Client Reactions & Morale
Interviewer: How do you see people react to the process of being arrested for DUI?
Brett Hollett: I think most people’s initial feeling is fear. They’re afraid and then I think they go through some guilt, and then anger, but I think they all start out being afraid. They have a million questions going through their mind. Am I going to go to jail? How long will I lose my license? Will this cause me to lose my job? Will my partner/spouse be upset with me? How much is this going to cost? What can I do? What should I do to make this go away?
Interviewer: What are people telling you and what are their top concerns when they come to you? Are they most worried about jail? Are they worried about their driver’s license? What’s on their mind?
Brett Hollett: I think those two are the top two. Certainly nobody wants to go to jail so everybody is trying to avoid jail time. For most people, it’s really important to keep their license because they need to be able to get back and forth to work. Currently in Alabama, there isn’t a provision in the law that will allow an individual to receive a hardship license or an occupational license. Once your license is suspended, it is suspended. However, we can help reduce or even eliminate your driver’s license suspension.
Interviewer: Recently, were a lot of people in certain circumstances able to get a hardship or occupational license?
Brett Hollett: They just passed the new bill that’s going to go in effect that will allow people to get an ignition interlock installed (if they’re a first-time offender) to commute some of the suspended sentence on their driver’s license.
Interviewer: Do you have a lot of folks that say, “They got me; I was drinking, and maybe I should just throw in the towel, and plead guilty”? What do you say to people like that?
Brett Hollett: We do but a lot of people don’t understand that there are really two aspects of every DUI. Here in Alabama, there is the civil aspect. That has to do solely with the driver’s license and what we can do to attempt to keep your driver’s license and reduce or mitigate any suspension time on your driver’s license. Then, there is the criminal side. This encompasses any possible jail time and/or fines. It’s really important that people contact us as soon as possible because there are certain things regarding their driver license that are time sensitive. We need to act quickly to help them keep their driver’s license and keep driving in the meantime while we fight the criminal aspect of their case.
DUI Case Timeframe
Interviewer: That’s good. That’s good news. How long do DUI cases take on average for you to work through on your first trial or if it reaches a plea?
Brett Hollett: We tell clients, typically, that time is really on their side. I think a longer DUI case isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can be beneficial to the client. The officers tend to forget who they are. They tend to forget the circumstances and the situation. Their arrest or case is not the first thing on everybody’s mind. However, I would say the typical DUI case lasts anywhere from four to six months. Their initial court date will likely be set out a month or two after their arrest and then we may have to go to court a couple of times or wait on discovery requests. Obviously, if we requested and feel like we need a jury trial; it’s going to be a lot longer than that.
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