February 21, 2020
Have you ever ordered a package online? If so, then it’s likely that it has sometimes been delivered when you were not at home. If the package has been stolen from your doorstep, then you have been the victim of a porch pirate. But what happens if you are accused of porch piracy? Here is what you need to know about this widespread crime—and what you can do to defend yourself.
What is porch piracy?
Porch piracy is a term that refers to theft of packages that have been left at other people’s homes. Once relatively uncommon, porch piracy has become more prevalent because of the growing popularity of online shopping. However, porch piracy isn’t limited to direct theft from others’ doorsteps. If you find someone else’s package on the street or in a bush, you can still be charged with theft for keeping it.
How are porch pirates caught?
Would-be porch pirates often assume that, if they are careful, they will not be seen taking other people’s items. Today, however, many homeowners use surveillance cameras to keep their property secure. Thus, many porch pirates end up being recorded in the act of theft. Police can use this footage to prosecute individuals who have been accused of stealing other people’s packages.
How serious is porch piracy?
In Arizona, theft is broadly defined. If you find lost property—a lost package, for example—and do not make a reasonable attempt to find the rightful owner, you can be accused of theft, and the charge is just as serious as if you had taken the package from another person’s doorstep. If the package is worth less than $1,000, then its theft is defined as a class 1 misdemeanor. If the package is worth more than that, then you can be charged with a felony. If you have been accused of porch piracy, you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.
Are you in need of a criminal defense attorney in Tucson? If so, then it’s time to get in touch with Janet Altschuler. Ms. Altschuler has more than 20 years of experience in criminal law, so she can provide you with the personal representation you need to protect your rights. For a free initial consultation, call (520) 247-1789 today.
February 7, 2020
Social media has become so omnipresent in our lives that it’s easy to take it for granted. Many people don’t think twice before posting something inflammatory on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or another popular social media platform. It’s important to remember, however, that these are public spaces, and that other people can read what you write. As a result, social media posts can have consequences far beyond what we intended. In addition, police monitor social media to look for hints of potential threats. Thus, it is entirely possible to be arrested because of something you have posted on social media. Here are some people who found this out the hard way.
In 2014, a 20-year-old Los Angeles man named Dakkari McAnuff posted this on Twitter: “100 RTs and I’ll shoot someone walking.” He also posted photos showing a rifle being pointed, along with an image that seemed to show a person lying on the street. Police tracked him down and arrested him for making criminal threats, and his bail was set at $50,000. McAnuff claimed that it was an elaborate prank that he and his friends had played, and the rifle in the photos proved to be an air rifle. The district attorney’s office ultimately decided not to prosecute McAnuff.
In 2013, a 20-year-old psychology major named Caleb Clemmons posted an update to his Tumblr in which he appeared to threaten to go on a shooting spree at Georgia Southern University. In his defense, Clemmons said that the post was “an experimental literary piece and an art project,” rather than a literal threat. He was arrested and ended up spending months in jail because he and his family could not afford the bail fee. Ultimately, Clemmons was sentenced to five years’ probation for “making terroristic threats.”
In 2013, 18-year-old Justin Carter made a sarcastic comment on Facebook in which he said he would “shoot up a kindergarten.” The comment was seen and reported to the police. Carter was
arrested and jailed. Since bail had been set at $500,000, Carter spent months in jail until a good Samaritan donated the bail money to his family. Even so, he was charged with a felony offense, and faced up to 10 years in prison. Five years later, Carter accepted a plea bargain and his felony charges were dismissed.
In 2018, 18-year-old Morgan Roof made a post on Snapchat in which she said that she hoped students who were protesting against gun violence would be “shot.” Roof was reported to a school resource officer and later arrested after pepper spray and a knife were found in her locker. Roof made headlines for her arrest because of the notoriety of her brother, Dylann Roof, who murdered nine churchgoers in South Carolina in 2015.
In May 2013, 18-year-old Cameron D’Ambrosio, a Massachusetts teen who aspired to become a famous rapper, posted lyrics on his Facebook page that seemed to refer to the Boston Marathon bombings that had happened the previous month. While the lyrics did not make a specific threat against anyone, D’Ambrosio was reported to the police by other students. He was arrested and charged with making “terroristic threats.” He was eventually released from jail and his case was not prosecuted.
