.

This article is part of a collection of The Most Ridiculous Laws in the United States! Some of these laws are downright hard to believe. Do you know what might be illegal in your state?

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Crazy Laws Out of Washington State

May 11, 2015

Bigfoot Outdoors

Most of the time, the law acts as a security blanket that helps everyone sleep a little better at night. However, there are times when the law is something of a nuisance, and still other times when it’s laughably absurd. Below are some laws that fall into the latter category. Washington State—named for the first American president—has plenty of laws that will make you scratch your head.

Harassing Bigfoot

In Skamania County, Washington, it is illegal to hunt, kill, or otherwise harass Bigfoot or any other hitherto undiscovered species. Really, the words “Bigfoot” and “Sasquatch” appear in the actual statute. Though the law was coincidentally passed on April 1st, it’s no joke. Anyone caught wantonly slaying or harassing Bigfoot could face a fine of up to $100,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison. If you happen to see Bigfoot in Washington State, give a respectful nod and continue on your way.

Pretending One’s Parents Are Rich

They say you should always be yourself. In Washington, however, this isn’t just apt life advice, it’s the law. Apparently it’s illegal to claim that you have rich parents. So how rich can you say your parents are before the eye of the law finds you? It’s unclear, but it’s probably best not to test it. The next time someone asks for an accurate estimate of your parents’ net worth, think very carefully.

Dancing and Drinking Simultaneously

For many people, dancing is not possible without first having a drink. Well, these folks are certainly out of luck if they happen to visit Lynden, Washington. Those caught drinking and dancing at the same time may need to face the music—and not in a fun way. Look at it this way—maybe the city magistrate enacted the law to prevent people from spilling their drinks.

Check out our past blog posts to learn about other ridiculous laws around the country. If you or someone you love is accused of a crime here in Arizona, contact the law office of Janet Altschuler. Our Tucson law office is equipped to handle all sorts of criminal cases, from DUI to juvenile crimes.

This article is part of a collection of The Most Ridiculous Laws in the United States! Some of these laws are downright hard to believe. Do you know what might be illegal in your state?

ridiculouslaws

A Look at Pima County Juvenile Justice Programs

May 11, 2015

Police officer with teen juvenile delinquent

Before the age of 18 is when people see the most personal development, and when they establish many of the habits they will carry into adulthood. Many youths show troubling signs of disobedience or unlawfulness at a young age, placing their futures at great risk. Harsh punishment is not the right answer for these troubled youths, which is why Pima County Arizona has developed several juvenile justice programs to help teens get back on the right track.

Disproportionate Minority Contact Intervention

Recent high-profile cases across the country have shed light on the mistreatment of racial minorities by police. Young people of color are unfairly targeted in Pima County, too. Fortunately, a number of programs are working hard to achieve equality. Disproportionate Minority Contact Model Intervention Project partners include Chicanos por la Causa, Community Partnership of Southern Arizona, and the Tucson Police Department.

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative
Arresting and detaining delinquent youths costs money and can have a negative impact on their futures. That’s why Pima County is exploring smart alternatives for correcting delinquent behavior. The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative works hard to foster cultural understanding, communication, and address underlying social problems. Thanks to the JDAI’s efforts, referrals and detentions have gone down significantly in the past 15 years.

Juvenile Justice Model Court

Once minors are detained, it’s important that they are treated 100% fairly. Juvenile Justice Model Court is dedicated to ensuring justice for all youth cases and developing practices that deliver the most socially responsible solutions for each individual. The JJMC helps make sure that youths have skilled representation, respect, and understanding.

Janet Altschuler is a Tucson criminal defense attorney with years of experience defending Arizona youths. If you have a child or younger sibling who has recently gotten into trouble with the law, reach out to our Tucson legal office. We’ll do everything we can to ensure that this criminal charge doesn’t disrupt your loved one’s life.

Understanding Arizona DUI Laws

April 28, 2015

To most people, a DUI arrest seems like something that happens to someone else. However, anyone can misjudge their drinking, get behind the wheel, and end up behind bars. All Arizona drivers should understand the DUI laws in the state and do their best to comply with them. If you find yourself in handcuffs, it’s important to hire a skilled Arizona criminal defense attorney.

