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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.


A Look at Domestic Violence Laws in Arizona

February 25, 2015

Getting charged and convicted of domestic violence can have a huge impact on your life. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding a domestic violence incident, you deserve a robust defense organized by a skilled criminal defense attorney. It’s also a good idea to learn about domestic violence laws in Arizona so you can avoid domestic violence charges in the first place.

Types of Domestic Violence

Many people think that domestic violence only occurs between married couples. Domestic violence is defined as violence or the threat of violence between any two people who share a house, are or have been romantically involved, or are related by blood or marriage. This includes children and stepchildren. Contrary to popular belief, females aren’t the only victims of domestic violence—men are often victims, too.

Probable Cause

An officer may arrest an individual with or without a warrant if the officer has probable cause to believe that domestic violence has been committed. Probable cause might include the presence of an injury, or if an individual is using a weapon to threaten or intimidate another. An officer might arrest both parties involved if he or she believes that each person committed independent acts of domestic violence. Self-defense acts are not considered domestic violence, and will not result in charges.

Consequences of Conviction

A domestic violence conviction can lead to a variety of consequences, depending on the circumstances of the incident. A conviction can make it very difficult to get a job, or prevent an individual from obtaining a firearm. Some people have restraining orders taken out against them, or lose custody of their children. Immigrants convicted of domestic violence may even be deported.

While you might think that domestic violence is something that should be handled within your family, the state of Arizona doesn’t agree. If you’re facing domestic violence charges, let Janet Altschuler organize your defense. Janet Altschuler is a Tucson criminal defense attorney with more than 17 years of experience.

No Whaling Allowed, and Other Crazy Oklahoma Laws

February 20, 2015

There was a time when Oklahoma was considered a frontier. Back then, strange laws maybe didn’t seem so strange. Then again, it’s hard to imagine a world in which the following rules actually benefited society.

No Sharing Hamburgers

In Oklahoma, it’s supposedly forbidden to take a bite of another’s hamburger or let another person take a bite of your hamburger. Now what could be the purpose of this law? Preventing the spread of disease? Maybe. Or maybe lawmakers got sick of their colleagues stealing bites at Oklahoma Legislature picnics: “Representative Johnson, get your paws off my Big Mac at once!”

No Wearing Boots to Bed

Wearing boots to bed isn’t just tacky—it’s against the law in Oklahoma. Even if you’re just coming off of a 16-hour day of wrestling hogs, shucking corn, and bucking hay, you need to take your boots off before collapsing into bed. You can count sheep—just don’t try to wrangle them.

No Pretend Sex with Buffaloes

In the state of Oklahoma, the owner of a bar cannot permit patrons to engage in simulated sex acts with buffaloes. Technically, the statute actually prohibits all kinds of real and simulated sex acts in bars, but some esteemed citizens think it’s funny to bring buffaloes into the mix. Besides, everyone knows you should buy the buffalo a drink first.

No Whaling

Whales are some of the most majestic creatures on the planet. However, since Oklahoma is a landlocked state, it seems pretty strange for there be a “no whaling” law on the books. Imagine a conversation between a confused Oklahoman and a state legislator: “Why is there a ‘no whaling’ law?” “Well, to prevent you from hunting whales, of course.” “But I literally can’t.” “Great! It works!”

While it’s fun to laugh at other state laws, Arizona has a few strange laws of its own. If you are charged with a crime in Arizona, trust Tucson criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler. Our legal team will represent your interests in court and make sure you are treated fairly.

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?


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?