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Finding Ridiculous Laws Throughout the States

March 4, 2015

Most of the time, the law is serious business. Every once in a while, however, you come across a law so ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh a little. Each state in this great nation has its own book of laws, and each book has a few genuine head-scratchers and knee-slappers. Without further ado, here are a few silly laws from across America.

Arkansas

Most people will agree that winning a free game of pinball is a true blessing. In Arkansas, how however, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. No pinball machine is allowed to give a player more than 25 free games. How are pinball wizards supposed to work their magic with a measly 24 free games?

Illinois

If you plan on becoming a salamander collector, you should probably stay away from Illinois. According to an oft-quoted Illinois rule, it is illegal to own more than $600 worth of salamanders in the state. To be fair, the law actually pertains to all illegally captured aquatic life. In any case, Illinois probably won’t make salamanders their official state currency anytime soon.

New Hampshire

How often do you get the urge to collect seaweed? Pretty often, right? Well, if you visit New Hampshire, you’ll need to seriously curb your maritime harvesting—at least until daybreak—for it is illegal to collect seaweed at night. So if you wake up in the middle of the night with an insatiable craving for fresh homemade sushi, you’re fresh out of luck.

Utah

Don’t even think about shooting a missile at a bus or bus station in Utah. You’ll get in trouble. Come to think of it, you’ll probably get in trouble if you hurl a missile at anything. Strangely enough, commercial security personnel are exempt from this law. Huh.

Though we didn’t include them here, Arizona has its fair share of goofy laws. If you ever find yourself accused of a crime in Arizona, reach out to Tucson criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler. Our office handles a wide variety of cases, from domestic abuse to drunk driving.

 

A Look at Domestic Violence Laws in Arizona

February 25, 2015

Getting charged and convicted of domestic violence can have a huge impact on your life. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding a domestic violence incident, you deserve a robust defense organized by a skilled criminal defense attorney. It’s also a good idea to learn about domestic violence laws in Arizona so you can avoid domestic violence charges in the first place.

Types of Domestic Violence

Many people think that domestic violence only occurs between married couples. Domestic violence is defined as violence or the threat of violence between any two people who share a house, are or have been romantically involved, or are related by blood or marriage. This includes children and stepchildren. Contrary to popular belief, females aren’t the only victims of domestic violence—men are often victims, too.

Probable Cause

An officer may arrest an individual with or without a warrant if the officer has probable cause to believe that domestic violence has been committed. Probable cause might include the presence of an injury, or if an individual is using a weapon to threaten or intimidate another. An officer might arrest both parties involved if he or she believes that each person committed independent acts of domestic violence. Self-defense acts are not considered domestic violence, and will not result in charges.

Consequences of Conviction

A domestic violence conviction can lead to a variety of consequences, depending on the circumstances of the incident. A conviction can make it very difficult to get a job, or prevent an individual from obtaining a firearm. Some people have restraining orders taken out against them, or lose custody of their children. Immigrants convicted of domestic violence may even be deported.

While you might think that domestic violence is something that should be handled within your family, the state of Arizona doesn’t agree. If you’re facing domestic violence charges, let Janet Altschuler organize your defense. Janet Altschuler is a Tucson criminal defense attorney with more than 17 years of experience.

No Whaling Allowed, and Other Crazy Oklahoma Laws

February 20, 2015

There was a time when Oklahoma was considered a frontier. Back then, strange laws maybe didn’t seem so strange. Then again, it’s hard to imagine a world in which the following rules actually benefited society.

No Sharing Hamburgers

In Oklahoma, it’s supposedly forbidden to take a bite of another’s hamburger or let another person take a bite of your hamburger. Now what could be the purpose of this law? Preventing the spread of disease? Maybe. Or maybe lawmakers got sick of their colleagues stealing bites at Oklahoma Legislature picnics: “Representative Johnson, get your paws off my Big Mac at once!”

