Category Archives: DUI Defense

Understanding Your 2nd DUI Charge

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Because drunk driving can be extremely dangerous to both the driver and other motorists or pedestrians on the road, it is illegal to drive in the U.S. with a blood alcohol level above .08 percent. Laws vary from state to state regarding penalties, so if you are in need of a DUI defense in Savannah, GA, it is best to work with someone who has experience with drunk driving defense.

While penalties for a first DUI charge can be difficult to recover from, the penalties only increase with each offense. Laws are different for people under 21 years old, so be aware that the focus here is on 21 and over. If the second offense is within five years of the first, there are numerous potential penalties and fines involved. Some are mandatory and others can be negotiated in court with the aid of a good attorney.

Mandatory penalties include a minimum of two days in jail, and a minimum 18 month suspension of your license, that may extend as long as three years. In some cases, a restricted license may be offered for those that require transportation to work, though this is at the discretion of the judge and is often secured only by a good defense attorney. There is a minimum $600 fine, as well as a $210 fine in order to have your driver’s license reinstated at the end of the suspension. Special classes are required, the offender is required to pay all associated fees, and often there is a mandatory 30 days of volunteer or community service.

Another possible penalty invoked at the discretion of the presiding judge is an interlock ignition device, which will not allow the car to be started until a breathalyzer test is conducted and the BAC reads zero. There is also the possibility of a jail sentence ranging from three months to a year. All of these penalties and fines are determined by a judge, but some factors that influence a judge’s decision include the BAC level at the time, how any sobriety tests were conducted, and if the offender had a suspended license prior to the arrest and charge.

A good defense attorney can help guide the judge into minimal fines and penalties, which is especially important when it is the second charge, as the penalties are worse. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI or other crime, contact me, Dennis O’Brien with O’Brien Law Firm PC. I’m a DUI criminal defense lawyer in Savannah, GA with years of experience. I can provide a unique set of skills to your defense as I am also a former police officer, so I know the process of arresting and booking from an insider perspective.

All About Defensive Driving School

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There are many advantages to signing up for a course on defensive driving (traffic school) from the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS). Traffic school offers new and experienced drivers the opportunity to hone their driving habits and skills to help reduce the risk of getting a ticket or being involved in an accident.

Traffic school also offers a number of additional benefits, including:

  • Possible reduction of auto insurance rates
  • A reduction of points on your driving record
  • Dismissal of traffic violations
  • Reinstatement of suspended license

Voluntary Course vs Court-Mandated Services

Georgia drivers can take traffic school on a voluntary basis or as ordered by the Georgia traffic court due to receiving one or several traffic citations. Depending on the circumstances of the ticket and the particulars of a person’s driving history, drivers may be able to get their citation dismissed by successfully completing a course on defensive driving.

Every time a driver is convicted of a traffic violation, such as speeding, DUI or reckless driving, he accumulates points on his driving record to coincide with the violation. An accumulation of 15 points or more within a 2 year period will result in having your license suspended.

Every 5 years, drivers are given the opportunity to have points deducted from their record to avert license suspension by taking a defensive driver course. In the event your license has already been suspended, you must complete a driver course as a prerequisite to having the license reinstated.

What Does Traffic School Entail?

By taking a Georgia defensive driving course, drivers will learn and/or review:

  • Techniques for defensive driving
  • Good driving habits and skills
  • Georgia traffic regulations and violations
  • Alcohol and drug regulations and violations
  • Rules on sharing the road and safe driving

A typical defensive driving course will take about 6 hours to complete. All participants will be expected to take and pass a final exam before receiving a certificate of completion. This certificate will need to be submitted to the Georgia DDS to satisfy court requirements for restoring your driving privileges.

When faced with a serious driving infraction such as DUI, you may require the services of a competent DUI defense attorney in Savannah, GA. By contacting Dennis O’Brien at O’Brien law Firm PC, you can take the first step toward resolving your DUI infraction with positive results.

Ignition Interlock Device FAQs

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If you are a man or woman that has been charged with multiple DUIs, you may have been ordered to use an Ignition Interlock Device or IID before you are able to operate your car. The IID is a fairly small machine, but a little bit larger than your typical cell phone. After this device has been installed in your car, you will not be able to drive it unless you provide the machine a breath sample that indicates that you have no alcohol in your blood stream.