Driving Under the Influence

In Arizona, as in all other states, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than .08%. In fact, it is illegal for a driver to have a BAC of more than .08% within two hours of driving. Commercial drivers may be charged with DUI if their BAC is above .04%.

Minors and DUI

It is illegal for a minor to drive after drinking any amount. For minors, any BAC over 0% will likely result in a DUI citation. That said, exemptions exist for religious ceremonies and medical treatments.

Aggravated DUI

Individuals caught driving with a BAC of .15% or more face harsher penalties than those caught with a BAC of .08% or more. An individual may be charged with aggravated DUI if he is caught driving impaired with a suspended license, or if he has had two DUI convictions within 7 years.

Consequences of Conviction

The penalties for DUI depend on a number of factors, and may include jail time, license suspension, and fines. The minimum punishment for a first offense is 24 hours in jail, a fine of at least $250, and at least a 90-day license suspension. A third offense may be punishable by at least four months in jail.

When accused of a crime, it’s always a good idea to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney—even if you feel there’s little chance of acquittal. Arizona criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler will help the court understand the complexity of your case and push for a reduced sentence at the very least.

 

More Ridiculous Laws That Are Still on the Books in the U.S.

April 21, 2015

All United States citizens are obligated to follow the nation’s laws. That said, there are some pretty goofy laws out there. Some laws are so goofy that they seem more like dares than legislation designed to safeguard public health. Here are a few silly laws from around the country that are still in effect.

Late Christmas Lights in Maine

In most parts of the country, folks are growing weary of the ever-growing Christmas season. However, no jurisdictions in the U.S. are taking steps to limit it—except Maine. In Maine, it is illegal to have Christmas decorations up past January 14th. Keeping decorations up past that date will result in warnings and fines.

Buying Drinks in Nevada

Considering how Las Vegas is the self-proclaimed “Entertainment Capital of the World,” you’d think the laws governing Nevada booze would be free-flowing. However, not all of Nevada is as much fun as Sin City. In the ghost town of Nyala, it is illegal for a person to buy drinks for more than three people other than himself.

Serving Butter Substitutes in Wisconsin Prisons

Living in a small cell? Fine. Only spending a few minutes outside each day? A-OK. But margarine? That’s cruel and unusual. This must be the thought process of legislators in Wisconsin, where it is illegal to serve butter substitutes in state prisons.

Waking a Sleeping Bear for a Photo Op in Alaska

Most people understand that waking a sleeping bear is probably a bad idea under any circumstances. This is why it’s all the more puzzling that Alaska would have a law forbidding folks from waking a bear for the purpose of taking a picture.

If you’re ever accused of a crime in Arizona—ridiculous or otherwise—let Tucson criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler argue on your behalf. Janet Altschuler has 17 years of experience representing Arizona residents who are accused of DUI, domestic violence, and other crimes.

This article is part of a collection of The Most Ridiculous Laws in the United States! Some of these laws are downright hard to believe. Do you know what might be illegal in your state?

ridiculouslaws

Potential Consequences of Violating Probation

April 14, 2015

Probation is a common alternative to incarceration that is available to individuals who meet the criteria. Instead of going to jail or prison, people placed under probation supervision can live at home provided they satisfy certain terms. These terms often include refraining from drug use, going to school, finding employment, and obeying the law. If you violate the terms of your probation, you could face some serious consequences.

Longer Probation

The longer you honor the terms of your probation, the sooner your probation period will be over. It’s not uncommon for judges to order additional probation in the event of a violation. Trying to cheat on your probation will only cause more distress in the long run.

Additional Terms

Most of the time, probation comes with a considerable number of terms, including going to school and finding gainful employment. If you do not responsibly honor those terms, the judge may add a few more terms. For example, using drugs during probation may lead to the additional requirement of drug treatment.

Home Detention

If you commit another crime while on probation, or otherwise prove that you are unfit to engage in civil society, the judge may order that you serve the rest of your probation term at home. You may be forced to wear a GPS device that tracks your position and alerts the authorities if you stray from home.

