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New Sentencing Bill Will Help Prosecutors Coerce Guilty Pleas From Drug Defendants

November 30, 2015

It’s already easy enough for attorneys do coerce a guilty plea from a defendant in a drug case: 97% of federal drug defendants end up pleading guilty. If that number sounds high, prepare for it to possibly go higher thanks to the new Sentencing Reform and Correction Act. Although there is a lot of excitement regarding this bill and its apparent benefits, like allowing people sentenced unfairly to possibly earn a sentence reduction, the act also gives prosecutors more power to force even more guilty pleas from drug defendants.

Currently, defendants in drug cases are coerced into pleading guilty due to the prosecution’s insistence on unfair punishments if the defendant refuses to plead guilty. In this case, “unfair” could mean life in prison for a simple felony drug conviction if the defendant already has been convicted twice. Basically, defendants are forced to choose between the already excessive 10 year sentence for a single drug conviction, or going to trial and possibly being sentenced to life, so it’s no surprise that so many drug defendants end up pleading guilty to avoid the possibility of life in prison. The power to hand down these types of sentences isn’t being limited by this act, it is being bolstered: and other crimes, like robbery, are now being added to the list of offenses that can result in these excessive sentences. This act is indicative of a continuing trend of unfair sentencing for people convicted of drug offenses, and incredibly enough, while the act claims to allow people sentenced unfairly, it still reinforces and enhances the practice of unfair sentencing.

It’s easy for prosecutors to force defendants into guilty pleas: that’s why you need an experienced and effective Tucson criminal defense attorney like Janet Altschuler. For over 20 years, Janet Altschuler has been standing up for clients accused of drug possession, robbery, domestic violence, and numerous other crimes. She is a responsive and formidable attorney who promises to treat all of her clients with respect and dignity. If you have been accused of a drug-related crime and you need someone in your corner, call the Tucson law offices of Janet Altschuler at 520-829-4460 or contact us online. Don’t let yourself be coerced into a guilty plea: call Janet today.

Answering Common Questions about Domestic Violence Charges

November 30, 2015

Considering that the net for domestic violence offences in Arizona has been cast very wide, there are a number of situations in which you or a loved one may be charged with domestic violence despite lack of evidence, lack of intent, or even lack of violence at all. And yet despite how easy it can be to have domestic violence charges brought against you, the consequences of being found guilty can be serious and far reaching. That’s why it’s important that you seek experienced legal counsel if you or a loved one is facing domestic violence charges in Tucson. Before you consult with a criminal defense attorney, read through this post for answers to some questions that you may have about domestic violence charges.

Q: Is domestic violence a misdemeanor or felony?

A: Domestic violence can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the seriousness of the incident. Misdemeanor domestic violence typically involves simple assault or battery and/or verbal abuse. Felony domestic violence is reserved for more serious cases that involve serious bodily harm, assault with a deadly weapon, inappropriate sexual conduct, and abuse to a minor. Misdemeanor domestic violence can also be elevated to a felony for a second or third offense.

Q: What are the penalties for a domestic violence conviction?

A: It depends on the seriousness of the incident and any other aggravating factors, such as a prior criminal record or multiple instances of domestic violence. In either case, the penalties for a domestic violence conviction can be severe and may include fines, probation, jail time, the loss of gun and voting privileges, mandatory anger management counseling, and the possibility of job loss and a damaged reputation among the community.

Q: Can the victim decide to drop the charges?

A: Although the victim can decide to drop the charges at any time, the ultimate decision to pursue the case rests in the hands of the prosecutor’s office. In domestic violence cases, the victim is simply a witness for the State of Arizona, who acts as the plaintiff in the case.

Q: What can I do to fight the charges?

A: Seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. In Tucson, Janet Altschuler brings more than 20 years of experience providing aggressive criminal defense to help individuals accused of domestic violence beat the charges against them. To schedule your initial consultation with Tucson’s domestic violence attorney, call the Law Office of Janet Altschuler at (520) 247-1789 or toll-free at (866) 377-7808.

New York’s Questionable State of Mind: Silly NY Laws

November 25, 2015

Attorney Janet Altschuler has dedicated her practice to defending those who face criminal charges in Tucson. While many of the clients who seek out Janet Altschuler for legal representation face trumped-up charges based on wildly outrageous laws, residents of Southern Arizona can at least take comfort in the fact that our state’s questionable laws aren’t nearly as bizarre as some of the laws in New York. As part of our continuing coverage of the weirdest and dumbest laws in America, we now turn our attention to the Empire State.

