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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.

How a Conviction Can Get in the Way of Your Travel Plans

March 28, 2016

A criminal conviction can affect your life in many ways, from your ability to attain the jobs you want to your freedom to travel. The travel difficulties faced by individuals varies by offense and conviction, making it essential to understand how the charges you face or the conviction you have received will affect your ability to travel in the future. If you have questions about criminal charges you are facing or your ability to travel with a criminal record, your criminal defense attorney in Tucson can provide the answers and legal support you need.

Traveling Domestically

Domestic travel following a conviction may be limited, depending on your circumstances. If you have a probation officer, he can provide you with information regarding any travel limitations that may apply. Some convictions will allow you to leave the county in which you reside, but prohibit interstate travel. Alternatively, you may need to meet certain requirements before you are allowed to travel between states, such as paying fines or scheduling a court appearance to address outstanding warrants.

Traveling Internationally

A criminal record can also affect your ability to travel internationally. You may not be able to obtain or renew a passport if you are on bail, awaiting a trial, or have an outstanding warrant for your arrest. Even if you are issued a passport, some countries may deny entry to U.S. citizens or deport visitors with certain types of criminal convictions or within a certain period of time following a conviction.

Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law can help you refute criminal charges or understand your rights after you have been convicted during a trial. You can reach our office by phone at (520) 247-1789 to schedule a free initial consultation, or visit our website to learn more about Ms. Altschuler’s experience as a criminal defense attorney in Tucson.

Wisconsin’s Wackiest Laws

March 25, 2016

Wisconsin is one of America’s northernmost states, boasting an extensive coastline along the Great Lakes, a diverse and beautiful landscape, and lots and lots of cows. As America’s Dairyland, Wisconsin is home to more than 5 million proud Cheeseheads along with a handful of crazy laws that might make you wonder if all that cheese has gone to lawmakers’ heads. Not surprisingly, a few of these laws are directly related to the dairy industry, which remains the backbone of the state’s economy.

Restaurants may not serve apple pie without cheese

In an effort to showcase local Wisconsin cheese in every way imaginable, the state has made it illegal to serve apple pie in public restaurants without a slice of cheese on top. Strange as it is, the result is surprisingly delicious. Restaurants in Wisconsin are also forbidden by law to serve margarine or any other butter substitute unless it is specifically requested by the customer. With the everlasting love of dairy that Wisconsities share, it seems that such a request is pretty rare.

Throwing rocks at railroad cars is illegal

If throwing rocks at trains is among your favorite hobbies, Wisconsin may not be your ideal vacation destination. State law forbids throwing rocks of any kind at a railroad car. While this law may seem a little odd, at least it is worded more clearly than that which states “When two trains meet, neither shall proceed until the other one has.”

Livestock has the right-of-way on all public roads

Wisconsin cows like plenty of room to graze, and they can do so freely knowing that they have the right of way on all public roads. If you ever come to a stop sign and a cow is waiting to pass, you had better let her go before you proceed, or else you might get busted by a state trooper.

A Look at Iowa’s Dumbest Laws

March 22, 2016

Aside from being a state that is famously forgotten between presidential elections due to its low population and endlessly flat topography covered in corn fields, Iowa is home to a wealth of dumb and downright weird laws that might help you remember that the state exists in the shadow of Minnesota. Interestingly, Iowa is consistently named as one of the safest states to live in in the United States, and that may just be because of these wacky laws to protect its people.

Mustached men may not kiss women in public

If you sport any type of nose neighbor from a classic handlebar to a modern horseshoe, you should be careful about where you choose to show affection to your special lady within Iowa’s borders. In the state of Iowa, it is illegal for mustached men to kiss women in public. Even for those without mustaches, there are kissing laws enforced, as no kiss may last for more than 5 minutes.

One-armed piano players must perform for free

As if life as a one-armed piano player wasn’t hard enough, those unfortunate to boast this profession in Iowa must play for free according to state law. Still, those with disabilities to maintain their rights after death, because no one may use a deceased person’s handicapped parking permit in the state.

It is illegal to sell drugs without the appropriate stamp

In an effort to regulate illegal drug deals, Iowa does not permit the sale or distribution of drugs or narcotics without having an Iowa drug tax stamp. Just remember, if you are looking to score some narcotics in Iowa, be sure to ask your back-alley dealer for the proper credentials first!