When this device is combined with other alcohol-related treatment programs, it can be effective in lessening repeat DUI offenses. Listed below you will find some frequently asked questions and answers for your benefit:

Q: Is my Ignition Interlock Device able to detect medications that have alcohol in them?

A: Yes, your IID will most certainly detect the alcohol in your meds. These machines are designed to sense any alcohol that you may have in your blood stream regardless of the source. This includes mouthwash, cough syrups and many other over-the-counter products. During your Ignition Interlock Device training course, you will learn about which products present risks and which do not. It’s a good rule of thumb to avoid alcohol-based products altogether if you are trying to turn your car on with an IID.

Q: Can my spouse or relative use my car with an IID installed?

A: Yes, they can. It should be noted that if the person operating your vehicle does not pass the breath test of the IID, you will be the one held responsible. Each and every result that your IID puts in its memory bank will be tied back to you, not your spouse, relative or friend.

Q: I missed the service appointment for my Ignition Interlock Device. What will happen?

A: Most IIDs have the ability to remind you when it needs maintenance. If you notice the device flashing or making noise, it’s probably because it needs to be repaired or serviced. However, if you ignore the service notifications and ignore your appointment as well, the device will shut your vehicle off and lock you out of the car. The best way to avoid this mess is to show up to your appointment dates. If you miss one, contact the necessary organization or your probation officer and inform them of your issue.

Q: I’m not in the financial position at this time to pay for an Ignition Interlock Device. What can I do?

A: In certain cases a judge will grant you an Ignition Interlock Device waiver. In order to obtain this, you must be able to show the judge that paying for the IID is a serious hardship for you financially. The best way to be certain that you obtain a waiver is to consult with one or more Savannah criminal defense attorneys. An aggressive, seasoned lawyer like Dennis O’Brien will fight for your right to claim your waiver.

DUI and the Holiday Season

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Home for the Holidays

Most of us like to get together with friends and families during the holidays, and enjoy each other’s company with great food and great drink. It’s very common for men and women in Georgia to celebrate the season with a few cocktails at a party or a few beers at a bar. Police officers across the state know this, and are beefing up their numbers and cracking down on folks who may be driving under the influence.

According to statistics, holidays (and the days leading up to and following them) have alarming rates of accidents that are alcohol-related, sometimes resulting in injuries or even deaths. The GOHA or Governor’s Office of Highway Safety tells us that in 2012 between the 20th of November and the 31st of December there were:

  • 679 Injuries
  • 1,119 traffic incidents that involved alcohol
  • 20 fatalities

Incidents that were DUI related in 2012 were up 11 percent from the year before. Because of this fact, local law enforcement agencies have been teaming up with nonprofit organizations to produce a media campaign that focuses on preventing DUIs during the holidays. This collaboration is called TEAM Georgia and includes officials specializing in public safety, local businesses and local business owners, police officers, and famous athletes from various sports teams in Atlanta.

The result of this is a greatly increased presence of law enforcement on all roads and highways.

Drive Safe this Holiday Season

It’s never a good idea to get behind the wheel of an automobile if you have had a few drinks, even if you feel like you can drive. If you make the decision to do so and you get pulled over, it is important that you contact an experienced Savannah criminal defense attorney such as Dennis O’Brien. The last thing that you want to have to explain to your friends or loved ones is why you can’t see them this holiday season because you are incarcerated for driving under the influence.

The O’Brien Law Firm PC’s team of professionals is here for all Georgia residents this holiday, so if you have been accused of a DUI or another crime, call our office for a free consultation to see how we can help you avoid hefty fines and long jail times.

Avoiding an Inexperienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Savannah

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A lot of folks in Georgia and around the U.S will openly admit that they don’t like lawyers. It’s a pretty common theme amongst most people. But what is worse than finding out that the lawyer that you put your trust in (even if you didn’t like him or her) isn’t as great at their job as they said that they were?

It’s a horrible feeling to realize that your lawyer isn’t up to par, but if you take to heart some of the following tips, you can avoid that feeling altogether.

Do Your Homework – This of it like this: if you just moved to a new city, and you knew that your car needed some body work, wouldn’t you ask around and do some research to find the most trusted body shop with the best prices?

Finding the right criminal defense lawyer in Savannah or Atlanta is similar, in that you should do your due diligence and find the right lawyer for you. If you are facing a criminal charge, the result of your case is one that you will have to live with for the rest of your life, so take the time to make sure that you choose a great criminal defense lawyer. Searching the phone directory is just the first step.

