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Try and Connect the Dots on These Connecticut Laws

September 23, 2016

Located in the United States’ Northeast region, Connecticut is the third smallest state in the nation, but also the fourth most densely populated. Known as the Constitution State, Connecticut is unfortunately not immune to silly laws that made little sense when they were passed and even less so in the modern era.  

In order for a pickle to officially be considered a pickle, it must bounce.

Pickles are taken quite seriously in Connecticut, to the point where authentication is required before a food can officially be called a “pickle.” According to Connecticut law, a pickle may not be labeled or sold as such unless it bounces. Hopefully, the pickles are washed after testing.

You can be stopped by the police for biking over 65 miles per hour.

This state law, which prohibits biking at a speed greater than 65 miles per hour, fortunately won’t likely apply to the average bicyclist, who typically rides at nine to twelve miles an hour. Fit bikers may reach speeds of 25 miles per hour on flat roads for short distances, but speeds much greater than this are difficult for even serious athletes to achieve. This information leaves one to wonder how many Connecticut bicyclists are able to bike at 65 miles per hour to require such a law in place.

It is illegal for fire trucks to exceed 25 miles per hour, even when going to a fire.

The town of New Britain, CT, has additional ideas about the maximum speed of certain vehicles. Prohibiting fire trucks to exceed 25 miles per hour, even when responding to a fire, seems a bit backwards—perhaps the firefighters should ride bicycles, instead!

What Happens If You Lose Your Gun Rights?

September 16, 2016

Arizona law restricts or removes the gun rights of “prohibited possessors,” which are individuals who have been convicted of a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor. Although some convictions automatically terminate the right to possess a firearm, there are channels available for many offenders to petition for their reinstatement. If you have lost your gun rights due to a criminal conviction in Arizona, it’s important to understand whether your firearms rights can be restored and how to achieve this goal.

Determining Your Restoration Eligibility

Arizona law holds several requirements regarding the ability to petition for restoration of gun rights. In general, felony offenders must wait to petition for the restoration of their rights until at least two years after their discharge from probation. Felony offenders convicted of murder or manslaughter, aggravated assault, armed robbery, dangerous crimes against children, kidnapping, arson, first-degree burglary, or sexual conduct with a minor must wait a period of ten years following probation to apply for gun right reinstatement. Furthermore, some felony offenders may not have their gun rights reinstated at any point; these felonies mainly include convictions in which a weapon was used to commit a crime or cause serious injury.

Applying for Gun Right Reinstatement

Once you are eligible to have your gun rights reinstated, you must file an application for rights restoration with the court in which you were convicted. This may be done via either court forms or by filing a custom motion. However, it’s important to recognize that eligibility and a completed application do not necessarily mean that your gun rights will be reinstated—this is why it’s best to work with a criminal defense attorney when you wish to reinstate your gun rights. Your attorney will fight for your rights to own a gun, even if your prosecutor continues to argue against them.

Have you suffered the loss of gun rights in Arizona following a felony or misdemeanor? Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law can help—please give us a call at (520) 247-1789 or visit our website for more information about our criminal defense practice in Tucson.

Classifying Felonies in Arizona

September 9, 2016

All crimes fall into one of two categories: Misdemeanors and felonies. While misdemeanors are considered more minor crimes, felonies are treated as more serious crimes that carry much more severe consequences if a conviction occurs. Regardless of whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, you have the right to legal counsel and representation with an experienced defense attorney during the legal process.

Arizona’s Felony Classes

In the state of Arizona, felonies fall into one of six classes. Class 6 felonies are considered the least severe and carry the shortest maximum jail sentence of only one year. As felonies grow progressively more severe, they carry longer jail sentences—Class 5 penalties are punishable by up to 1.5 years in jail, Class 4 penalties by 2.5 years of jail time, Class 3 penalties result in 3.5 years in jail, and Class 2 penalties can carry a sentence of up to five years. Class 1 felonies are the most severe, with punishments ranging from 25 years to life in prison or, typically in cases of first-degree murder, the death penalty.

First-Time versus Multiple Offenders

It’s important to note that the jail sentences listed above apply only to first-time felony offenders. This means that they are the maximum sentences an individual would serve the first time he is convicted of a felony, regardless of the number of times he may have been charged. The potential sentence for second- and third-time felony offenders is greater, and often amounts to two to three times the sentence length for first-time offenders following a conviction.

Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law is here to help if you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Tucson. Ms. Altschuler has extensive experience in many areas of criminal law, including domestic violence, drug possession, gun crime, and assault. You can reach us any time via our website or by phone at (520) 247-1789 to schedule a free initial legal consultation 24 hours a day, regardless of whether you are at home or currently in custody.