Jail Time

The most serious probation violations result in incarceration. Depending on the nature of the violation, you may have to spend the rest of your probation term in jail or prison, or even have your total punishment time extended.

If you believe that you are unfairly accused of violating the terms of your probation, reach out to criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler. Janet Altschuler has more than 17 years of experience representing the interests of Tucson residents, and she’ll gladly argue on your behalf.

Analyzing Strangest State Laws

April 7, 2015

In a free society, everything should be legal until legislators deem it to be harmful to public health. That’s the general idea that this country was founded on. If you look closely at law books around the country, however, you might suspect that some laws were ratified as a practical joke. Here are just a few strange state laws that you probably wouldn’t think to violate.

Making Fake Drugs in Arizona

It’s illegal to manufacture your own drugs in all U.S. jurisdictions. However, there generally aren’t any rules about making your own fake drugs. Arizona is different. In this state, it’s illegal to make, distribute, or even possess “imitation controlled substances.”

Bringing Your Pet to a Beauty Salon in Alaska

You’ve probably seen or heard about pet beauty salons in well-to-do areas in Los Angeles. Well, you definitely wouldn’t find any such an establishment in Juneau, Alaska, where it’s illegal to bring your pet to a beauty salon. If you want to give Mr. Tickles a pompadour, you’ll need to cross the border into British Columbia.

Wearing a Bulletproof Vest While Committing Another Crime in New Jersey

If you’re going to commit a crime in New Jersey, you might think it’s a good idea to wear a bulletproof vest. If you do, you better not get caught, or else you’ll be in double trouble. That’s right, the Garden State forbids its citizens from wearing bulletproof vests while committing certain crimes.

Wearing Saggy Pants in Michigan

London. Paris. Milan. New York. Flint, Michigan. These cities are known as global centers of fashion. Oh, except for Flint, where it is illegal to wear saggy pants. To be fair, it would probably be illegal to wear saggy pants in the other cities if fashionistas were allowed to make the rules.

No matter how strange the law can be, being charged with a crime can be scary. If you’ve been charged with DUI, domestic violence, or another crime in Arizona, turn to Tucson criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler.

Crazy Laws in Arizona: Marking a Flag

March 25, 2015

For some people, a flag stirs profound feelings of patriotism. For others, a flag stirs strong feelings of artistry. While the latter may not sound like such a bad thing, it can actually lead to handcuffs. The next time you have an urge to draw a kitten on Arizona’s copper star, you should keep in mind that marking the flag is actually illegal.

Origin of Flags as Symbols

To understand this law, you need to understand exactly what flags mean to some people. The use of flags can be traced at least back to ancient Rome, when standards helped distinguish and coordinate legions in battle. Once ocean travel became more common, flags began to be associated with various territories and city states both on and off the battlefield. Over time, citizens started feeling a special kinship with their flags—much as they felt with their home nations.

Defacing an Arizona Flag

Since many people associate flags with their beloved homeland, it’s no surprise that they would get offended by flag defacement. You might assume that laws protecting flags are actually protecting the state, as defacing such a potent symbol could theoretically be seen as a call to revolution. However, Arizona makes no mention of sedition in its statutes; rather, the law says it is illegal to deface a flag “in any manner likely to provoke immediate physical retaliation.” In other words, if your artistic additions to the Arizona flag are likely to earn you a punch in the face, you will get arrested.

Potential Consequences

Marking an Arizona flag is considered a class 2 misdemeanor, which means a conviction will earn you up to four months in jail, hundreds of dollars in fines, and a couple years of probation. Other class 2 misdemeanors include criminal trespassing and reckless driving. So if you were to draw on the Arizona flag while driving on your neighbor’s front lawn, you would be in serious trouble.

If you ever find yourself accused of a crime, ridiculous or otherwise, reach out to Janet Altschuler, a criminal defense attorney in Tucson. Janet Altschuler is dedicated to ensuring that Arizona residents receive fair and capable representation.

This article is part of a collection of The Most Ridiculous Laws in the United States! Some of these laws are downright hard to believe. Do you know what might be illegal in your state?

ridiculouslaws