Protect yourself, protect your rights. It isn’t just a misdemeanor. 520-247-1789

The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media After an Arrest

May 8, 2020

Following an arrest, your priority should be to contact your defense attorney to discuss your case. However, you may also be tempted to talk to family and friends about the incident, especially if you feel you’ve been wrongfully arrested. You might also take your thoughts to social media. Before you do start posting any info about your arrest, remember the following guidelines to ensure that your social media posts aren’t used against you in the courtroom—or in your personal life.

Don’t assume your social media accounts are private.

You may have your social media accounts set to private or “friends-only”, but you should still consider every post on your account publicly accessible. You never know if someone on your friends list has taken a screenshot of a post and shared it with someone else or posted it in a public forum. Alternatively, you might have professional colleagues following you on social media, so discussing your arrest there could cost you your job.

Don’t discuss your case on social media.

Ideally, it’s best to save your arguments about your case for the courtroom. However, you may feel compelled to discuss your arrest on social media for various reasons. If you do, stick only to the established facts of the case. You should also never make negative statements about the prosecutor or the police on social media.

Do show relevant social media posts to your attorney.

Before posting anything about your arrest to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, run it by your lawyer. He or she can advise you on discussing your case without offering any incriminating info. You might also show your attorney any social posts that could offer an alibi or be otherwise relevant to your case. Providing your lawyer with a more complete picture of your social life and whereabouts via social media can help you build a stronger defense for the courtroom.

When you need fair, dedicated representation following an arrest, call Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law. Ms. Altschuler’s practice is solely dedicated to criminal defense in Tucson, AZ, so she will provide you with the attention you deserve for a fair and speedy trial. Dial (520) 247-1789 to protect your rights.

Why You Should Never Represent Yourself in Court

April 24, 2020

If you are facing a criminal charge, then you might be tempted to try to represent yourself in court. However, this isn’t a good idea. It’s always better to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney. You are much more likely to obtain a favorable outcome to your claim if you rely on the services of a qualified professional. Here are some of the reasons you shouldn’t represent yourself:

You may not know the courtroom rules.

If you don’t have a thorough understanding of proper courtroom procedures, then you won’t be able to make an effective case. You may also violate the rules of the court without meaning to. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to ask for anyone’s help—that’s the role your attorney should be playing. If you want to always make sure that you’re adhering to the proper procedures, you need an attorney in your corner.

You may accidentally incriminate yourself.

Most individuals who try to represent themselves in court do not have a detailed knowledge of the law. Thus, it’s all too easy for them to inadvertently make statements that may harm the case they are making. An experienced attorney will know how to avoid saying things that will detract from the strength of your case.

You’re taking a needless risk.

A criminal charge carries significant penalties if you are convicted. You might face heavy fines, jail time, and a mark on your record. You might also lose your driver’s license or other privileges. All these things can inconvenience you for a long time, and they can even hurt your career. Thus, representing yourself in court simply isn’t worth the risk.

When you need an attorney in the Tucson area, don’t hesitate to contact Janet Altschuler. As a former prosecutor at the Pima County Attorney’s Office, she has the knowledge and experience needed to represent you. If you’re worried about the outcome of your case, then you need an attorney who will always work to uphold your rights. Call (520) 247-1789 for a free consultation.

Everything You Need to Know About Search Warrants in Arizona

April 10, 2020

If you’re like most people, you probably know what a search warrant is. Everybody has seen movies or television shows where a police officer knocks on someone’s door and announces that they have a search warrant. But what exactly does it mean to serve a warrant? What does it mean when you are served with one in the state of Arizona? If you want to protect your rights after your arrest, it’s important to understand what a search warrant means. Here’s what you need to know.

What is a search warrant?

A search warrant is a legal document issued by a judge to a law enforcement officer, authorizing that officer to search a specific location in order to find a person or property.

When can a search warrant be issued?

In the state of Arizona, there are several grounds under which a search warrant may be issued:

● A search warrant may be authorized so an officer can look for property that has been stolen or embezzled.

● A warrant can also be issued to search for property that has been used to commit a public offense, or that an individual is intending to use to commit such an offense.