What do all of these cases have in common? The answer is simple: All of these people posted on social media without considering the possible consequences. Thus, they ended up getting swept into legal trouble that they could very easily have avoided. The lesson is clear: Think before you post! If anything you are thinking of writing on a social media platform could be construed as a threat, then you can spare yourself potential problems by not posting it. If you are arrested because of something you wrote on social media, however, you can still protect your rights. You simply need to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney who can help you with your case.
Are you facing a serious criminal charge? When you need a skilled legal mind in your corner, call Janet Altschuler. Ms. Altschuler has been a criminal defense attorney for more than two decades, and she is ready to provide you with the strong defense you deserve. As a former prosecutor at the Pima County Attorney’s Office, she has a thorough understanding of the local courts. She is also available 24 hours a day to assist you with your case. Call her office today at (520) 247-1789 to schedule a free consultation.
January 24, 2020
When you are facing the prospect of criminal charges, your first step should be to contact a defense attorney. If you have never worked with a criminal defense attorney before, though, then you may be wondering what exactly it is that they do. What distinguishes them from other attorneys? What are the qualities that you should be looking for? What precisely can your attorney do for you? If you understand the role that a criminal defense attorney plays in your case, then you will be better equipped to defend your rights. Here is a brief introduction to everything that a criminal defense attorney does.
Investigating your criminal case.
When you bring your case to your criminal defense attorney, the first thing they will do is to take a close look at your case. This means doing a thorough investigation. They may interview witnesses and other important parties, and they may analyze police reports. They will probably also do a complete review of all of the laws, odes, and statutes that are relevant to your case. Ultimately, your defense attorney needs to have a comprehensive understanding of every aspect of your case. That is the best way for them to provide you with the strong defense you deserve.
Developing a viable legal strategy for you.
Once your criminal defense attorney has obtained all of the information they need about your case, the next step is to decide how best to proceed. It is your attorney’s job to determine the most effective way to present your criminal case before the court. This means that they will need to develop a strategy for your defense. This is by no means a simple task. The more experience your attorney has in the area—and with your type of case—the more likely it is that they will be able to come up with a strong strategy to defend you.
Deciding whether or not to take the case to trial.
In some cases, it will be in a client’s best interest to settle out of court; in other cases, the best way forward is to go to trial. However, most individuals do not have the legal expertise to determine what is most appropriate for their case. This requires knowledge of the law and the local courts, and it also means knowing how to apply that knowledge. After all, every case is different, so the same approach will not work for every client. An experienced criminal defense attorney will have the know how needed to decide what the best option is for your case.
Representing you before the court.
Your criminal defense attorney will also represent you and your interests in court. This may mean performing any number of roles. For instance, your attorney may negotiate a plea bargain on your behalf. They may also write and file appeals for you. If you are offered an appeal by the prosecution, then your attorney can help you determine whether it is in your best interests to accept it. Your attorney may represent you at bail bond hearings, parole or probation hearings, and other important proceedings. In other words, your attorney will provide you with the full spectrum of legal services you need in order to protect your rights.
Arguing your case in the courtroom.
Finally, of course, your criminal defense attorney may appear in court and argue in your defense. This is the most famous part of an attorney’s job, but it forms only one part of the role they play. However, it is still one of the most critical things an attorney can do for you. Your attorney will question prospective jurors and decide whether or not to approve them for your jury. Then, your attorney will present evidence to the court and make arguments on your behalf. They will question witnesses and provide opening and closing statements. If your case makes it to this stage, then it is imperative that you have a criminal defense attorney who has courtroom experience.
If you’re looking for an experienced criminal defense attorney in the Tucson area, then call Janet Altschuler. She is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide you with the expert legal services you deserve. She also offers in-jail and in-custody appointments to those who need them. In other words, you can depend on her for the qualified guidance and representation you need. When you are in need of an attorney who will fight hard to protect your rights, call (520) 247-1789 today for a free consultation.