Prosecutors who falsify or withhold evidence could become felons under proposed state legislation – The Orange County Register

August 30, 2016

Prosecutors who intentionally withhold or falsify evidence could be charged with a felony under a new bill winding through the state Legislature.

The proposal by Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, D-San Fernando, comes as prosecutors in Orange County face accusations that they’ve routinely misused jailhouse informants and withheld information from defense attorneys.

To continue reading this article, click here.

It has been about 10 years now since the controversy with Pima County Attorneys Ken Peasely and David White. Both are now deceased and few people discuss the accusations of prosecutorial misconduct levied against them. The charges were serious. Mr. Peasely lost his license to practice law and Mr. White, had he not died, would have had to face a similar process.

Larger punishments like criminal charges do little to curb prosecutors or help them police themselves. It is the defense attorney working diligently and speaking loudly against such abuses that ultimately reveals the corrupt bad guys.

Criminal Defendants Sometimes ‘Left Behind’ at Supreme Court, Study Shows

August 23, 2016

The quality of advocacy at the Supreme Court these days is quite high. “We have an extraordinary group of lawyers who appear very regularly before us,” Justice Elena Kagan said in 2014 at a Justice Department event.

But there was, she said, one exception. “Case in and case out,” she said, “the category of litigant who is not getting great representation at the Supreme Court are criminal defendants.”

Continue reading the article here.

This issue likely presents itself at the state and local levels too public defenders frequently have fewer resources than county attorneys and prosecutors.

Trial by Jury, a Hallowed American Right, Is Vanishing

August 16, 2016

The criminal trial ended more than two and a half years ago, but Judge Jesse M. Furman can still vividly recall the case. It stands out, not because of the defendant or the subject matter, but because of its rarity: In his four-plus years on the bench in Federal District Court in Manhattan, it was his only criminal jury trial.

He is far from alone.

Judge J. Paul Oetken, in half a decade on that bench, has had four criminal trials, including one that was repeated after a jury deadlocked. For Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who has handled some of the nation’s most important terrorism cases, it has been 18 months since his last criminal jury trial.

“It’s a loss,” Judge Kaplan said, “because when one thinks of the American system of justice, one thinks of justice being administered by juries of our peers. And to the extent that there’s a decline in criminal jury trials, that is happening less frequently.”

The national decline in trials, both criminal and civil, has been noted in law journal articles, bar association studies and judicial opinions. But recently, in the two federal courthouses in Manhattan and a third in White Plains (known collectively as the Southern District of New York), the vanishing of criminal jury trials has never seemed so pronounced.

The Southern District held only 50 criminal jury trials last year, the lowest since 2004, according to data provided by the court. The pace remains slow this year.

In 2005, records show, there were more than double the number of trials: 106. And decades ago, legal experts said, the numbers were much higher.

“It’s hugely disappointing,” said Judge Jed S. Rakoff, a 20-year veteran of the Manhattan federal bench. “A trial is the one place where the system really gets tested. Everything else is done behind closed doors.”

Continue reading the main story.

Having just finished a jury trial in Marana Municipal Court and my client was not guilty, I was shocked to learn this was the first trial the court had had in years. It isn’t just federal criminal charges. It appears to be everywhere that people are not going to trial. Surely the budget constraints of state and local courts prevent the appointment of attorneys but you can always call me for a free consultation to review your case and determine the risks and benefits of a jury trial.

If you have been charged with a crime and don’t know which steps to take next, please visit our website or call our office at (520) 247-1789 for the experienced legal counsel and representation you need to prevent this charge from becoming a serious conviction

What’s Not OK in Oklahoma

August 26, 2016

Oklahoma may be known for its wide open skies and golden fields of wheat, but it’s also known for a few strange and downright ridiculous laws. Since its admission into the United States in 1907, this state has passed some legislation that’s difficult to believe.

Getting a Tattoo

Although this law is no longer in effect, you might be surprised to learn that tattoos were illegal in Oklahoma for over 40 years. In 2006, Oklahoma became the last state to legalize tattoos, overturning previous legislature passed in 1963 that banned this type of body art. Previous attempts had been made to overturn the ban on tattoos, but had all been defeated based on arguments related to public health and morality.

Letting Your Farm Animals Wear Your Boots

One crazy law still in Oklahoma’s books states that it is “illegal to have the hind legs of farm animals in your boots.” It’s unclear why this law came about, or even why it was necessary, given that refraining to share your boots with your animals is likely just common sense. Additionally, it’s unclear whether the law holds if an owner were to buy a pair of boots exclusively for an animal’s use, rather than sharing his own.

Supporting the New York Jets

The city of Ada, OK, apparently has a bone to pick with the city of New York. Buried in this Oklahoma city’s legislature is a law stating that wearing New York Jets clothing is a punishable offense—anyone caught supporting the New York Jets in this city will shortly find himself in jail.