● If a location needs to be searched as part of a safety, health, or welfare inspection, then a warrant may be issued for that purpose.

● Finally, a search warrant can be issued in order to search a location for a person who has an outstanding warrant for their arrest.

What are the legal requirements for a search warrant?

In order to be valid, a search warrant needs to be requested by a law enforcement officer and issued by a judge. The warrant must specify the place to be searched and the person or property that is being sought. In addition, the officer who is requesting the warrant must show that there is probable cause to search.

When can a search warrant be served?

Under Arizona law, a search warrant can only be served from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., unless the judge has specified in writing that the warrant can be served at any time.

Do you have to comply with a search warrant?

Yes. If a law enforcement officer has a search warrant, then you are legally obligated to permit them to search the location described in the warrant. However, you can still challenge the validity of the search warrant in court.

Can the officer searching your home seize any property?

The officer may not seize any property or persons that are not specifically mentioned in the search warrant.

Does an officer always need a search warrant in order to perform a search?

There are certain circumstances under which an officer may do a search without having a warrant. For example, if the officer is in a place where they are legally permitted to be, such as outside your door, and they can see illegal property or evidence of illegal actions in plain sight, then they can search your house without a warrant. An officer may also decide to perform a search without a warrant if they feel that it is necessary to prevent the destruction of evidence or the escape of a dangerous fugitive. Finally, you may verbally consent to the search. If your home has been searched by an officer without a warrant, it’s important to speak with an attorney so you can determine whether the officer acted lawfully.

Does a search warrant mean that you must talk to an officer?

No, you are not legally obligated to say anything to an officer who issues you a search warrant. In fact, anything you say to the officer can be used to prosecute you later. That’s why you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your property has been searched.

If an officer takes your property, do they have to provide you with a receipt?

Yes. Under Arizona law, an officer must provide you with a detailed receipt if they confiscate your property.

If you’re looking for an attorney to help you defend yourself against a criminal charge, then it’s time to get in touch with Janet Altschuler. Ms. Altschuler brings more than two decades of
experience as a criminal defense attorney to each client, and she knows the local laws and courts well. She is committed to fighting hard to protect your rights and gain a successful outcome for your case. If you would like to schedule a free consultation, call (520) 247-1789 today.

Types of Protective Orders in Arizona

March 20, 2020

Protective orders are legally enforceable documents that are intended to protect a victim from an abuser or harasser. Most often, they are used in domestic violence cases. However, it should be noted that no physical conflict needs to have taken place in order for the police to make a domestic violence arrest. A mere verbal argument is enough to land people behind bars. Upon release, it’s quite likely that they will have to abide by the conditions established in an order of protection. It’s imperative to speak with a criminal defense attorney if you’ve been arrested, charged with a crime, or served with an order of protection. Failing to strictly abide by the terms of the order can lead to additional criminal charges.

Order of Protection

The standard order of protection and the injunction against harassment (below) are two very similar documents. The main difference lies in the relationship between the alleged victim and the alleged abuser. If you’ve been served with an order of protection, it means that you have been accused of endangering the safety of a family member or household member. To determine whether an order of protection or an injunction against harassment is appropriate for any given situation, the court will use the relationship test. It considers whether the alleged victim is any of the following in relations to the alleged abuser:

 A spouse or former spouse
 A parent of the alleged abuser’s child or fetus
 Related by marriage as any type of in-law
 Related by blood or court order (including parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, or sister)
 A resident or former resident of the same household

If the relationship falls into any one of these categories, then the court may issue an order of protection, rather than an injunction against harassment. A standard order of protection enjoins the defendant from committing an act of domestic violence. It also prohibits the defendant from contacting the alleged victim, or going near that person’s home, place of employment, or school. In other words, if the defendant and alleged victim share a home together, the defendant will no longer be allowed in the home. An order of protection can also require any of the following:

 Prohibit the defendant from purchasing or possessing a firearm
 Require the defendant to temporarily transfer any currently possessed firearms to a law enforcement agency
 Require the defendant to complete a domestic violence offender treatment program
 Grant the plaintiff exclusive care or custody of any animal kept by the defendant, plaintiff, or a minor child

An order of protection typically has an expiration date of one year from the date that the
defendant is served.

