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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.

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.

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.

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.

Understanding Domestic Violence

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In the State of Georgia, any act of violence or threat to a member of one’s family who is living underneath the same roof can possibly lead to charges of domestic violence. Domestic violence is unique, in that these types of cases usually do not require much evidence in order for a police officer to make an arrest.

While most people think that a domestic violence charges usually involve a boyfriend-girlfriend or husband-wife situation, domestic violence cases in Georgia can include verbal abuse, dating violence, threats of violence, and neglect.

Being accused of domestic violence is a serious accusation, and one that can ultimately end in time spent in jail, loss of one’s job, and issues with child custody. It is because of these serious consequences that those who are accused of domestic violence need to contact an experienced Savannah criminal defense lawyer like Dennis O’Brien with O’Brien Law Firm PC, who can help save your character and public reputation.

Below, you will find a few definitions pertaining to domestic violence so that you will be privy to some terminology commonly associated with these serious charges.

Domestic Violence Terminology

Family Violence – This term refers to any felony offense or any simple assault, assault, simple battery, battery, criminal damage to property, criminal trespassing or unlawful restraint of a household member or family member.

Household or Family Member – Those who are considered household or family members can be past or present parents of the same child or children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or anybody who is living or formerly lived in the same home together.

Family Violence Protection Order – An alleged victim will file this petition in a Protective Order Hearing. Commonly known as a restraining order, this petition is filed by an alleged victim with the Court. The person who files this petition feels that there is evidence to support the fact that domestic violence has happened in the past, and will most likely continue to happen in the future.

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