Oh, Oregon! Are You Serious?

August 19, 2016

Oregon began as a territory established in 1848 and was later admitted into the United States as the 33rd state in 1859. Although Oregon boasts a diverse landscape that spans several different types of terrain, it also boasts a diverse range of seriously silly laws.

A door on a car may not be left open longer than is necessary.

Oregon clearly does not believe in silly indulgences, such as leaving your car door ajar a single second longer than necessary. The state’s laws contain several clauses regarding the “improper opening or leaving open of a vehicle door,” which is considered a Class D traffic violation. While this law likely originated following public safety concerns related to open car doors blocking sidewalks or roadways, the fact that leaving the door open too long is illegal seems like taking this concept a bit too far.

Babies may not be carried on the running boards of a car.

Public safety appears to be of paramount importance in Oregon, including the safety of its babies. State law expressly forbids carrying babies on the running board of a car, as well as a car’s hood, fender, or any other external feature. People caught committing this crime will face a Class B traffic violation—but only so long as they are driving on a highway. The law appears to hold no such consequences for carrying babies on the running boards of cars on residential roads.

Shoelaces must be tied while walking down the street.

The city of Portland is also a firm proponent of personal safety, going so far as to make it illegal to walk down the street with one’s shoelaces untied. Fortunately, this law doesn’t appear to extend beyond the street, meaning you are apparently allowed to duck into a storefront or stop in the park to tie your shoes and avoid prosecution.

What to Do If You’re Charged with Domestic Violence

August 12, 2016 Tucson, Arizona sex crimes lawyer.

Domestic violence refers to any type of aggressive, violent, or threatening behavior within the home; this type of behavior may be exhibited by spouses, family members, or even unmarried partners. A domestic violence conviction carries with it serious consequences that can be difficult to escape, even years after you have completed any required punishment. Thus, if you are charged with domestic violence, it’s essential to fight this charge with the help of an experienced criminal attorney to prevent conviction or minimize the consequences you may face.

Domestic Violence Offenses

There are several types of actions which are considered domestic violence under Arizona law. If you are found or suspected of committing one of these actions, you may be arrested and charged with domestic violence. It’s important to note that while many of these behaviors are physical actions that threaten another’s safety or property, some types of verbal abuse are also considered domestic offenses. These actions include assault, kidnapping, harassment, disorderly conduct, criminal damage to property, and threatening.

Domestic Violence Defense

If you are charged with a domestic offense, your very first step should be to contact a criminal defense attorney with experience in the field of domestic violence. Because the state of Arizona often pursues criminal convictions in cases involving domestic abuse more aggressively than other types of offenses, the help and support of an attorney is vital during this time to ensure you understand the charges and develop a solid plan of action to either refute the charges or minimize the consequences you will face. Your attorney will assess the situation thoroughly and make recommendations based on your individual case, the charges you are facing, and the consequences that a conviction will carry.

Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law can help you fight charges of domestic violence in Tucson. If you have been charged with a crime and don’t know which steps to take next, please visit our website or call our office at (520) 247-1789 for the experienced legal counsel and representation you need to prevent this charge from becoming a serious conviction.

Different Types of Assault Charges

August 5, 2016

While assault may seem like a straightforward term, the legal definition of assault is broad and varied. Assault can range from causing physical harm to another person to making threatening comments regarding violent acts, even if you never commit any actual violence. Because assault charges are serious and complex, you should never try to represent yourself in an assault case—your best defense against any assault charge is to work with an attorney to reduce or dismiss the charges.

Simple or Misdemeanor Assault

The state of Arizona defines simple or misdemeanor assaults as behaviors that include knowingly causing injury to another person or touching an individual with the intent to harm or provoke them. Simple assault can also consist of recklessly causing harm to an individual or causing them to fear for their safety through words or actions. This type of assault charge can be further broken down into three classes: Class 1 assault must cause actual physical injury, Class 2 assault may include the threat of injury even if no harm is incurred, and Class 3 assault includes any type of touch that is meant to provoke or injure another.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is a more serious charge that is considered a Class 3 or Class 4 felony. This type of assault charge often requires serious physical harm or disfigurement to occur, and also covers assault with any deadly or dangerous weapon, including automobiles. Furthermore, aggravated assault includes assault cases in which the defendant is 18 or older and the victim is 15 or younger, as well as assault committed against certain individuals, such as police, firefighters, teachers, healthcare workers, and prosecutors.  

Have you been charged with assault in Tucson or do you have questions about your rights in an assault case? Please call the law office of Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law by phone at (520) 247-1789 or contact us online for help handling your situation. You can also take a look through our blog for more information on Arizona law and the steps to take if you are charged with assault or a crime.