Adultery is a Misdemeanor

Adultery is certainly immoral, but illegal? Section 255.17 of New York’s penal code states that any person who commits adultery is subject to a class B misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 90 days in jail or a $500 fine. Although this century-old law is rarely enforced, about a dozen people have been charged with adultery in New York since the 1970s.

A Permit is Necessary to Camp Out on Your Own Land

People are normally allowed to do whatever they want on their own property so long as it doesn’t endanger or seriously disturb anyone else. In New York, however, it is against town ordinances to camp on your own land more than 72 hours a month, and a permit is necessary to camp out for two or more weeks. As if that wasn’t inconvenient enough, those permits can only be obtained once a year.

Distracted Cycling is a Crime

New York is one of many states in America that has passed laws against texting or making phone calls while driving a car, but New York is one of the few that extends the law to cyclists. Like most dumb laws this one is rarely enforced, but six tickets were handed out in 2014 to cyclists who were caught using a cellphone while biking.

If you or someone you care about is facing criminal charges in Tucson, contact Janet Altschuler today to schedule your initial consultation. Janet Altschuler has more than 20 years of experience in criminal law and is committed to providing her clients with the most aggressive legal representation to achieve optimal results. For legal help in Southern Arizona, call (520) 247-1879 or toll-free at (866) 377-7808.

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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3 Wacky Washington Laws You Won’t Believe

November 20, 2015

Did you know that it’s illegal to attach a vending machine to a utility pole in Washington without prior consent from the utility company? Or that people are not allowed to buy mattresses on Sundays? How about the fact that it’s illegal to pretend one’s parents are rich? These are just a few of the truly bizarre laws that exist in the Evergreen State. Truth be told, most of these dumb laws are long-forgotten statutes that are no longer enforced, but it can be quite entertaining to learn about some of the wacky laws in Washington and think about the scenarios that put these statutes on the books in the first place.

 

  • It’s Illegal to Harass Bigfoot – Under the Undiscovered Species Protection Act, it is illegal to harass Bigfoot, Sasquatch, or any other undiscovered ape-like creatures or subspecies of Homo Sapiens. If you travel to Washington with the intent of messing with Sasquatch, you can face a fine up to $100,000 and imprisonment for up to 10 years.

 

  • It’s Illegal to Unknowingly Enter a City with Criminal Intentions – If you plan to commit a crime in any city in Washington, you better let the chief of police know in advance. That’s because it’s mandatory in Washington for motorists with criminal intentions to stop at the city limits and phone the chief of police before entering the town.

 

  • It’s Illegal to Destroy Beer Bottles without Written Consent – Ever broken a beer bottle and received a $1 fine? If not, you’ve never broken a bottle in Washington. According to RCW 19.76.110, anyone who “wantonly” destroys a beer bottle without written consent is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a $1 fine for each and every bottle destroyed.

These laws are certifiably bizarre, but are they really any more outrageous than some of the laws in Arizona that put good people behind bars? Janet Altschuler doesn’t think so, which is why she is committed to providing aggressive legal representation for individuals facing misdemeanor and felony charges in Tucson. To speak with a criminal defense attorney with more than  years of experience dedicated to criminal law, call the Law Office of Janet Altschuler at (520) 247-1789 or toll-free at (866) 377-7808.

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

Illegal Tattoos and Other Crazy South Carolina Laws

November 15, 2015 Criminal Defense Lawyer in Tucson, AZ

Arizona has its fair share of “dumb” laws, which is why it’s not uncommon to find yourself in need of a criminal defense attorney without knowingly committing a crime. However, Arizona’s craziest laws pale in comparison to those of the Palmetto State. Here’s a look at some of the strangest and most utterly absurd laws still on the books in South Carolina

  • Despite the fact that tattoos are now legal in South Carolina, getting inked in the state is still technically considered an offense.
  • Under South Carolina law, railroad companies may be held liable for scaring horses, even the ones wearing pants; that’s right, it’s also law that horses wear pants at all times in some parts of the state.
  • A permit is required in order to legally fire a missile—which might not sound weird at first until you think about the act that must have occurred in the first place to put this law into effect.
  • It is considered illegal for a man to propose marriage to an unmarried woman and not fulfill his promise, which should definitely make you think twice about falling in love in South Carolina.
  • Although it sounds like the plot of Footloose, South Carolina law prohibits dance halls to operate on Sundays—and musical instruments may not be sold on this day either.
  • South Carolina prohibits any person from changing their clothes in a gas station without permission, taking the “No Shirts, No Shoes” policy to a whole new level.