Injunction Against Harassment

If the defendant and the plaintiff do not have a relationship that would warrant the issuing of an order of protection, then the plaintiff may request an injunction against harassment instead. An injunction may be used when the alleged victim alleges the defendant engaged in harassment, as defined by a series of actions directed at a certain person that annoys, harasses, or alarms that person.

This legal document is much like an order of protection. It is applicable when the two parties are dating or were formerly dating, as well as when the parties are neighbors or complete strangers. Another difference between an injunction against harassment and an order of protection is that the injunction cannot order that the plaintiff receive the exclusive use of the home (because the two parties are not household members) and the police aren’t mandated to serve an injunction.

Emergency Order of Protection

An emergency order of protection is very similar to an order of protection. It may be granted by any authorized judicial official verbally, in writing, or over the phone. An emergency order will only remain valid until the close of the next day of judicial business. It’s used in emergency situations when the courthouse is closed.

Release Order

In rural areas, an authorized judicial officer may not be available to issue an emergency order of protection. In these cases, a release order is issued instead. The release order is used when the accused domestic violence defendant is released from jail. The release order specifies the pretrial conditions that the accused must adhere to.

Any type of criminal charge is a grave matter, and a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence conviction can haunt you for many years to come. Protect your future and your freedom by arranging for aggressive legal representation. Janet Altschuler, criminal defense attorney, protects the rights of those accused in the Tucson area. Contact our law office at (520) 247-1789.

How eScooters Can Get You into Trouble

March 6, 2020

If you’re tired of walking around town, but want to reduce your carbon footprint by avoiding cars, you might be tempted to rent an eScooter. Scooters are nothing new; they actually have
roots back in the 19 th century. However, these days, eScooters are widely available throughout the U.S., thanks to scooter-sharing companies like Lime and Bird. These companies allow individuals to rent an eScooter from a kiosk. Unfortunately, the accessibility of eScooters is also giving rise to a wave of injuries and deaths stemming from eScooter usage. Here’s what you need to know about related criminal charges.

Driving an eScooter While Impaired

An eScooter is a motorized vehicle, even though it only has two wheels. It is unlawful to operate this vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs. Driving an eScooter while impaired can seriously injure yourself and others, and lead to a criminal record. It’s also possible for a DUI- related accident to lead to additional criminal charges, such as leaving the scene of an accident.

Striking a Pedestrian While Riding an eScooter

There have already been reports of at least 1,500 injuries and eight deaths stemming from eScooter usage. Some of those injuries have occurred when eScooter riders are struck by four-wheeled vehicles, but others involve eScooter riders striking pedestrians. If you’re on an eScooter and you strike a pedestrian, you just might be charged with assault. If the pedestrian suffers fatal injuries, you could be facing a manslaughter charge.

Enabling Underage eScooter Riding

Both of the major eScooter-sharing companies state that no rider should be under the age of 18, all riders must possess a valid driver’s license, and no more than one rider is allowed on an eScooter at any given time. However, enforcement is lacking. It’s possible for an adult to use their own driver’s license to rent the device, allowing an underage, non-licensed rider to use it. There have also been instances of parents letting their kids ride a single eScooter with them. Either of these situations could lead to reckless endangerment charges.

If you’ve run afoul of the law, you need a strong advocate on your side. Contact the law office of Janet Altschuler in Tucson to arrange for vigorous legal representation. Call (520) 247-1789 any
time of the day or night, seven days per week.

Spotlight on Porch Piracy in Arizona

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.

People Whose Social Media Posts Got Them Arrested

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.

Dakkari McAnuff

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.

Caleb Clemmons

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.”

Justin Carter

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.

Morgan Roof

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.

Cameron D’Ambrosio

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.

What Exactly Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Do?

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.

What to Do If You’re Accused of Embezzlement by Your Employer

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.

Common Myths About the Criminal Justice System

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.