January 10, 2020
Being accused of embezzlement by your employer is bound to be a shocking experience. Indeed,it can be difficult to know what you should do in response. Embezzlement is a serious crime, and if you are found guilty, then the verdict can have serious repercussions for your life and career. If you have been confronted by your employer, then it’s essential that you speak with a qualified defense attorney. Here is what you should do next in this situation.
Understand what you are being accused of.
Everybody has heard of embezzlement, but not everybody knows the legal definition. Embezzlement happens when a person to whom financial assets have been entrusted takes those assets. For example, an employee who takes money from the cash register or overcharges customers and keeps the extra money would be committing acts of embezzlement. If your employer has accused you of embezzling from them, then it’s important to take the charge seriously.
Contact a criminal defense attorney.
When you have been charged with a serious crime, your first priority should be to ensure that your legal rights are being protected. That means that you need to get in touch with a qualified attorney. An attorney that handles cases involving embezzlement will be able to provide you with the legal guidance you need, so you can fight to establish your innocence. Your attorney should have the experience necessary to understand how to handle your case, so that they can protect you from conviction and harsh sentences.
If you are facing criminal charges, then you need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. When you need a criminal defense attorney on your side, it’s time to call Janet Altschuler. She has been serving the Tucson community for more than 20 years, and she has extensive experience with the local court systems. Call (520) 247-1789 to schedule a free initial consultation.
December 27, 2019
If you have never been arrested before, then your knowledge of the criminal justice system inevitably comes from other sources. You may have known other people who have been arrested and charged with a crime, or you may have followed certain cases in the news. Alternatively, your idea of the justice system may be heavily influenced by movies or television. If you’re like most people, then many of the things you “know” about the criminal justice system may be complete myths. These are some common misconceptions:
You get one phone call after your arrest.
We’ve all seen it happen in the movies: A person is arrested and told they only get one phone call. They agonize over who to call, finally dial the number, and—surprise!—the other person doesn’t answer. While this is a suitably dramatic situation for fiction, it doesn’t reflect the real world. In many states—including Arizona—the police are not required to allow you to make any phone calls at all after your arrest. However, if the police do permit you to use the phone to contact somebody, you will likely be permitted to make more than one call.
The police must read you your rights.
When the police take a criminal suspect into custody, they must tell them what their rights are. Broadly, this means that they must tell you that you have the right to remain silent, you have the right to an attorney, and that anything you say may be used against you in court. However, the police are not required to read you your rights during every single interaction with you, and the information you provide to them in other situations can still be used against you. Thus, you should be cautious when having a conversation with police under any circumstances.
An undercover police officer cannot lie to you about their identity.
If you ask an undercover police officer if they are, in fact, a police officer, don’t they have to tell you who they are? In fact, a police officer is legally permitted to lie to you about their identity, and many other things. An officer cannot threaten you, or make false promises; otherwise, they can stretch the truth in order to obtain evidence. In other words, you cannot depend on the assumption that a police officer is being truthful with you during your interactions. Keep this in mind whenever you are speaking with an officer.
Evidence can only be used if the police have a search warrant.
The police must obtain a search warrant in order to search your home, and they can only obtain a warrant if they have “probable cause” to believe that you have committed a criminal action. However, there are many circumstances in which police can use evidence that they have obtained without first obtaining a warrant. For example, if an officer knocks on your door, you answer, and the officer can view clear evidence of a crime from where they are standing, then they can arrest you without first going and getting a warrant.
If you’re arrested, it means you will have to stand trial.
In fact, most cases never go to trial. In 2018, for instance, only 2 percent of all defendants in federal criminal cases went to trial. Most defendants either plead guilty or have their cases dismissed. (While civil cases are often settled out of court, criminal cases must end in either conviction or dismissal.) While most people assume that an individual who is arrested will inevitably end up making their case in court, the overwhelming majority of people who are arrested will never stand in front of a judge and jury.
You don’t need an attorney for minor offenses.
Even seemingly minor offenses can cause major problems for you. Being convicted of a crime, however serious, can have lasting repercussions. It can hurt your ability to get a job, and it can make it difficult for you to get a loan. Your reputation may be damaged for a long time. Thus, it’s imperative that you seek out qualified legal representation as soon as possible after your arrest. Having an experienced and knowledgeable attorney by your side is essential if you want to protect yourself and your rights.
