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Crazy Laws Out of Washington State

May 11, 2015

Bigfoot Outdoors

Most of the time, the law acts as a security blanket that helps everyone sleep a little better at night. However, there are times when the law is something of a nuisance, and still other times when it’s laughably absurd. Below are some laws that fall into the latter category. Washington State—named for the first American president—has plenty of laws that will make you scratch your head.

Harassing Bigfoot

In Skamania County, Washington, it is illegal to hunt, kill, or otherwise harass Bigfoot or any other hitherto undiscovered species. Really, the words “Bigfoot” and “Sasquatch” appear in the actual statute. Though the law was coincidentally passed on April 1st, it’s no joke. Anyone caught wantonly slaying or harassing Bigfoot could face a fine of up to $100,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison. If you happen to see Bigfoot in Washington State, give a respectful nod and continue on your way.

Pretending One’s Parents Are Rich

They say you should always be yourself. In Washington, however, this isn’t just apt life advice, it’s the law. Apparently it’s illegal to claim that you have rich parents. So how rich can you say your parents are before the eye of the law finds you? It’s unclear, but it’s probably best not to test it. The next time someone asks for an accurate estimate of your parents’ net worth, think very carefully.

Dancing and Drinking Simultaneously

For many people, dancing is not possible without first having a drink. Well, these folks are certainly out of luck if they happen to visit Lynden, Washington. Those caught drinking and dancing at the same time may need to face the music—and not in a fun way. Look at it this way—maybe the city magistrate enacted the law to prevent people from spilling their drinks.

Check out our past blog posts to learn about other ridiculous laws around the country. If you or someone you love is accused of a crime here in Arizona, contact the law office of Janet Altschuler. Our Tucson law office is equipped to handle all sorts of criminal cases, from DUI to juvenile crimes.

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?


A Look at Pima County Juvenile Justice Programs

May 11, 2015

Police officer with teen juvenile delinquent

Before the age of 18 is when people see the most personal development, and when they establish many of the habits they will carry into adulthood. Many youths show troubling signs of disobedience or unlawfulness at a young age, placing their futures at great risk. Harsh punishment is not the right answer for these troubled youths, which is why Pima County Arizona has developed several juvenile justice programs to help teens get back on the right track.

Disproportionate Minority Contact Intervention

Recent high-profile cases across the country have shed light on the mistreatment of racial minorities by police. Young people of color are unfairly targeted in Pima County, too. Fortunately, a number of programs are working hard to achieve equality. Disproportionate Minority Contact Model Intervention Project partners include Chicanos por la Causa, Community Partnership of Southern Arizona, and the Tucson Police Department.

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative
Arresting and detaining delinquent youths costs money and can have a negative impact on their futures. That’s why Pima County is exploring smart alternatives for correcting delinquent behavior. The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative works hard to foster cultural understanding, communication, and address underlying social problems. Thanks to the JDAI’s efforts, referrals and detentions have gone down significantly in the past 15 years.

Juvenile Justice Model Court

Once minors are detained, it’s important that they are treated 100% fairly. Juvenile Justice Model Court is dedicated to ensuring justice for all youth cases and developing practices that deliver the most socially responsible solutions for each individual. The JJMC helps make sure that youths have skilled representation, respect, and understanding.

Janet Altschuler is a Tucson criminal defense attorney with years of experience defending Arizona youths. If you have a child or younger sibling who has recently gotten into trouble with the law, reach out to our Tucson legal office. We’ll do everything we can to ensure that this criminal charge doesn’t disrupt your loved one’s life.

Understanding Arizona DUI Laws

April 28, 2015

To most people, a DUI arrest seems like something that happens to someone else. However, anyone can misjudge their drinking, get behind the wheel, and end up behind bars. All Arizona drivers should understand the DUI laws in the state and do their best to comply with them. If you find yourself in handcuffs, it’s important to hire a skilled Arizona criminal defense attorney.

Driving Under the Influence

In Arizona, as in all other states, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than .08%. In fact, it is illegal for a driver to have a BAC of more than .08% within two hours of driving. Commercial drivers may be charged with DUI if their BAC is above .04%.