No Wearing Boots to Bed

Wearing boots to bed isn’t just tacky—it’s against the law in Oklahoma. Even if you’re just coming off of a 16-hour day of wrestling hogs, shucking corn, and bucking hay, you need to take your boots off before collapsing into bed. You can count sheep—just don’t try to wrangle them.

No Pretend Sex with Buffaloes

In the state of Oklahoma, the owner of a bar cannot permit patrons to engage in simulated sex acts with buffaloes. Technically, the statute actually prohibits all kinds of real and simulated sex acts in bars, but some esteemed citizens think it’s funny to bring buffaloes into the mix. Besides, everyone knows you should buy the buffalo a drink first.

No Whaling

Whales are some of the most majestic creatures on the planet. However, since Oklahoma is a landlocked state, it seems pretty strange for there be a “no whaling” law on the books. Imagine a conversation between a confused Oklahoman and a state legislator: “Why is there a ‘no whaling’ law?” “Well, to prevent you from hunting whales, of course.” “But I literally can’t.” “Great! It works!”

While it’s fun to laugh at other state laws, Arizona has a few strange laws of its own. If you are charged with a crime in Arizona, trust Tucson criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler. Our legal team will represent your interests in court and make sure you are treated fairly.

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

Debunking Myths About Maricopa County’s Crazy House Laws

February 12, 2015

Laws are charged with regulating nearly all aspects of human behavior. Since this is in many ways an overwhelming responsibility, there are bound to be some laws that seem bizarre. There are also laws that were relevant when they were first passed, but then became obsolete over time. Some of these laws are so ingrained in people’s minds that they still have an impact on their behavior. Maricopa County’s bizarre housing law is a prime example.

The Myth

In Maricopa County, it’s widely believed that no more than six unrelated women can live together in a house. You’re probably scratching your head, thinking, “Now why would this be a law?” Well, the underlying assumption is that any place with more than six women must be a brothel. This law is, of course, sexist and absurd, and has no place in the 21st century.

The Truth

In fact, there is no law that prohibits more than six women from living in a house together. A brothel is defined by what occurs inside, not by how many women live within its walls. Some of the confusion may stem from a City of Tempe residential requirement, which states that no more than three people who are not related may live in a single-family dwelling together. The real law has nothing to do with gender.

The Effect

Despite what the law says, many people still believe that it’s illegal for more than six women to live together. Perhaps the biggest effect of this perceived law is the lack of sorority houses at Arizona State University. Some women who want to form sororities don’t even try because they believe the law is against them.

The law can sometimes be difficult to understand. If you have been charged with a crime in Tucson or elsewhere in Arizona, consider calling criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler. Having spent time as a prosecutor, Ms. Altschuler understands both sides of criminal cases.

Different Types of Violent Criminal Charges

February 5, 2015

While there are many laws on the books that some people might take issue with, everyone agrees that there should be laws against violent crimes. That said, no one should be convicted of a violent crime without first hiring a criminal defense attorney to argue their side of the story. If you are accused of one of the following violent crimes, consider reaching out to Janet Altschuler of Tucson.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is defined as any armed attack or attempted attack, or any unarmed attack that results in serious injury. If the accused uses a weapon, he or she may be charged with aggravated assault regardless of whether the victim suffered any injuries. Simple assault is a physical attack or threat that results in minor injuries or no injuries at all.

Sexual Assault

Rape, a type of sexual assault, is defined as “forced sexual intercourse including both psychological coercion as well as physical force.” Sexual assault may also involve nonconsensual penetration with foreign objects. A verbal threat of rape is considered a type of attempted rape, and may result in criminal charges. Other types of sexual assault include groping, sexual abuse of children, and sexual harassment. Sexual assault and domestic violence are often related.

Hate Crime Victimization

A hate crime is any criminal incident motivated by prejudice, whether it’s based on the victim’s race, sexual orientation, gender, or another distinguishing factor. Any type of sexual assault or aggravated assault may also be considered a hate crime if it’s clear that the victim was specifically targeted for any of the reasons mentioned above. As you can imagine, there is some gray area when it comes to identifying hate crimes; that’s why it’s important to hire an attorney when facing hate crime charges.

