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Update Your Goofy Laws, Pennsylvania!

May 31, 2016

Pennsylvania holds a place of high esteem in America’s history. This state was one of the country’s 13 founding colonies, as well as the site of the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution. However, even a proud state such as Pennsylvania is not without its own set of goofy, outdated, and just plain ridiculous laws.

It is illegal to have over 16 women live in a house together

Large families should be a source of pride—however, they can also be a source of legal trouble as well. In the state of Pennsylvania, it is illegal for more than 16 women to live in a single house together. This silly law was drafted to prevent the creation and maintenance of brothels, but the letter of the law appears to say nothing about the ages or relationships of the women, potentially turning a loving family home or even a college dorm into a brothel in the eyes of Pennsylvania’s lawmakers.

It is illegal to sleep on top of a refrigerator outdoors

It’s admittedly slightly unclear why Pennsylvania felt the need to create a legal barrier to sleeping atop a refrigerator outdoors. Perhaps the state simply realized that this is not a valid way to stay cool during a warm, humid summer night. While Pennsylvania appears to ban this type of behavior outdoors, this silly state law at least implies that if you must sleep on top of your refrigerator, you may legally do so inside your own home.

You may not catch a fish by any body part except the mouth

Pennsylvania appears to have strangely strict laws about the catching of fish throughout the state. Fishermen must limit their fish-catching techniques to strategies and tools that catch the fish by the mouth only, as catching a fish by a fin, tail, or any other body part is deemed illegal. Given this type of fishing restriction, you may not be surprised to discover that an additional state law specifies that “dynamite is not to be used to catch fish.”

Silly Laws from South Carolina

May 26, 2016

South Carolina has suffered a bit of a checkered past—less than 100 years after its admission into the United States in 1788, it was the first state to secede from the Union in 1860, prior to the Civil War. The state was readmitted in 1868 and is today considered one of the country’s most beautiful eastern states; however, it is not without its silly state laws.  

A person must be eighteen years old to play a pinball machine

In South Carolina, “children” and “juveniles” are defined under the law as any individual less than seventeen years of age. The state maintains several “status offenses” for juveniles, which are behaviors that would not be considered illegal if committed by an adult, but which are not permissible for juveniles—chief among these is “playing a pinball machine.” This law remains in effect even today as part of the South Carolina Code of Laws under the state’s Juvenile Justice Code.

If a man promises to marry an unmarried woman, the marriage must take place

Not only does South Carolina seem to take juvenile behavior very seriously, the state also takes marriage proposals seriously as well. By law, any male over the age of sixteen who promises to marry a woman as part of a deception and does not carry through with this promise is guilty of a misdemeanor. However, if the male marries the woman in question, either before or after his conviction, he is absolved of guilt.

Railroad companies may be held liable in some instances for scaring horses

A spooked horse is no joke, and South Carolina recognizes the severity of this situation. This is why state law specifies several requirements for railroad operators, which can be found liable for damages and subjected to a fine if any employees are found guilty of violating statutes put in place to prevent scared horses. These statutes require the use of electric hand lanterns when switching or moving trains, as well as govern the removal and operation of hand cars from the tracks to avoid approaching trains.

What to Do If You Suspect Domestic Violence

May 19, 2016

Domestic violence is defined as any type of aggressive or violent behavior that occurs within the home. This type of violence is most often instigated by a partner or spouse, and can include both physical and verbal abuse. In the state of Arizona, it is estimated that an individual dies every three days as a result of domestic violence, and many of these deaths are preventable—keep reading to find out the steps you can take to help neighbors, friends, and even family members if you suspect they may be the victim of domestic violence.

Take Notice of the Signs

In the vast majority of cases, domestic violence deaths do not occur without warning. There are often several warning signs noticeable to outsiders, including screaming, threatening comments, and even noticeable bruising or other injuries. The key to preventing serious injuries or deaths related to domestic violence is to take notice of these signs, rather than ignoring them or convincing yourself they are a normal part of a relationship or a marriage—while arguments are natural, violence and abuse are not.