Minors and DUI

It is illegal for a minor to drive after drinking any amount. For minors, any BAC over 0% will likely result in a DUI citation. That said, exemptions exist for religious ceremonies and medical treatments.

Aggravated DUI

Individuals caught driving with a BAC of .15% or more face harsher penalties than those caught with a BAC of .08% or more. An individual may be charged with aggravated DUI if he is caught driving impaired with a suspended license, or if he has had two DUI convictions within 7 years.

Consequences of Conviction

The penalties for DUI depend on a number of factors, and may include jail time, license suspension, and fines. The minimum punishment for a first offense is 24 hours in jail, a fine of at least $250, and at least a 90-day license suspension. A third offense may be punishable by at least four months in jail.

When accused of a crime, it’s always a good idea to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney—even if you feel there’s little chance of acquittal. Arizona criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler will help the court understand the complexity of your case and push for a reduced sentence at the very least.


More Ridiculous Laws That Are Still on the Books in the U.S.

April 21, 2015

All United States citizens are obligated to follow the nation’s laws. That said, there are some pretty goofy laws out there. Some laws are so goofy that they seem more like dares than legislation designed to safeguard public health. Here are a few silly laws from around the country that are still in effect.

Late Christmas Lights in Maine

In most parts of the country, folks are growing weary of the ever-growing Christmas season. However, no jurisdictions in the U.S. are taking steps to limit it—except Maine. In Maine, it is illegal to have Christmas decorations up past January 14th. Keeping decorations up past that date will result in warnings and fines.

Buying Drinks in Nevada

Considering how Las Vegas is the self-proclaimed “Entertainment Capital of the World,” you’d think the laws governing Nevada booze would be free-flowing. However, not all of Nevada is as much fun as Sin City. In the ghost town of Nyala, it is illegal for a person to buy drinks for more than three people other than himself.

Serving Butter Substitutes in Wisconsin Prisons

Living in a small cell? Fine. Only spending a few minutes outside each day? A-OK. But margarine? That’s cruel and unusual. This must be the thought process of legislators in Wisconsin, where it is illegal to serve butter substitutes in state prisons.

Waking a Sleeping Bear for a Photo Op in Alaska

Most people understand that waking a sleeping bear is probably a bad idea under any circumstances. This is why it’s all the more puzzling that Alaska would have a law forbidding folks from waking a bear for the purpose of taking a picture.

If you’re ever accused of a crime in Arizona—ridiculous or otherwise—let Tucson criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler argue on your behalf. Janet Altschuler has 17 years of experience representing Arizona residents who are accused of DUI, domestic violence, and other crimes.

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?


Potential Consequences of Violating Probation

April 14, 2015

Probation is a common alternative to incarceration that is available to individuals who meet the criteria. Instead of going to jail or prison, people placed under probation supervision can live at home provided they satisfy certain terms. These terms often include refraining from drug use, going to school, finding employment, and obeying the law. If you violate the terms of your probation, you could face some serious consequences.

Longer Probation

The longer you honor the terms of your probation, the sooner your probation period will be over. It’s not uncommon for judges to order additional probation in the event of a violation. Trying to cheat on your probation will only cause more distress in the long run.

Additional Terms

Most of the time, probation comes with a considerable number of terms, including going to school and finding gainful employment. If you do not responsibly honor those terms, the judge may add a few more terms. For example, using drugs during probation may lead to the additional requirement of drug treatment.

Home Detention

If you commit another crime while on probation, or otherwise prove that you are unfit to engage in civil society, the judge may order that you serve the rest of your probation term at home. You may be forced to wear a GPS device that tracks your position and alerts the authorities if you stray from home.

Jail Time

The most serious probation violations result in incarceration. Depending on the nature of the violation, you may have to spend the rest of your probation term in jail or prison, or even have your total punishment time extended.

If you believe that you are unfairly accused of violating the terms of your probation, reach out to criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler. Janet Altschuler has more than 17 years of experience representing the interests of Tucson residents, and she’ll gladly argue on your behalf.

Analyzing Strangest State Laws

April 7, 2015

In a free society, everything should be legal until legislators deem it to be harmful to public health. That’s the general idea that this country was founded on. If you look closely at law books around the country, however, you might suspect that some laws were ratified as a practical joke. Here are just a few strange state laws that you probably wouldn’t think to violate.