South Dakota: Majestic Mountains and Ludicrous Laws

February 29, 2016

You might know South Dakota as the home of one of America’s most recognizable monuments, Mount Rushmore. However, South Dakota offer much more than finely sculpted mountain ranges. It offers a rich tapestry of fun qualities, including the 5th lowest population of any state, an extensive array of grasslands, and the largest collection of mammoth remains in the world. In addition to all of these lovely features, South Dakota boasts some truly silly laws, which you can learn more about below.

It is illegal to lie down and fall asleep in a cheese factory

If you are planning to tour a cheese factory in South Dakota, make sure you have plenty of coffee beforehand, because you are forbidden by law to lie down and take a nap inside the factory. Still, one might wonder why this law even needs to exist, because everyone knows that excitement lurks around every corner when cheese is being made.

Agricultural producers may protect their crops with explosives

There are many ways to protect crops from animals, including poison, scarecrows, and good old fashioned firearms. When these modest measures aren’t enough, farmers can use fireworks and explosives to keep crows and other predators away, as long as they are protecting crops of sunflowers.

Movies showing offensive behavior toward police officers are forbidden

South Dakota has a certain respect for law enforcement officials, and this is proven by the state’s law that forbids movies showing police officers being struck, beaten, or treated in any offensive manner.

Idaho: Great Potatoes, Ridiculous Laws

February 21, 2016

The state of Idaho is famously nicknamed the “Gem State,” because nearly every type of gemstone has been found within the state’s borders. In addition to a wide array of gemstones, Idaho has a collection of laws that are just about as dumb as a sack of potatoes. Keep reading to get a glimpse at some of the odd restrictions that Idaho lawmakers have felt the need to put on the books over the years.

You may not fish on camelback

Whether you are relaxing in Coeur d’Alene or taking in the majesty of Shoshone Falls, you should be wary of how you choose to fish in Idaho’s clear water sources. If you happen to own a camel, make sure you don’t take him fishing, since it is illegal to fish on a camel’s back. Boise has even stricter fishing laws, since residents are not allowed to fish from a giraffe’s back either.

It is illegal to ride a merry-go-round on Sundays

While it is not uncommon for states to have laws restricting the sale of alcohol or hunting on a Sunday, it is not so common for states to restrict merry-go-round rides on Sundays. On this subject, Idaho marches to the beat of its own drum by making it a crime to ride a merry-go-round on the seventh day of the week.

Men may not give their sweethearts boxes of candy weighing less than 50 pounds

Apparently Idaho’s legislators have a romantic side, because it is illegal for men to give their sweethearts boxes of candy weighing in under 50 pounds. It seems that when you are in Idaho, it may be best to opt for flowers instead of candy when you want to surprise your special someone.

What Constitutes a Felony?

February 15, 2016 Tucson criminal defense attorney for felony charges

When facing criminal charges, it is important to understand what kind of crime you are being accused of. Felonies are the most severe of crimes, and they have the most serious punishments, which often include prison or jail time and significant fines. Because the stakes are so high when it comes to felony charges, you will want to have an experienced defense attorney on your side to protect your rights and reduce your sentence. Below you can get a closer look at what constitutes a felony so that you know what you are up against with your charges.

Crimes that violate moral standards

Felonies are generally classified as such, because they violate moral standards or have a direct impact on the safety or wellbeing of others. Common felonies include burglary, kidnapping, rape, murder, arson, and child abuse. There are also some crimes that may be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances of the crime.

High penalties

Most felonies carry penalties of prison time for sentences of one year or longer. In the case of crimes that may be considered misdemeanors or felonies, the difference lies with the place and length of incarceration. Time served for felonies will take place in state or federal prisons, while misdemeanors will be punishable with a shorter sentence in a local jail. Convicted felons will also have a loss of rights, including disenfranchisement, exclusion from jury duty, and the loss of the right to possess a firearm.

Courtroom litigation

Due to the severe nature of felony punishments, courtroom procedures must be strictly observed when convicting an individual of felony charges. While infarctions and some misdemeanors may be resolved without a court appearance, felonies will generally have longer court proceedings and demand the representation of an attorney.

If you have been arrested for a felony, contact Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law at (520) 247-1789 to discuss your case. With more than 2 decades of experience in criminal defense, Ms. Altschuler can provide an aggressive defense to spare you from wrongful conviction or undue penalties.