Yeargan & Kert - February 2020


FEBRUARY 2020 404-467-1747

BREAKING THE CYCLE OF RECIDIVISM A HARMFUL REPETITION I t says something about Groundhog Day that the movie by the same name is measurably more popular than the celebration itself. Outside of Pennsylvania, you won’t see many people lining up to witness whether or not a rodent sees its shadow, but the 1993 rom-com remains a cultural touchstone. The expression “every day is Groundhog Day” is still used even by those who haven’t seen the film. Many people can relate to the feeling of repeating the same events over and over again, but perhaps none more than those facing repeat arrests. Recidivism is a harsh reality in the criminal justice world. It’s very easy to fall into the cycle of incarceration and very hard to pull yourself out. I’ve seen plenty of success stories during my time as a defense lawyer, but I’ve also seen the people who can’t break free of repeat arrests. I’ve seen the harm it can do to their families and to themselves. Unlike “Groundhog Day,” the recidivism loop is no laughing matter. Repeat arrests result in harsher and harsher sentences, and the fees and jail time for even the most minor crimes eventually begin to add up. To make matters worse, judges and juries are less likely to be sympathetic toward those with a record of making the same mistakes. It’s a punitive attitude to have toward those who are more than likely facing significant struggles in their lives. Addiction is something that comes up a lot in most conversations about recidivism, with good reason. Without proper support and rehabilitation, chemical dependency can be next to impossible to get rid of. But rather than echo the well-established arguments for rehabilitation over incarceration, I want to look at a different source of repeated arrests: suspended licenses. It may surprise some people to learn that driving with a suspended license is one of the most common repeat offenses here in Atlanta, but when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Our metro area just isn’t built for public transit, and the bus lines that do exist aren’t nearly comprehensive enough. You need a car in this city.

Yet, people’s lives and obligations don’t stop just because they lost their license. The temptation to drive can be overwhelming, especially when faced with making it to work on time or picking up your child from school. But as with many issues that lead to recidivism, fixing the availability of transportation is a big-picture project. What can an individual do to keep themselves from falling into a cycle of arrests? From the success stories I’ve seen, the best thing to do is get everything you need to get done quickly. Making it to any required classes, jumping into community service, and keeping a pristine record through probation can help in very real ways. By putting off or delaying these alternative sentencing options, it can be easy to forget a probation appointment, beginning the process all over again. Sticking to this rigorous schedule is tough, but you don’t have to do it alone. Bill Murray’s eventual escape from his endless loop in “Groundhog Day” is only made possible after he seeks help. Only after explaining his situation and getting support is he able to take the steps that eventually break him out of the cycle. Magical loop or no, an extra hand can often give people the push they need to move forward with their life.

–Jim Yeargan



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The line between technologies that are beneficial for large businesses and those beneficial for small businesses continues to blur. While the latest software programs were once only available to large companies that could afford them, some of these programs have also become available and profitable for small businesses to use. In an age of increasing connectivity, these are a few tech trends that small businesses should watch out for. COLLABORATION WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE While it certainly shouldn’t replace every customer interaction, using AI software programs for small tasks — like email marketing, data entry, accounting, and some low-stress forms of customer service — is invaluable to small businesses. Delegating menial tasks to AI can free up time for you to focus on those more important face-to-face interactions with your customers. INCREASED USE OF DATA ANALYTICS “Big data” is intimidating. For years, sifting through customer data and extracting valuable information that can be used to grow businesses was something that only the largest companies had the time, funds, and expertise to do. However, more programs that reduce the upfront investment and expertise necessary to contextualize customer data

are popping up. If you can make use of your customers’ data, you can give them an experience with your business that they won’t find many other places. CONTINUED RELIANCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA Social media marketing remains an effective tool for attracting customers to your small business, even if the tools continue to change. While marketing on Facebook and Instagram might seem like old news, marketing on trendier apps, like TikTok, Pinterest, or Snapchat, can still work to your business’s benefit. A recent study showed that 45% of consumers head to social media when they have a question about something — are you going to be there to answer it? Keeping up with the latest and greatest tech trends in small-business management can be exhausting, but in an age where technological advancement is accelerating faster than ever, it’s necessary for the survival of businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Alternate Routes


CASUAL CARPOOLING Taking a cab or traditional ride-sharing might work for one- time situations, but these can get pricey if used to commute to work every day. That’s why more and more commuters are turning to “slugging” or “casual carpooling” with drivers offering to put together impromptu car pools for little more than gas money. Apps like Sameride have made these grassroot transportation alternatives easier to find and use than ever before. If you don’t have an option to put together a more traditional carpooling arrangement with coworkers, this can be a great substitute. Lacking a license is always going to be an inconvenience, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. These alternatives may not be perfect, but they can help you keep your obligations until you’re free to drive once again.

from work, school, and medical facilities. Not everyone is eligible for such a license however. The option exists for first-time and, in the case of DUIs, second-time offenders who can demonstrate that not having a license would genuinely threaten their livelihood, education, and/or heath. MARTA The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority leaves much to be desired in terms of its reach to many commuters. Yet, depending on where you live, this can be an effective option. Compared to the price of gas, a long-term pass might even save you money along the way. Google Maps makes it easy and convenient to explore public transit routes in your area. Be sure to use the “Schedule Explorer” to see the widest range of times and transit options to chart your most convenient route.