Making Fake Drugs in Arizona

It’s illegal to manufacture your own drugs in all U.S. jurisdictions. However, there generally aren’t any rules about making your own fake drugs. Arizona is different. In this state, it’s illegal to make, distribute, or even possess “imitation controlled substances.”

Bringing Your Pet to a Beauty Salon in Alaska

You’ve probably seen or heard about pet beauty salons in well-to-do areas in Los Angeles. Well, you definitely wouldn’t find any such an establishment in Juneau, Alaska, where it’s illegal to bring your pet to a beauty salon. If you want to give Mr. Tickles a pompadour, you’ll need to cross the border into British Columbia.

Wearing a Bulletproof Vest While Committing Another Crime in New Jersey

If you’re going to commit a crime in New Jersey, you might think it’s a good idea to wear a bulletproof vest. If you do, you better not get caught, or else you’ll be in double trouble. That’s right, the Garden State forbids its citizens from wearing bulletproof vests while committing certain crimes.

Wearing Saggy Pants in Michigan

London. Paris. Milan. New York. Flint, Michigan. These cities are known as global centers of fashion. Oh, except for Flint, where it is illegal to wear saggy pants. To be fair, it would probably be illegal to wear saggy pants in the other cities if fashionistas were allowed to make the rules.

No matter how strange the law can be, being charged with a crime can be scary. If you’ve been charged with DUI, domestic violence, or another crime in Arizona, turn to Tucson criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler.

Crazy Laws in Arizona: Marking a Flag

March 25, 2015

For some people, a flag stirs profound feelings of patriotism. For others, a flag stirs strong feelings of artistry. While the latter may not sound like such a bad thing, it can actually lead to handcuffs. The next time you have an urge to draw a kitten on Arizona’s copper star, you should keep in mind that marking the flag is actually illegal.

Origin of Flags as Symbols

To understand this law, you need to understand exactly what flags mean to some people. The use of flags can be traced at least back to ancient Rome, when standards helped distinguish and coordinate legions in battle. Once ocean travel became more common, flags began to be associated with various territories and city states both on and off the battlefield. Over time, citizens started feeling a special kinship with their flags—much as they felt with their home nations.

Defacing an Arizona Flag

Since many people associate flags with their beloved homeland, it’s no surprise that they would get offended by flag defacement. You might assume that laws protecting flags are actually protecting the state, as defacing such a potent symbol could theoretically be seen as a call to revolution. However, Arizona makes no mention of sedition in its statutes; rather, the law says it is illegal to deface a flag “in any manner likely to provoke immediate physical retaliation.” In other words, if your artistic additions to the Arizona flag are likely to earn you a punch in the face, you will get arrested.

Potential Consequences

Marking an Arizona flag is considered a class 2 misdemeanor, which means a conviction will earn you up to four months in jail, hundreds of dollars in fines, and a couple years of probation. Other class 2 misdemeanors include criminal trespassing and reckless driving. So if you were to draw on the Arizona flag while driving on your neighbor’s front lawn, you would be in serious trouble.

If you ever find yourself accused of a crime, ridiculous or otherwise, reach out to Janet Altschuler, a criminal defense attorney in Tucson. Janet Altschuler is dedicated to ensuring that Arizona residents receive fair and capable representation.

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?


Common Questions About Gun Use in Crimes

March 15, 2015

The right to own firearms is protected by the U.S. Constitution. Most of the time, gun owners use their guns responsibly—that is, if they use them at all. However, some people use their guns to threaten, injure, and kill others. Gun laws exist to hold irresponsible individuals accountable and deter others from misusing their firearms. That said, there are times when the law is applied unfairly. If you’re accused of a gun-related crime, it’s important that you hire a criminal defense attorney to help protect your rights.

When is it illegal to carry a concealed firearm?

Compared to other states, Arizona has fairly lenient gun laws. Still, it’s important for all gun owners to understand the law’s intricacies. Though most citizens over 21 are permitted to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, there are some limitations. For example, it is illegal to carry a gun onto school grounds, into a polling place on Election Day, or into a business that serves alcohol.