It’s fun to read about some of the dumbest laws in our country, but it’s quite another experience when you find yourself in trouble with the law for breaking what may be considered a dumb law in its own right. In Tucson, criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler works aggressively to get the best results possible for her clients. If you are in need of legal representation, call (520) 247-1789 or toll-free at (866) 377- 7808 to schedule a consultation with Janet Altschuler today.

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

Looking at Crazy Laws that Are Also Scary Laws!

October 31, 2015

Any level-headed citizen tends to think of the law as a means to protect the people and maintain a functioning society, but there are some laws on the books that may be a bit surprising and counterintuitive in terms of preserving the greater good. Many of these laws are the result of Supreme Court decisions made decades ago that have simply never been overturned. As a consequence, it is possible to suffer a strange and unfortunate fate that may involve some of the following scary situations.

Eminent domain

It’s a terrifying reality that any home or business owner at any given time can be asked, or rather forced, to vacate their property and sell it to the highest bidder. Or, more realistically, the only bidder offering a non-negotiable price for the property. While this often takes place to improve and expand public lands, the laws of eminent domain actually go a step further and allow corporations to step in and purchase whatever land they seek, even if people already live and do business there. A 2005 Supreme Court ruling determined that local governments can essentially sell off land to any corporation that demands it so long as the price is right. Unfortunately, the profits are not often passed along to property owners.

Racial imprisonment

Among the darker chapters in American history is the internment of Japanese-American citizens during WWII, which took place for fear of Japanese espionage, which famously did not occur at any point during the war. In the case of Korematsu v. United States, it was determined that an entire race of American citizens could be imprisoned should they pose a legitimate threat to national security. The law has never been taken off the books, but it has actually been used to influence more positive laws that discourage discrimination, such as desegregation of schools.

Toxic waste dumping

Despite the Clean Water Act, which intended to protect drinking water from the dumping of toxic waste in fresh water sources by mining companies, it is still perfectly legal to dump toxic waste when it is given the right label. One huge loophole that exists in this act is states that “fill material” can be dumped into fresh water areas to create a damn, and, as history has demonstrated in Kensington, Alaska, “fill material” can mean just about anything—including poisonous toxic waste.

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

Don’t Mess with Texas’s Crazy Laws!

October 28, 2015

Texas has a reputation for being set in its ways, which may explain why the state has its fair share of strange laws that could bring up some rather odd court cases. For example, the state of Texas prohibits shooting a buffalo from the second story of a hotel. This oddly specific law is just one of many that exists in the state, proving that there are many different ways one might attempt to mess with Texas. Read on for a closer look at the quirky laws that exist in the Lone Star State.

The Encyclopedia Britannica is banned in Texas

If you have a quest for knowledge in the state of Texas, you’d better reach for the World Book, because the Encyclopedia Britannica is banned in the state. Why you ask? The encyclopedia contains a formula for making beer at home, which, incidentally is not illegal so long as you keep the yield of your batch under 200 gallons. When drinking beer, be careful how frequently you sip, because drinking more than 3 sips of beer at a time while standing is also prohibited by state law.

The state flower has an official song

You probably know that every state has an official flower, insignia, flag, and coat of arms, but lawmakers may have too much time on their hands when they start declaring official mushrooms, microbes, dinosaurs, tartans, cooking implements, and firearms of the state. Texas took this one step further by giving the state flower, the bluebonnet, an official song of the same name. In case you were wondering, the officially preferred cooking implement of the state of Texas is the Dutch oven, which is frequently used to fire up batches of the state dish, chili con carne.

Criminals must declare their intent to commit crimes

In an effort to reduce crime in the state, a law was passed requiring criminals to give their victims 24 hours’ notice of their intent to commit a crime. So far, it seems that the law has not effectively cut down crime rates in the state of Texas.

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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DUI and Marijuana

October 25, 2015

DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” This offense refers to individuals charged with operating a motor vehicle while suffering impairment related to a chemical drug, including alcohol and many types of prescription medications. In the state of Arizona, marijuana is a tightly-regulated drug legal only for medical purposes; however, a DUI issued for driving under the influence of medical marijuana may be dismissed, depending on your situation and the type of evidence cited during your case.

