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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.

Understanding Cyber Stalking

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With social media being as popular as it is today, and with new social media websites popping up every few days, it can be quite easy for people to get a little carried away when it comes to sending and posting messages to other individuals.

However, the line between a friendly message and cyber stalking can be a thin one. Charges associated with cyber stalking are serious in the city of Savannah and the state of Georgia. If you have found that the messages that you have sent to a person or persons have been taken out of context or misconstrued, you should seek the counsel of a seasoned Savannah criminal defense lawyer.

In the state of Georgia, the term cyber world is very broadly interpreted, and includes crimes committed on computer networks, the internet, or devices used for communication such as a smart phone, the mail, the internet or social media sites. The term stalking refers to the act of placing an individual(s) under surveillance, following an individual(s), or contacting an individual(s) without their permission, with the intent of intimidation and harassment.

When it comes to cyber stalking crimes, there are currently two forms: Harassment and stalking. Harassment is the lesser offense, and involves psychologically tormenting or harassing somebody and his or her family, essentially inflicting emotional duress and pain. Harassment crosses the line to stalking when messages or contact sent by an individual becomes malicious, threatening or infers the threat of harm. Both of these crimes can be either misdemeanors or felonies.

Law enforcement now considers cyber crimes as very serious offenses, and those convicted of such crimes can expect to face punishments that include anything from probation to time in prison. To ensure that your rights are protected, it is important for you to speak with a knowledgeable attorney who is on your side, like Dennis O’Brien. Contact the O’Brien Law Firm PC today for a free consultation.

Sexual Offenders and Their Uphill Battle

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In the state of Georgia, the community and more importantly law enforcement agencies take criminal charges involving the abuse and exploitation of children very, very seriously. Indeed, law enforcement may consider it one of the worst crimes an individual can commit.

Those who are accused and subsequently prosecuted for production, possession or distribution of materials that contain child pornography are certain to face severe consequences – consequences that will most likely stay with them for the rest of their life – and change the way that they are perceived by people in society and employers in the workforce. That is why it is so important that these individuals contact a sex offender criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, to help navigate them through their case proceedings.

According to the law in the state of Georgia, it is illegal to knowingly advertise, distribute, create or possess any sexually explicit material that contains images of children under the age of 18. The laws in Georgia and many other states were constructed so that anyone who has interaction with these materials knowingly, or has direct or indirect involvement with such materials is exploiting children, and can be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

If an individual unwittingly discovers these materials, however, they are able to file a report to the state of Georgia or to their local authorities and may be exempt from prosecution, so long as that individual does so quickly and in good faith.

Violating Georgia’s laws in regards to child pornography carries with it a sentence of between five to 20 years in prison, as well as a fine costing as much as $100,000. Most sex offenders must register with several databases, and inform their neighbors about the fact that they are sexual predators.

All sex offenders in the state of Georgia will face a hard battle in court, but especially those who have been charged with crimes against minors. If you or somebody that you know have been accused of such crimes, contact the O’Brien Law Firm PC immediately. Dennis O’Brien is not a judge; his job is to simply make sure that you are protected under Georgia law.

The Safety Is on – Places In Georgia Where You Can Carry

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While most men and women who have a Georgia Weapons License know when and where they can carry their firearm, there are still those that have questions regarding certain areas of the law that may be murky. If you fall into this category, keep reading to see answers to questions that have that will help inform you on how to properly carry a weapon in Georgia.

Am I allowed to carry a firearm into a church?

No, you cannot carry a firearm into a church or any other place of worship for that matter. However, it is not illegal to have a firearm in your car in the parking lot of a place of worship such as a church, so long as you have a valid Georgia Weapons License.

Can I carry my firearm into a restaurant?

The SB308 law does not stop you from carrying your firearm into a restaurant, so long as you have a valid Georgia Weapons license. It should be noted, however, that if the owner of the establishment does not want you in his or her restaurant because you are carrying a firearm, you must leave. Failure to do so within a reasonable amount of time is breaking the law, and may end badly, as you may be charged with criminal trespass.If you have been charged with criminal trespass, but followed proper procedure and left the eating establishment in a quick manner, contact a reputable Savannah criminal defense attorney who can help protect your rights as a gun owner.