What’s the difference between assault and aggravated assault?

The involvement of a firearm can make a crime much more serious. For example, simple assault becomes aggravated assault once an individual uses a gun to make a threat. Discharging a firearm can be tried as criminal negligence or attempted murder, depending on the shooter’s intent. It’s not unusual for a crime involving a gun to be tried as a felony and punishable by serious jail time.

How can I lose my right to own firearms?

If convicted of a gun-related crime, an individual may lose his or her right to own a firearm. Any felony conviction—whether it’s gun-related or not—will also lead to the forfeiture of one’s gun rights. In some cases, an attorney may be able to help individuals restore their gun rights after conviction.

Tucson attorney Janet Altschuler has an extensive military background, and is knowledgeable about gun-related crime in Arizona. Call our Tucson office if you’ve been accused of a gun-related crime or if you believe your rights have been compromised.


Arizona Law and Company Embezzlement

March 9, 2015

Employees are expected to perform their duties without taking advantage of their superiors, clients, or fellow employees. Unfortunately, many people can’t resist the temptation to take money from their employers in an unethical manner. If you have been wrongfully accused of embezzlement, it’s important that you hire a skilled criminal defense attorney.

Types of Embezzlement

Every employee and employer should understand the nuances of embezzlement. Company embezzlement is a white-collar crime that involves the misappropriation of funds within a business or organization. There are numerous ways to embezzle—someone might funnel money into phantom accounts that only they have access to, or they might falsify records in such a way that benefits them financially.

Arizona Embezzlement Law

In Arizona, companies do not have to pursue criminal charges against employees who are caught embezzling. Rather, companies can either handle the matter internally or take the case to civil court. Embezzlement is considered a type of theft; however, embezzlement is slightly different in that it involves an employee who abuses their trusted role as money handler.

Consequences of Conviction

Those convicted of embezzlement receive punishment that is proportional to the amount of money they took. For instance, those convicted of embezzling over $25,000 face up to five years in prison, while embezzling less than $1,000 can lead to six months in jail. In a civil case, a judge may simply order the accused to pay back the stolen amount.

Hiring an Attorney

If you’re accused of embezzlement, hiring a criminal defense attorney is your best shot at receiving a positive judgment. A skilled lawyer can argue on your behalf and help the court understand the complexity of the situation. Even if the facts aren’t on your side, an attorney can help you reach a favorable settlement or plea deal.

You deserve a stalwart defense against your accusations. For more information about embezzlement laws in Arizona, contact Tucson criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler. Altschuler has more than 17 years of experience defending employees in Arizona.

Finding Ridiculous Laws Throughout the States

March 4, 2015

Most of the time, the law is serious business. Every once in a while, however, you come across a law so ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh a little. Each state in this great nation has its own book of laws, and each book has a few genuine head-scratchers and knee-slappers. Without further ado, here are a few silly laws from across America.


Most people will agree that winning a free game of pinball is a true blessing. In Arkansas, how however, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. No pinball machine is allowed to give a player more than 25 free games. How are pinball wizards supposed to work their magic with a measly 24 free games?


If you plan on becoming a salamander collector, you should probably stay away from Illinois. According to an oft-quoted Illinois rule, it is illegal to own more than $600 worth of salamanders in the state. To be fair, the law actually pertains to all illegally captured aquatic life. In any case, Illinois probably won’t make salamanders their official state currency anytime soon.

New Hampshire

How often do you get the urge to collect seaweed? Pretty often, right? Well, if you visit New Hampshire, you’ll need to seriously curb your maritime harvesting—at least until daybreak—for it is illegal to collect seaweed at night. So if you wake up in the middle of the night with an insatiable craving for fresh homemade sushi, you’re fresh out of luck.


Don’t even think about shooting a missile at a bus or bus station in Utah. You’ll get in trouble. Come to think of it, you’ll probably get in trouble if you hurl a missile at anything. Strangely enough, commercial security personnel are exempt from this law. Huh.

Though we didn’t include them here, Arizona has its fair share of goofy laws. If you ever find yourself accused of a crime in Arizona, reach out to Tucson criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler. Our office handles a wide variety of cases, from domestic abuse to drunk driving.