Violent crime convictions come with serious consequences. If you have been charged, contact the office of Janet Altschuler, a criminal defense attorney in Tucson. Janet Altschuler will gladly lend her 17 years of experience to your case.

Don’t Try Smuggling Skunks Across the Tennessee State Line

January 25, 2015

Wouldn’t it be nice to put a universal moratorium on unpleasantness? Could you imagine if it was suddenly illegal to frown, or if everyone was required to stay inside on rainy days? The great state of Tennessee has already started down this path, apparently—at least when it comes to skunks. According to Statute 70-4-208, it is illegal to import or possess a skunk in Tennessee.

If skunks weren’t so smelly, you might think they were cute. From a distance, a fuzzy black-and-white skunk could be mistaken for a cat. Unfortunately, skunks are at least as defensive and stinky as they are adorable. If you get too close, you can expect a face full of foul-smelling spray. Even bears are dissuaded by the skunk’s powerful odor.

Believe it or not, the skunk’s infamous defense mechanism is not the main reason for Tennessee’s ban on skunk smuggling. Skunks are common carriers of rabies; intentionally allowing more skunks into Tennessee could potentially increase the prevalence of rabies within the state. Still, the skunk’s general unpleasantness probably had something to do with the law’s passage.

The next time you take your pet skunk on a road trip, you might consider steering clear of Tennessee, as crossing into the state with a skunk is considered a Class C misdemeanor. It may be permissible to place a skunk near the border and let him walk across on his own. If you think that attempting such a feat is a good idea, however, getting caught for skunk smuggling is probably the least of your concerns.

For legal advice and guidance in Tucson, AZ or the surrounding areas, schedule an appointment with Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law. Janet Altschuler has experience as a JAG Air Force prosecutor, a criminal prosecutor, and a criminal defense lawyer.

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

Ever Wonder Why You Can’t Pump Your Own Gas in New Jersey or Oregon?

January 14, 2015

Many car owners take pride in caring for their vehicles. These people enjoy washing and waxing their cars in the driveway, changing the oil, and replacing worn parts. If you consider yourself a motor head, you might feel a twinge of irritation whenever you cross the border into Oregon or New Jersey, where it’s illegal to pump your own gas.

What’s the deal? you might ask. Are people in Oregon and New Jersey less intelligent than people in other states? In fact, intelligence has nothing to do with it. Though self-serve gas stations are now the norm, they were nonexistent when cars first came on the scene. The first self-serve station didn’t open until 1947.

New Jersey and Oregon banned self-serve stations in 1949 and 1951 to stem the terrifying, earth-shattering trend of pumping one’s own gas. The states’ legislatures cited the safety hazards of petroleum as grounds for their respective bans. Apparently fuel nozzles are better off in the hands of teenagers. If you get caught trying to pump your own gas in Oregon today, you might get hit with a $500 fine.

You can balk at Oregon and New Jersey’s bans on self-service, but many residents in these states enjoy sitting in their cars while someone else does the work—especially on cold winter nights or hot summer days. Also, full-service gas stations really do improve safety and create thousands of jobs in Oregon and New Jersey. Gas station attendant may not be a deeply fulfilling vocation, but it comes with a steady paycheck.

Even if it’s sometimes absurd and archaic, the law’s the law, and all citizens are obligated to walk the line. Still, that doesn’t mean you should give up when faced with absurd charges. For help with legal matters in the Tucson area, turn to criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler.

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

You Can’t Drive With an Uncaged Bear in Missouri? Aw, They Don’t Let You Do ANYTHING!

January 13, 2015

Laws are made to protect citizens. Some laws are carefully drafted and revised to help ensure the highest level of safety, while others are little more than common sense. For example, Missouri explicitly bans motorists from having uncaged bears in their vehicles. Thank goodness! Isn’t it a relief to know that lawmakers are willing to address such important issues?

If you’re driving through Missouri and see a bear on the side of the road, resist the urge to stop and pick him up—even if he’s sticking out a claw and holding a cardboard sign that reads “Kansas City.”