Can I carry at a Wildlife Management Area or a State Park?

Yes, and State law preempts any local ordinances that may take issue with this. You are also allowed to carry your firearm into any publically owned and operated buildings on these types of properties.

I know that it is illegal to carry a firearm into a government building. My question is what exactly is a government building?

A government building is any building that houses an institution, division, body, board, commission, authority, department, agency or office of the state or any county, consolidated government, municipal corporation, or board of education in the state of Georgia. You should also know that if a government entity meets in a privately owned building, you cannot carry a firearm into the area of the building where the government entity exists and meets.

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.

FAQ’s About Probation

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If you or somebody that you know is involved in a case where the outcome may be a probationary sentence outside of jail or prison, you may have some questions that you have not had the opportunity to ask your future probation officer. Below are a few frequently asked questions that arise concerning probation in the state of Georgia.

Question: I’m on probation, but I have to move for work. Is this possible?

Answer: This is a common question, and one that P.O’s (probation officers) and judges get quite often. Courts will often grant a request to move to a different state, as long as such a request is for good reason. Your best course of action would be to ask your probation officer if you are allowed to move. You will still be responsible for any payments and special conditions that have been mandated by your judge and/or probation officer. It is always wise to consult with a Savannah criminal defense attorney such as Dennis O’Brien, who may be able to help you secure your request in a more effective fashion.

Question: Must I serve my entire probation sentence?

Answer: Typically you must serve your entire probation sentence. In some cases you may be allowed to mail in your monthly probation fee payments rather than visiting the probation office in person, if you have completed everything that you were required to do. However, having your lawyer file for a petition for an early release from your probation sentence is common and can be successful as well.

Question: What is the difference between parole and probation?

Answer: Parole is a kind of supervision that starts after an individual’s release from prison or country jail after already serving a part of the sentence that they received. Probation is a kind of supervision that a judge gives to an individual instead of serving their sentence behind bars. A man or woman who violates his or her probation or parole will likely have to serve the remainder of their sentence in jail or prison.

Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can help increase the chances of achieving a reduced sentence or a form of supervision such as probation. Contact our office today for a free consultation to see how O’Brien Law Firm PC can help you with your legal matters.

Living the “High” Life and Losing Your Licence

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Some of the most common cases that the Courts in the State of Georgia hear are cases involving the possession of marijuana. The penalty for such a charge, as is the case with most misdemeanors, is imprisonment for up to 12 months in jail, in addition to a fine up to $1,000. While most people are concerned about the potential for jail time in a marijuana possession case, a significant number of those who are charged are more worried about having their license suspended. Having a suspended license is not only a hassle, it can bring about serious problems if you or somebody you know relies on their car to make ends meet, or is caught driving on a suspended license.

Below is a table of the penalties involving possession of marijuana and license suspensions.

Conviction Nolo Contendere Available? License Suspension Limited Permit Available? Requirements for Reinstatement
1st Conviction in 5 Years Yes If the Court accepts a plea of Nolo Contendere, a suspension of 180 days will be implemented. No Defendant must complete a DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk Reduction Course, in addition to a $200 license reinstatement fee.
2nd Conviction in 5 Years No 1-Year Suspension No Defendant must complete a DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk Reduction Course, in addition to a $200 reinstatement fee.
3rd Conviction in 5 Years No 5-Year Suspension Yes, but only after two (2) years of what some Courts call “Hard Suspension” is completed, in addition to a Drug Treatment Program licensed by the Department of Driver Services. Defendant must also meet all other requirements from the DDS. Defendant must complete a DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk Reduction Course, in addition to a $200 license reinstatement fee.

If you have been accused of possession of marijuana in the State of Georgia, and have questions about your charges, contact Dennis O’Brien at O’Brien Law Firm PC today. Dennis has years upon years of experience offering clients criminal defense for drug cases in Savannah GA and also as as a police officer. As such, he has dealt with many cases involving marijuana. His dynamic approach to defending client’s cases has made him one of the most trusted defense lawyers in the State of Georgia.

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Savannah GA, 31401
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