As Jim mentions on the cover, a suspended license can cause major difficulties in your everyday life — and can tempt you into breaking the law. However, you don’t have to be stranded. There are ways you can reduce the hardships faced by a suspended license without risking arrest. APPLY FOR A HARDSHIP LICENSE The state of Georgia acknowledges that suspending a license can put you and your family in dire straits. Thus, it’s possible to apply for a limited-use permit that will allow you to do things like drive to and



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Little-Known Offenses Committed By Accident WAIT, THAT’S A CRIME?

Most people tend to think of crimes as being premeditated. Criminals may not all be plotting comic book villains, but most people at least have a sense of when they are doing something against the law. However, the truth is that there are some crimes people commit every day without even knowing it.



As a federal crime, forgery can be very serious. The charge has been brought against masterminds and mob bosses, but it’s probably most frequently committed by unwitting secretaries. You see, technically, the offense is defined much more broadly than deliberately crafting false bank notes. The law applies to anyone who artificially produces someone else’s signature. Signing for something as simple as a package in someone else’s name, even if they’re your boss, friend, or loved one, is a felony. Of all the nonviolent crimes, theft is probably the most associated with plotting. Movies ranging from “Ocean’s 11” to “Home Alone” depict thieves going through the stages of planning their heist (to various degrees of success). But in truth, theft can very easily be a complete accident. Something as simple as mistakenly taking the wrong coat after a party could lead to a legal misunderstanding. Or, as was seen in Arizona last spring, a 4-year-old could grab a toy from the dollar store without their parents noticing, and it could result in the whole family being held at gunpoint by police. This is by far the felony of the 21st century. The ease of access and general perception of lawlessness on the internet has made copyrighted content a nightmare for creators and companies to keep a hold of. You don’t even have to pirate music to have this accusation brought against you. If you ever appropriate an image from the internet that you didn’t have permission to use, you could be running afoul of the law. Small businesses make this mistake all the time when they take popular images and memes to then use on their marketing content. Now, ignorance isn’t a defense for breaking the law, but it can be invaluable to prove your intent was not malicious in these kinds of cases. An experienced criminal lawyer can help you prove your side of the story if you ever find yourself accidentally on the wrong side of the law. THEFT COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

Make date night simple with this easy shrimp scampi recipe.

INGREDIENTS • 4 tbsp butter • 4 tbsp olive oil • 1 tbsp minced garlic • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

• 1/2 tsp oregano • 1/2 cup dry white wine • 1/4 cup lemon juice • 8 oz cooked linguine • 1/4 cup parsley

DIRECTIONS 1. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. 2. Add shrimp and oregano, stirring frequently until shrimp is pink. Remove shrimp from skillet. 3. Add wine and lemon juice to skillet and bring the mixture to a boil. 4. Stir in remaining butter and olive oil and cook until butter is melted. 5. Add cooked shrimp to skillet and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. 6. In a serving bowl, top cooked linguine with shrimp mixture. Garnish with parsley and serve.



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Yeargan & Kert, LLC 1170 Peachtree Street Suite 1200 Atlanta, GA 30309 404-467-1747



Breaking the Cycle of Recidivism

Important Tech Trends for Small Businesses to Keep Up With Getting Around With a Suspended License

Accidental Crimes Easy Shrimp Scampi

Your Epic Adventure Awaits



One of the oldest stories in Western literature is Homer’s “The Odyssey.” This epic poem tells the story of Odysseus and his long journey home after the Trojan War. While Odysseus’ travels were fraught with mythical monsters and magic, many of the places he visited are said to be inspired by real islands in the Mediterranean. Even today, travelers flock to these islands looking for peace, adventure, and epic stories of their own.


its archaeological marvels, Gozo’s visitors can also enjoy snorkeling, horseback riding, and other memorable adventures.

One of the most popular stories in “The Odyssey” is the tale of Odysseus rescuing his crew from Polyphemus, a man-eating Cyclops. It’s said that Polyphemus made his home on what is now modern-day Sicily. Fortunately, there are no Cyclopes in Sicily today; there are only cultural festivals, world-class golf courses, and delicious food.


If you want to chart your own odyssey, make your final stop Odysseus’ home, the island of Ithaca. Covered in lush greenery and quaint villages, Ithaca is a wonderful place to relax at the end of your trip. Visitors can enjoy their morning coffee by a seaside cafe before lounging on a secluded beach for the rest of the day. It’s no wonder why Odysseus fought so hard to get back to Ithaca! With dozens of other islands to explore, the Mediterranean is the perfect place to plan your own odyssey — minus the mythical monsters, of course.


While Odysseus’ journey was perilous, he did enjoy one peaceful stop. Odysseus spent seven years on the mythical island of Ogygia, home of the nymph Calypso. Historians suspect that Ogygia was Gaudos, now modern-day Gozo, Malta. Gozo is home to the Ġgantija temples, which are older than the Egyptian pyramids. In addition to exploring



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