When you’re in need of an attorney in the Tucson area, it’s time to get in touch with Janet Altschuler. Ms. Altschuler has more than 20 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney, and she is ready to defend you and your rights. Whatever your case involves, she will fight hard to win a favorable outcome for you. If you have any questions, you can reach her office today by calling (520) 247-1789.
December 13, 2019
Motorized scooters are becoming increasingly popular all across the country. As these small vehicles have become more widespread, however, questions about how to use them safely and legally have also multiplied. For example, can you be arrested on a DUI charge for operating a motorized scooter? Here’s what you need to know about this important topic.
What is a motorized scooter?
A motorized scooter, or electric scooter, is a vehicle with two wheels or three wheels that is powered by an electric motor. Motorized scooters cannot go nearly as fast as other types of vehicles; most models will not go faster than 25 mph. In many cases, you do not need a driver’s license to operate one. They should be used in the bike or travel lane, rather than on sidewalks.
Is a motorized scooter a motor vehicle?
This year, the Arizona Senate passed a bill legally defining two types of scooters: electric miniature scooters and electric standup scooters. Individuals operating these scooters are granted the same rights and responsibilities as cyclists. However, motorized scooters are still not legally considered motor vehicles in Arizona.
Is it illegal to operate a motorized scooter under the influence?
While motorized scooters are not legally considered to be motor vehicles in Arizona and other parts of the country, DUI charges have still been brought against individuals who use them. Earlier this year, Tempe police recommended filing DUI charges against a man accused of using a motorized scooter while under the influence of alcohol. Arizona’s DUI laws are harsh, so if you have been charged with operating a motorized scooter while intoxicated, it’s important to seek legal counsel right away.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime, then you need an attorney in your corner. Janet Altschuler is a criminal defense attorney who has been serving the Tucson community for more than two decades. When you need an attorney who knows and understands the local legal system, you can count on Ms. Altschuler for the professional legal guidance you deserve. If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation, call (520) 247-1789 today.
November 22, 2019
If you’re planning an upcoming vacation to Nevada, California, Colorado, or Oregon (or any state where recreational marijuana has been legalized), then you may be planning a trip to a dispensary during your stay. However, you shouldn’t plan to purchase any more product than you plan to use on your vacation, since you can’t bring anything from the dispensary home as a souvenir. While you may have purchased those cannabis products legally, you cannot bring them back to Arizona. Here’s why.
State marijuana laws are localized.
The federal government has largely shown that they will not interfere with states’ laws concerning medical and recreational cannabis. However, each state’s laws are highly localized. Marijuana and other cannabis products sold in state dispensaries are all produced within that state. That means that you can’t bring marijuana from one state to another, even if it’s legal in both states. The moment you cross state lines, you are breaking the law.
Marijuana is still illegal on a federal level.
While the federal government has backed down on marijuana enforcement at the state level, they still have strict rules and enforcement in areas where they have full jurisdiction—such as interstate commerce. Air travel is also regulated by the federal government, so you should never try to bring any cannabis, edibles, or other THC-containing products through airport security.
Arizona has strict marijuana laws.
In Arizona, any type of marijuana possession is considered a felony offense. That means that you could face up to 4 years in prison just for bringing back a few edibles from your California vacation. Quite simply, it’s not worth the risk.
If you are facing drug possession charges, call Janet Altschuler at (520) 247-1789. Ms. Altschuler is a trusted criminal defense attorney in Tucson who has been representing clients for more than 20 years. She is ready to advocate for your rights.
November 8, 2019
Within the criminal justice system in the United States, accused parties are presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is not until a verdict is delivered at a trial that a person’s guilt will be determined and his or her sentence delivered. However, it can take several weeks or even months for a trial to be set in a criminal case following an arrest, but most people will not sit in a jail cell until their court date arrives. Instead, they will be released following their arrest on the condition that they return to court for their trial. For many people, this agreement comes with an insurance policy in the form of a refundable payment to the court: Bail.
