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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?


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?


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?


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?


Don’t Sing Off Key in North Carolina and Other Wacky Laws

January 8, 2015

Most laws are easy to follow. For example, you can probably go a full day without stealing or vandalizing property. There are some laws, however, that you can break without even realizing it. Other laws are so absurd that you wouldn’t even think to violate them in the first place. North Carolina is one of many states where you’ll encounter a long list of absurd laws. Here are just a few.

Don’t Sing Off Key

If you’re planning on singing in North Carolina, you should strongly consider taking voice lessons. According to an old myth, it’s technically illegal to sing off key in the state. The origin of this law is thought to come from a 19th century court case in which a man was fined for singing loudly and poorly. However, the case may have had more to do with disturbing the peace than being out of tune.

Don’t Steal More Than $1000 of Grease

For most people, grease is just another form of waste. For others, it’s a valuable fuel source. The sudden demand for grease has led North Carolina to add another law to its books—it is now illegal for anyone to steal more than $1000 worth of grease. If you happen to see $999 worth of grease, by all means, take it—but God help you if you take $1000 worth.

Elephants Cannot Plow Cotton Fields

If you happen to have a pet elephant, it’s probably not a good idea to plant cotton. Though your elephant may be strong and vigorous, North Carolina law won’t let you use him to plow your cotton fields. This law shouldn’t make you too sad; a tractor is much better suited to plowing, anyway.

If you ever find yourself in trouble with the law in Arizona, consider reaching out to Janet Altschuler of Tucson. Janet has nearly two decades of experience arguing on behalf of Arizonans. Whether your charge is a result of a grave mistake or a wrongful accusation, Janet Altschuler will represent your interests in court.

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?


Please: Drive Cautiously on Nebraska’s Mountain Roads. It’s the Law.

January 6, 2015

Nebraska is truly magnificent to behold. When most people think of this Midwest state, they imagine ice-capped peaks, cascading waterfalls, and rocky crags stretching beyond the horizon. Nebraska, without a doubt, is Disneyland for mountaineers—a dazzling place where bold men and women can ascend miles into the sky and breathe the exhilarating perfume of the heavens.

Wait a minute—there must be some mistake. Nebraska is actually one of the flattest states in the country. Why, then, is there a law that urges drivers to drive carefully on mountain roads? Sure, Nebraska is a wonderful state, but it’s certainly not known for its mountain roads. For a state to have mountain roads, you see, it first needs to have actual mountains.

Here is an excerpt from Nebraska statute 60-6,181: “The driver of a motor vehicle traversing defiles, canyons, or mountain highways shall hold such motor vehicle under control and as near the right-hand side of the highway as reasonably possible.”

Lack of mountain roads aside, it seems foolish that a statute would explicitly request drivers to hold their vehicles “under control.” This must be a serious disappointment for all those Nebraskans who enjoy driving blindfolded up and down Nebraska’s non-existent mountain roads.

If you come across a mountain in Nebraska—which will be highly unlikely for the next, say, 12 million years—remember to drive on the right side of the road. If you have trouble remembering which side of the road you should drive on, just think back to the last time you drove on a U.S. road. Any road at all.

Arizona, on the other hand, has plenty of mountain roads. If you get into any sort of trouble near Tucson, contact Janet Altschuler. Attorney Janet Altschuler has over 17 years of experience helping Arizona residents navigate the criminal justice system.

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?


You Can’t Do What? Crazy California Laws

January 5, 2015

Laws are designed to protect the general public from danger. However, lawmakers tend to get a bit carried away when drafting certain laws. California, like most other states, still has a few archaic and downright ridiculous laws on the books. Here’s a brief look at some of California’s silliest laws.

Frisbees on the Beach

The beach is a popular place for recreation in California. Some of the most-visited beaches in the state can be found in Los Angeles County. Oddly enough, there used to be a Los Angeles County law that seriously compromised beachside fun. Up until 2012, it was illegal for beachgoers to throw a Frisbee on the beach without the permission of a lifeguard. Though no tickets were issued in the 40 years prior to the law change, local lawmakers ultimately determined that the law was too silly to exist.

Public Animal Mating

Generally speaking, animals will do whatever they want. If their owners aren’t looking, animals will eat where they want, go to the bathroom wherever they want, and even mate wherever they want. Under California law, however, animals are supposedly not allowed to do what comes naturally within 1500 feet of a school, tavern, or place of worship. This law certainly gives new meaning to the term “californication.”

Shooting Game from a Moving Vehicle

Since California has a lot of wild territory, it’s a very popular state among hunters. However, hunting is highly regulated in the state. For example, it’s illegal to shoot wild game from a moving vehicle. There is one notable exception, however—whale hunting. While this may seem ludicrous, it makes some sense when you stop to think about it. Have you ever tried hunting a whale from a completely stationary boat?

While it’s fun to laugh at other states’ goofy laws, Arizona has plenty of outdated laws of its own. Whether you’re charged with an utterly ridiculous law or a legitimate one, Tucson criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler can argue on your behalf.

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?