Act on Your Instincts

Friends and neighbors of domestic violence victims often say they knew something was wrong, but never took action for fear of appearing controlling or nosy. However, it is this failure to act that so often results in the serious consequences of domestic violence and abuse. If you suspect that someone you know is a victim of abuse, don’t be afraid to speak up—if you feel comfortable confronting the individual, ask if they are all right and if they need help. Alternatively, you can call the police when fights occur or contact a local or national crisis hotline for advice on the steps to take if you aren’t comfortable approaching the situation directly.

If you need help handling domestic abuse, Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law can offer experienced legal counsel and support. Please call our Tucson law office today at (520) 247-1789, or visit our website to learn more about domestic violence and how it is handled in Arizona.

A Look at Different Types of Drug Charges

May 12, 2016

Individuals who are arrested on a drug charge may face conviction under state or federal laws. While federal charges are often associated with longer, harsher sentences, the state of Arizona maintains several severe drug laws as well; thus, it is essential to understand the type of charges you may be facing, as well as their consequences. If you are facing drug charges in Tucson, it’s important to contact an experienced defense attorney to reduce or dismiss these charges.

Drug Possession

Possession is one of the most common drug charges an individual is likely to face. This type of charge can range from simple possession of a drug or controlled substance on your body or property to possession with the intent to distribute or sell that drug to others. In most cases, the type of possession charge and the consequences you will face are determined by the amount of the drug found by arresting officers or detectives.

Drug Trafficking

Unlike simple drug possession, drug trafficking typically involves the transport of large quantities of controlled substances, including prescription drugs, with the intent to distribute or sell them. If you are charged with drug trafficking, you may face persecution under both federal and state laws, and penalties range from several-year jail sentences to lifetime imprisonment.

Drug Manufacturing and Delivery

Drug manufacturing charges may be brought against you if you are found to be associated with any step in the process of drug production. It is important to note that while medical marijuana is regulated differently than other controlled substances, a dispensary license is still required to grow medical marijuana and strict guidelines must be followed to avoid violating the regulations surrounding marijuana production.

Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law has extensive experience dealing with drug charges in the state of Arizona. She can help you fight the consequences of any drug charge to eliminate the long-term effects of a drug-related incident on your record. You can find out more about Ms. Altschuler on our website, or call (520) 247-1789 to request an appointment immediately.

Seven of the Most Incredible Celebrity Domestic Violence Stories

April 27, 2016

If you even have a causal relationship with TMZ, you know that celebrities are not immune from getting into trouble. Quite the opposite, in fact! There are many ways to get into legal trouble, but one of the most common is to be charged with domestic violence: and that’s what this article is all about. Here are seven of the most famous celebrity domestic violence cases!

#1: Dennis Rodman


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If you remember former Chicago Bull Dennis Rodman, chances are you’re not terribly surprised to see him on this list. The star forward and noted friend of North Korean dictators was arrested for a 2008 domestic violence incident in an LA hotel.

#2: Charlie Sheen

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Good old Charlie Sheen. What would the gossip column do without him? In addition to his fondness for partying, he’s also been nabbed for domestic violence on numerous occasions, most recently in 2011.

#3: Sean Penn


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Is Sean Penn best known for his role as Harvey Milk? How about for his turn in I Am Sam? Well, on this list he’s known for being rumored to have abused his then-wife, Madonna (although he was never arrested for it.)

#4: Terrence Howard

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Would you believe that Terrence Howard has been arrested for domestic violence three times? It’s true: if you ever find yourself facing a charge of domestic violence, he may be the guy to ask for advice.

#5: Emma Roberts


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Our first female entrant on the list, Emma Roberts proves that women can be arrested for domestic violence too. She caught the case and made headlines for bloodying (and biting!) her boyfriend’s nose in Canada.

#6: Chris Brown

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I actually debated including this one, given that everyone in the world probably knows about it already. Regardless, the Chris Brown domestic violence case is incredible simply because it’s more famous than his music is: he made headlines around the world for assaulting his girlfriend Rihanna in 2009.

#7: Floyd Mayweather

7Needless to say, Floyd Mayweather does a lot of fighting in and out of the ring.

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If you’re like the people on this list and are facing a domestic violence charge, don’t waste any more time reading about celebrities: call Tucson criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler instead! I’ve spent the last 20 years helping Southern Arizonans beat their charges in court, and I have the skills and knowledge to help you do the same! Call my office at (520) 408-1122 or contact me online to find out more information.