If you’re eager to drive around with a bear in your car, you might try to find a loophole. For instance, you might slap a pair of sunglasses on your bear friend and let him drive. This is not advisable. Say what you will about Missouri police, they can probably tell the difference between a human and a bear with sunglasses.

Note that the law only forbids uncaged bears. If you happen to own a bear cage, you can transport bears wherever you like within the state of Missouri. However, getting a bear to willingly enter a cage is a different story.

Frankly, most Missouri motorists probably wouldn’t think to transport uncaged bears. This law seems less like a public safety measure and more like an open dare to Missouri outlaws—people who bend the rules just because they can. It’s only a matter of time before hardened bikers start riding around with bears in their sidecars.

Traffic laws—no matter how outlandish—can come with serious consequences. For help addressing your traffic-related charges, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with Janet Altschuler of Tucson. Janet Altschuler is an experienced criminal defense attorney who is dedicated to defending Tucson residents.

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

What to Do If You Are Charged with a DUI

January 11, 2015

Like most drivers, you probably assume that you could never be charged with a DUI. However, there’s always a chance that a police officer could catch you at the worst possible moment, put you in handcuffs, and begin the formal booking process. Even if you’re fairly certain that you will be convicted, you should consider having a skilled lawyer help you address your charges and represent your interests in court.

Post Bail

Shortly after you are charged, a judge will set a bail amount that is directly related to the seriousness of your alleged offense. The bail amount can be anywhere from $50 to thousands of dollars if you are a repeat offender. Once you post bail, you can await your future court dates from home. If a family member cannot provide enough bail money, you might consider obtaining a bail bond.

Contact a Lawyer

Calling a lawyer is the best thing you can do after being charged with a DUI. An attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected while you’re being held in custody. During your arrest, you’ll hear the phrase, “You have the right to remain silent.” To prevent yourself from incriminating yourself, you should exercise this right and let your attorney do the talking for you.

Organize Your Defense

Together, you and your DUI attorney will discuss the details of the case, investigate the circumstances surrounding the arrest, and organize your defense. If the arresting officer fails to follow the proper protocol, it might be possible to get your charges dropped. Even if there’s little doubt that you are guilty, an experienced lawyer can help secure a fair plea deal.

You should never accept your charges without seeking legal representation. If you or a loved one is currently facing DUI charges, contact Janet Altschuler, a criminal defense attorney in Tucson. Janet has been defending clients for nearly 20 years, and she has what it takes to help you navigate the criminal justice system.

Don’t Forget to Close the Fence in Wyoming!

January 10, 2015

This country is split into states partly because each region has its own particular concerns. For example, Florida is one of the only states with laws that specifically protect manatees, while Colorado has laws designed to protect downhill skiers. Wyoming, which is the least populous state in the country, has laws designed to protect cattle.

It is illegal to leave a livestock fence open in Wyoming. Those found guilty of doing so may be fined up to $750. The cattle population is more than double the person population in Wyoming. Since cattle farming accounts for such a large portion of the state’s economy, it makes sense for the law to protect Wyoming’s bovine citizens.

The law doesn’t just protect Wyoming’s cows—it’s also an important public safety measure. If cows are allowed to escape their enclosures, they may wander onto the highway and cause an auto accident. The law protects cattle ranchers, too, as it reduces the likelihood of losing valuable heads of cattle.

In addition to keeping their gates closed, ranchers are responsible for replacing broken fences or missing bars. After all, a section of missing fence is basically the same as an open gate.

If you ever visit Wyoming, be sure to close any gates that you open. Though leaving a gate open may grant freedom to a few lucky cows, it will also lead to a hefty fine and an uncomfortable encounter with an angry rancher.

Even if you consider yourself a law-abiding citizen, there’s always a chance that you’ll get in trouble with the law. If you ever face criminal charges in the Tucson area, let criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler protect your interests. The criminal justice system is more complicated than you realize; it’s important to have a seasoned expert help you navigate it.

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