Understanding DUIs

Arizona law states that it is unlawful for an individual to control a vehicle while a drug or its metabolite is in their system. Metabolites are chemicals created by the body as it metabolizes a food or substance, including drugs and alcohol. Because they are the direct results of drug ingestion, metabolites are often used as tracers of certain drugs, even if the actual drug itself is no longer present in the body. Blood, urine, and breath tests may be used in cases of traffic stops determine whether a given drug or its metabolite is present in the body at the time of the stop.

Marijuana and DUIs

As marijuana is metabolized by the body, two different metabolites are created, which can be identified via blood and urine tests. While one of these metabolites is known to cause impairment, the other does not, but can remain in the body for several weeks following marijuana use. Although the wording of Arizona law regarding DUIs and marijuana is somewhat ambiguous, an Arizona Supreme Court ruling in 2014 clarified the issue, determining that the presence of the long-term non-psychoactive marijuana metabolite in the blood does not indicate impairment under DUI law.

If you have been charged with a DUI in Tucson, Janet Altshuler can help. Our practice offers experienced advice and legal defense in DUI and drug possession cases. Please visit our website or call us at (520) 247-1789 or toll-free at (866) 377-7808 to speak with a criminal defense attorney today or request a free consultation.

What is Statutory Rape?

October 21, 2015

Each state in the United States observes a legal age of consent. Individuals above this age are considered able to legally consent to sexual activities. When an individual that has not yet reached the age of consent engages in sexual activities with a party above the age of consent, the older party may be charged with statutory rape, which is a serious sex crime.

Understanding Statutory Rape

Rape is a serious criminal offense that constitutes the forcing of an individual to engage in non-consensual sexual activities via physical force, threat, or other duress. Statutory rape, however, encompasses any sexual activity, consensual or non-consensual, that includes an individual below the age of consent. Thus, a person may be charged with statutory rape even if a minor engaged in sexual acts willingly or no type of force or duress was involved. In this case, the charge of rape refers to the inability of a minor to give consent for sex under the law. If a minor is forced or coerced into sexual activities, the offending individual may be charged with aggravated rape or child molestation, rather than statutory rape.

Understanding Statutory Rape in Arizona

Statutory rape charges are made based on state laws. In Arizona, the age of consent is 18. Thus, any sexual relationship with an individual less than 18 years of age may carry with it a charge of statutory rape. Arizona law considers statutory rape a felony, with sentencing dependent upon the age of the parties involved and the type of sexual interactions that occurred. The penalties for statutory rape in Arizona include fines, time spent in prison, or a combination of these two punishments; repeat offenders face greater penalties for subsequent convictions.

The Tucson law office of Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law is available to provide the help you need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can reach us by calling (520) 247-1789 or (866) 377-7808 (toll-free) to discuss your legal needs. We also invite you to stop by our website for more information about firm or to read through our other informative blog articles.

You May Not Be Crazy, But These Laws Sure Are!

September 30, 2015

Although the vast majority of state laws are put in place to protect residents, some state laws exist that make little sense. Many silly or crazy state laws are simply outdated, but some are so ridiculous that it’s not clear how or why they were ever enacted in the first place. Crazy laws can be found in every state in the union; while they are generally not enforced, these laws technically remain in effect until they are overturned.

Nevada’s Liquor Law

In Nyala, Nevada, there is a legal limitation to the number of people for whom a man may purchase drinks. The letter of the law makes it illegal for a man to buy drinks for more than three other people, not including himself, at any one time during a single day.

Florida’s Gator Law

One of the most famous crazy state laws belongs to Florida. In Florida, it is illegal to tie an alligator to a fire hydrant. Although this law gained notice through its reference to alligators, the actual letter of the law states that fire hydrants may not be blocked in any way, including tying an alligator or any other animal to the hydrant.  

Tennessee’s Password Law

In Tennessee, a recent law made it illegal for residents to share their Netflix password with others. While this law was created in an attempt to prevent the theft and illegal sale of entertainment site and service passwords, the actual letter of the law technically allows it to be used against friends and families who share a single account.

Although these crazy state laws are not enforced, most state laws play an important role in determining criminal activity and its punishment. Attorney Janet Altschuler is here to provide legal counsel and representation if you have been charged with a crime in Tucson. You can find out more about Attorney Altschuler and why you should hire a criminal defense attorney for help on our website or by calling (520) 829-1741; you can also reach our toll-free number at (866) 377-7808.

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