Check out These Crazy Laws Before Visiting Michigan!

May 4, 2016 Michigan laws

The state of Michigan is the United States’ tenth most populous state and the eleventh largest in terms of total area. It is the only state in the country to consist of two distinct peninsulas, which are separated by the Straits of Mackinac. Although this state is known for its extensive natural beauty, it is also the home of several strange, outdated, and simply silly laws you won’t find in any other state.

Cars may not be sold on Sunday

Michigan has a long history intertwined with the automotive industry. However, if you plan to purchase a new car in Michigan, you won’t be able to accomplish this task legally on one particular day of the week. Since 1953, it has been illegal for any person or business to buy, sell, or even trade a motor vehicle on Sunday. This silly law pertains to both new and used vehicles, and even extends to written agreements involving the sale or trading of cars on the first day of the week.

You may not swear in front of women and children

One of the most famous—and most ridiculous—Michigan state laws stood from 1897 through 2002. This law stated that any individual caught using indecent, vulgar, obscene, or immoral language in front of a woman or child was committing a misdemeanor. Convictions using this outdated law were maintained through 1999, when a man fell out of his canoe and proceeded to let loose a string of swears that were overheard by nearby families. Later, this silly law was repealed in 2002 based on the fact that it violated the First Amendment.

Bounties are awarded for each crow and starling killed

Another recently-repealed law illustrates the dedication of Michigan residents to crow- and starling-free skies. This ridiculous law, repealed in 2006, stated that crows or starlings killed within any village, township, or city in the state of Michigan entitled the hunter to a bounty of three cents for each starling and ten cents for each crow, but this was only if birds were killed in lots of at least 50.

Arkansas: Say It Right or Pay the Price!

April 30, 2016 Arkansas

The state of Arkansas’s name is derived from the French pronunciation of a Native American term “akakaze,” meaning “land of downriver people” or “people of the south wind.” This southeastern state contains diverse geography and a strong sense of pride in its origins—keep reading to find out more about just how important it is to pronounce the state’s name correctly while inside its borders and get a look at other laws you’ll need to consider before you visit the Natural State.

It’s strictly prohibited to pronounce “Arkansas” incorrectly
The people of Arkansas take the origin of its name—and its importance to the state’s heritage—very seriously. However, because it is derived from the same native origin and looks very much like the name of nearby Kansas, Arkansas is one of the most commonly-mispronounced state names in the country. The residents of Arkansas have thus prohibited the incorrect pronunciation of the state’s name while within its borders—a law that remains in effect to this day.

The Arkansas River can rise no higher than to the Main Street Bridge in Little Rock

Even the 1,469-mile long Arkansas River cannot ignore the laws of the state for which it is named. One Arkansas law supposedly states that the Arkansas River may not rise higher than Little Rock’s Main Street Bridge. Although ridiculous, historians believe this law may have been instated as part of a flood control plan to prevent severe flooding, which is common along the Mississippi. If so, however, those who penned this law might have benefitted from an editor to ensure their point was made clearly.

No one may suddenly start or stop their car at a McDonald’s

Little Rock appears to take not only its river, but its drive-in restaurant etiquette seriously as well. This silly law, which applies within the boundaries of the capital, makes it unlawful to “race the motor of any car, to suddenly start or stop any car, or to make or cause to be made, any other loud or unseemly noise” in the parking lot of a drive-in restaurant.

Why Juvenile Defendants Need Serious Defense

April 25, 2016

Although children under 18 are typically tried as juveniles, there are many exceptions to this rule. In the state of Arizona, there are several instances in which individuals less than 18 years of age may be tried in the same manner as an adult. Any criminal conviction can have several negative and long-term impacts on your child’s life, making a serious and aggressive defense a necessary response to any criminal charge your child may face.

Trying Juveniles as Adults

The Arizona legal system allows juveniles younger than 18 to be tried as adults in several different situations. Children between the ages of 14 and 18 may be prosecuted as adults if they have been accused of crimes that include first- or second-degree murder, forcible sexual assault, armed robbery, or any other violent felony. Any child older than 14 may be tried as an adult if they are accused of a class 1 or class 2 felony, as well as class 3, class 4, or class 5 felonies that meet certain legal criteria. Furthermore, chronic juvenile offenders may also be tried as adults in the court system.