If you’ve ever been arrested or know someone who has—or if you’ve ever watched any crime show on network television—you are likely familiar with bail. Posting bail means surrendering a sum of cash (or property of equivalent value) to the court, which will be held until the defendant’s trial. If the defendant shows up to court at the scheduled time, the bail will be returned. Otherwise, an arrest warrant is issued for the defendant and the court may keep the bail payment or property.
The cost of bail will vary depending on a few factors, most importantly the type of crime in question. For minor crimes, you may not even be brought to jail or required to pay bail. You will simply be issued a citation and instructed to show up in court at a specific time. If you are arrested and booked, you can arrange an immediate release from prison by posting bail according to the jailhouse bail schedule. This is a standard fee for common, non-violent crimes, and it may be paid prior to an arraignment or bail hearing.
In some cases, you will have to wait until your arraignment to be granted bail and for an amount to be set. In these situations, the judge will set bail based on the existing bail schedule as well arguments presented by the prosecutor as well as your defense attorney. Bail may be denied if you are a previous offender with a history of failing to show up to trial. You may also be denied bail if you are considered a flight risk due to the availability of considerable financial resources or few ties within the local community.
You may pay bail outright in cash, or it might be paid through a bail bond secured through a third party if you are unable to pay your bail in full (or put up property in an equivalent amount). Bail bonds are issued for a portion of the bail amount, usually 10%. With a bail bond, the bondsman agrees to pay bail if the defendant does not show up to trial. When the defendant does show up to court, the bondsman keeps the 10% fee.
Once you have paid bail, you will agree to follow the conditions of your release, which will include the requirement that you follow all laws. There may be additional conditions based on the circumstances of your arrest. For example, you may be instructed to not contact a former employer if you were arrested for trespassing on company property.
Alternatives to Bail
There are a handful of get out of jail free cards that can serve as alternatives to bail. In some cases, a defendant may be released on his or her own recognizance. This type of release may be granted if you are not deemed a threat to yourself or others, have no history of criminal behavior, and have established ties to the community, such as close relatives that live in the same area. You may also make an argument for a release on your own recognizance if you are the primary caretaker for another individual, such as your child or elderly parent.
A judge may also grant release without bail in a third-party release. In this situation, the defendant would be released to a third responsible party who will then answer to the judge if the defendant does not show up for trial.
If you’ve been arrested for any crime in southern Arizona, you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to review your case. Janet Altschuler is an experienced defense lawyer who is passionate about defending her clients’ rights. Her practice is exclusively dedicated to criminal law, so you know your case is getting the attention and expertise it deserves. To schedule a consultation with Ms. Altschuler, call (520) 247-1789.
October 25, 2019
No matter where you are in the United States, stalking is a crime. However, each jurisdiction has a unique definition of what stalking is and the types of punishments it may incur. In Arizona, stalking is considered a Class 5 felony on a first offense, so it is a serious charge to be brought against an individual. Because stalking can take many forms and the laws in Arizona differ from those of other states, it is helpful to understand local laws on the subject. The following questions and statistics provide an overview of how stalking is dealt with under Arizona law. Due to the gravity of a stalking conviction, you should immediately contact a defense attorney if you are25 accused of this crime.
What constitutes stalking?
Stalking may take many forms. It might include showing up uninvited to a victim’s home or workplace. It could include excessive emails, messages, or phone calls. It could also include unwanted gifts or letters. These actions and others like them constitute a course of conduct to cause fear for an individual’s personal safety, as well as that of his or her family. The threat of potential violence in these actions may be express or implied, but for this type of harassment to constitute stalking, there must be a repeated pattern of harassment, threats, or unwanted contact from a specific individual. While stalking does not always include explicitly violent behaviors, it can escalate over time. Below is a more detailed list of potential stalking behaviors:
Monitoring phone calls, emails, or social media activity
Going through garbage or personal property
Posting information or spreading rumors
Sending frequent unwanted messages, phone calls, or gifts
Threatening harm against an individual or his or her family and loved ones
Following an individual or frequently driving by an individual’s home, workplace, or
other known hangouts
Any action to control or track another individual’s behavior
What are the possible outcomes of a stalking conviction in Arizona?