Experience Matters – It might be hard for a lot of people to believe, but there are a lot of lawyers in this world who have never tried a case in the entire span of their career. One of the first questions you should ask your lawyer is how many trials he or she has had. Also consider asking:

• Were the cases that you been involved in civil or criminal cases?
• Were the cases in front of a jury or a judge?
• How many cases did you win last year?
• How many cases have you won this year?

Specialized Case=Specialized Lawyer – It is a good rule of thumb to not hire a general practitioner to do a specialized job. Most criminal defense cases are very in-depth and contain many nuances and intricacies that only a seasoned attorney like Dennis O’Brien can navigate through.

If time is of the essence in your case and you do not have enough time to search for a proper criminal defense lawyer, Dennis O’Brien can help. With years of experience as a lawyer as well as a police officer, O’Brien Law Firm PC brings a unique set of skills and understanding to the table that other lawyers cannot. Contact us today for your free initial consultation.

How a Great Savannah Criminal Defense Attorney Wins Cases

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If you have been accused of a crime, you should know that dealing with your charge is a very important piece of business that needs to be handled with care and efficiency. No matter whether you are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, your case needs to be handled with care, as you could face life-long consequences and repercussions. That is why so many men and women in Savannah, Georgia and the surrounding areas choose Dennis O’Brien as their Savannah criminal defense lawyer.

A trusted professional like Dennis O’Brien will be able to provide you with the services and expertise that you need to help you on your day in court. So, why else should you utilize the services of a criminal defense lawyer?

Knowledge – A great criminal defense attorney knows the court system like the back of their hand, and all of the nuances that come along with Georgia state law. Every case that an attorney takes is going to be different, but any lawyer worth his or her salt will have the foundation of knowledge on their side to help achieve the best results possible.

Influence – A seasoned criminal defense lawyer in Savannah like Dennis O’Brien knows who the judges and prosecutors are in their county and its surrounding areas from negotiating and working with them in the past. As such, they know what practices and strategies are more and less likely to work in a given case, depending on the prosecutor(s) and judge assigned to their client.

Dedication and Research – Depending on the type of case a lawyer is working with, a great deal of research is required to formulate a strategic defense for their client. This includes reviewing all of the evidence of the case, contacting all witnesses and much, much more. This requires dedication and professionalism, which only the best defense lawyers can provide.

If you or somebody that you know has been accused of a crime, choose Dennis O’Brien to represent you. He exemplifies each of the qualities listed above, and will fight to make sure that your rights have been upheld and do everything in his power to ensure that you are awarded a satisfactory outcome in your case.

How Many Drinks Have You Had? Savannah DUI Lawyers Answer Questions

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I have been cooperative in every aspect of my first DUI case. What happens if I plead guilty in court?

Because of the DUI laws in the state of Georgia, if you plead guilty to your first DUI charge you will receive mandatory jail time. Despite your cooperation, the judge ruling over your case has no other choice but to sentence you to jail time. When you plead guilty to your first DUI charge your license will also be suspended for one year, and you will have a DUI on your criminal record which may result in less employers hiring you. You will also experience higher automobile insurance rates among other consequences.

I do not recall my arresting officer reading me my Miranda rights. Can my case be thrown out?

A police officer only has to issue you your Miranda rights after you have been arrested and before he or she interrogates you. Under Georgia law, a police officer does not have to give a Miranda warning during an officer’s initial DUI investigation. It is a good rule of thumb to keep quiet and not say anything that may incriminate you before, during or after you have been arrested. However, if you have been placed into custody, interrogated, and not issued a Miranda warning any incriminating statements you make will not be admissible in the court of law.
It is always a good idea to contact one of the Savannah DUI lawyers if you have any questions regarding Miranda rights or any other facet of DUI law.

A colleague of mine mentioned the 10 day rule. What is this?

The 10 day rule comes into play if you refused to take a urine, blood or breath test. If this is the case in your situation, you are looking at a one year suspension of your driver’s license. You can avoid this by requesting a hearing to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, which must be hand written. If you do not make this request within 10 business days of your arrest, then your Georgia driver’s license will be suspended automatically.

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O'Brien Law Firm PC
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Savannah GA, 31401
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