The Consequences of Adult Convictions

Minors that are tried as adults are more likely to be convicted and receive longer sentences than those tried in juvenile court. Furthermore, some studies indicate that these harsher punishments do not deter repeat offenders, and actually make it more likely that juveniles will reoffend. When minors are tried as adults, a conviction can have long-standing consequences that follow them throughout life. Incarceration can interfere with the pursuit of education, while criminal records can affect an individual’s chances of finding or keeping gainful and fulfilling employment.

If your child has been accused of a crime, it’s essential to work with a criminal defense lawyer who understands the best strategy for his defense. Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law has experience representing both juveniles and adults; she will fight to ensure your child’s rights and future are protected. You can reach our Tucson law office by calling (520) 247-1789, or contact us online for more information.

Drug Possession in Arizona

April 20, 2016 marijuana possession

Drug possession is a criminal offense that refers to possessing illegal substances with the intent of using, distributing, or selling them. In Arizona, drug possession is considered a serious offense, and the potential consequences of a conviction are severe. If you are found to be in possession of illegal or controlled substances, your first step should be to seek the legal assistance of an experienced defense lawyer familiar with the Arizona legal system and its stance on drug possession.

Understanding Drug Classifications

Arizona’s drug laws and the consequences they specify for a conviction are governed by the type of drug found in your possession. There are three drug classifications observed by the Arizona legal system: dangerous drugs, narcotics, and marijuana. Dangerous drugs are drugs that include LSD, GHB, steroids, methamphetamines, mushrooms containing psilocybin or psilocin, mescaline, ecstasy, and clonazepam. Narcotics refer to opioids and synthetic opioids, such as oxycodone, morphine, opium, cocaine, and heroin.

Consequences of Drug Possession

If you are found to illegally possess one or more dangerous drugs, it is considered a class 1 misdemeanor and you will face charges that include up to six months of jail time and fines of up to $2,500. The possession of narcotics is considered a class 5 felony, which carries with it a prison sentence of up to 18 months. Drug possession laws for marijuana depend on the amount discovered—possession of less than two pounds is a class 6 felony punishable by up to a year in prison, while possession of more than four pounds may result in an 18-month to three-year sentence.

Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law has more than two decades of experience in the criminal justice system. She will work hard to protect your rights in any criminal case to prevent a drug possession charge from affecting your career, your finances, and your future. Please visit our website to find out more about criminal defense in Tucson, or call (520) 247-1789 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Why You Can’t Always Count on Being “Innocent Until Proven Guilty”

March 31, 2016 Tucson criminal defense attorney for felony charges

The United States’ criminal justice system is based upon the tenet that individuals are always “innocent until proven guilty.” This means that when an individual is tried for a crime, the burden of proving his guilt rests with the prosecution. However, despite the fact that this ideal is meant to be a basic right of all citizens, there are many reasons you cannot always count on this principle during a trial, making it essential to mount an aggressive and solid defense.

Jurors’ Preconceptions

During a trial, the jury is meant to be an impartial body that determines whether there is sufficient evidence to convict the individual on trial of the crime with which he is charged. While the jury should always presume innocence until guilt is proven, the truth is that jurors often unintentionally assume before the case even begins that if an individual has been charged and arrested, he is likely to be guilty. Furthermore, personal or perceived views based on race or wealth can also lead to incorrect assumptions regarding guilt before a trial begins.

Media Interference

The prevalence of media coverage and the ease with which individuals can access news and other information can also have an effect on the assumptions made by a jury or judge. Because media stories often sensationalize court cases and may even make presumptions about guilt or innocence without a factual basis, these factors can affect the ultimate decision that a jury makes during a trial. Even when jurors have no previous or outside knowledge of the case they are evaluating, the type of thinking promoted by other media stories may influence the decision-making process and the assumption of innocence or guilt.

If you have been charged with a crime, your first step should be to seek experienced legal counsel and assistance. Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law can help you navigate the legal system and provide the support and defense you need during a trial to ensure your rights are upheld. Please visit our website or call (520) 247-1789 for more information about criminal defense in Tucson.