Stalking carries different consequences in different states. Arizona is among only one-third of states in the U.S. that considers stalking a felony on the first offense. It is a Class 5 felony punishable by up to 2.5 years of prison time, along with significant fines. However, if there is a threat or fear of death, then the crime becomes a Class 3 felony. Prison time for this charge may range from 2-8 years.
Stalking crimes can also be complicated by a number of factors that can increase the criminal charges against an individual. For example, if there is a protective order that prevented the defendant from contacting the victim, then additional charges may be filed along with stalking. Prior felony offenses, threats made with a deadly weapon, and young age of the victim (under 16 years of age) will also increase the severity of the charges against a defendant.
How do you build a legal defense against a stalking charge?
Every criminal case is unique, which is why it is important to consult an attorney as soon as charges are raised against you, even if you feel you are innocent. In some cases, individuals accused of stalking will feel that a misunderstanding has occurred, and they will try to reason with the victim personally. However, you should never approach the victim in your case or have any contact with the victim whatsoever. Additionally, you should only speak to law enforcement or provide evidence in your case with an attorney present.
In building a defense against a stalking charge, your attorney will investigate the case to assess whether the prosecution has sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that stalking occurred. In some cases, the victim may have provided false information or misidentified the defendant as their stalker. In other situations, there may be an element of coincidence to consider. For example, if the defendant worked in a building near the victim, then he or she would likely be seen every day and may not have necessarily been following the victim to work. Regardless of the exact circumstances, your attorney will work throughout your case to defend your rights and present your side of the story.
How common is stalking?
According to the Stalking Resource Center, 7.5 million people are stalked each year in the United States. In 11% of cases, victims have been stalked for five years or more. The majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. In 2/3 of cases, victims are pursued at least once per week using multiple methods of contact and intimidation.
If you are accused of any crime, your first call should be to a criminal defense lawyer. Janet Altschuler is an experienced, aggressive defense attorney serving clients in Tucson, and she will work to uphold your rights and create the best possible outcome in your case. To learn more about her work, continue browsing our website or call (520) 247-1789.
October 11, 2019
Cyberbullying is a type of crime that has grown as digital technologies have become ever more integrated into daily life. And, unfortunately, cyberbullying can have the same negative impacts as conventional bullying. In fact, it may even be worse due to the lasting record of cyberbullying incidents that remain on social media or other publicly visible areas of the web. To combat this type of harassment and hold individuals accountable, Arizona has implemented cyberbullying laws. Read below to learn more about these laws, as well as what constitutes cyberbullying.
Arizona has had anti-cyberbullying laws in place since 2012.
The first cyberbullying laws in Arizona were passed in 2012, and restrictions have only become stricter in the years following. The law that covers most cyberbullying offenses is ARS 13- 2921(A). This law states that an individual commits cyberbullying harassment if they contact or cause communication with another individual intending to harass, alarm, or annoy the person. For example, sending threatening messages via email or social media can constitute cyberbullying. Posting naked photos or videos of an ex-partner, sometimes called “revenge porn,” is also classified as a form of cyberbullying and is a Class 5 felony punishable by up to one year in prison.
Cyberbullying is punishable with jail time.
Any type of cyberbullying can be punished with jail time. Convictions may also include charges of blackmail, stalking, or hacking, which can lead to further punishment. On its own, cyberbullying is considered a misdemeanor offense, which can carry fines of up to $2,500 and a maximum jail sentence of 6 months.
Arizona schools are obligated to implement anti-cyberbullying policies.
It is not just the justice system that is responsible for enforcing anti-cyberbullying policies. Arizona law, specifically ARS 15-341, dictates that schools must implement policies that prevent students from engaging in harassment, intimidation, and bullying through electronic networks. Districts are responsible for defining harassment and creating rules for electronic devices used on school grounds.
If you or your child is facing a cyberbullying charge, it is essential to hire a trusted criminal defense attorney to defend your rights and your family’s reputation. Janet Altschuler is an advocate for her clients, and she has been practicing law in Tucson for more than two decades. Call her office at (520) 247-1789 for a consultation.