Notable Cases

Interviewer: When you think back on your cases, what is the highest BAC you’ve ever seen in someone that you represented?

Brett Hollett: A 0.44% BAC.

Interviewer: What about the most number of previous DUI cases that you’ve represented?

Brett Hollett: Seven.

Interviewer: Any interesting examples cases that you particularly remember by the way it happened? There were very hard ones or it had an unexpected result?

Brett Hollett: Yeah. Let’s see. We had a case in Tuscaloosa where the client was involved in a single vehicle accident. He ran off the side of the road. Paramedics responded. The client was disoriented and obviously intoxicated per the paramedics on the scene. They did a blood draw on the scene and they did a blood draw at the hospital. He had high BAC results per the blood draw and the client thought the whole case was doomed. He thought he was going to lose his job.

However, the prosecutor also thought he had the case in the bag. He didn’t really do his homework. He didn’t prepare for the case, and we went to trial, and we were able to have the blood results thrown out because the state hadn’t followed the proper procedures or protocol. Upon the blood results being thrown out, the state couldn’t prove their case. The guy’s case was dismissed. He was pretty happy.

Interviewer: Do you have one more example of a very unusual or strange case that you’ve dealt with?

Brett Hollett: We had a female client with a very high BAC. She blew a 0.33% and doesn’t remember much of the situation. The officer was amazed that she could even blow a 0.33%. Once they got to the hospital they did a blood draw on her, too. Through some lengthy negotiations we were able to negotiate her case down to a simple DUI and avoid jail time.

Interviewer: Do you have people that get DUIs in strange situations, like they were sleeping it off in their car?

Brett Hollett: We do. A lot of people don’t understand or don’t think that they can get a DUI if the car is parked or the ignition is turned off. We have people who get DUIs when they’re asleep in their backseat. In Alabama, you can be arrested for DUI even if you are in the backseat asleep. The law says that a person may be convicted of DUI if they can exert actual physical control of the vehicle. It may not make a lot of sense but it can happen. You can actually get arrested for DUI even if the key is not in the ignition and you’re just in the car.

Interviewer: Have you had cases where someone has gone home and someone had called the police, so the police came to the door after they were home and arrested them?

Brett Hollett: We have. Those are harder to prove for the state but yeah, we’ve had people arrested leaving scenes of the accident or basically just leaving. We had erratic driver calls, and they’ve gotten the license plate number and showed up at these people’s houses.

DUI Checkpoints

Interviewer: What about DUI or field sobriety checkpoints? Do you have those in Alabama?

Brett Hollett: We do.

Interviewer: What will typically happen? How are they different from normal DUI stuff?

Brett Hollett: They’re going to stop every driver at a checkpoint and the first thing they’re going to ask for is license and registration. They are going to try to engage you and have a 30-second conversation with you. If you can find your license and registration and you appear to be normal, they’re going to try to wave you through as quickly as they can but the people that tend to have a hard time either locating their license or finding their registration, or all of a sudden start mumbling or making up a bunch of different reasons why they can’t find their license and registration, or the officer notices any alcohol in their breath, they will likely be stopped for further detention or questioning.

Interviewer: Maybe you have people approaching a checkpoint. They turn around and try to go the other way. Do police pick them up?

Brett Hollett: Absolutely. That’s just a big no-no, even if you’re doing it out of convenience. If you avoid a checkpoint, you’re definitely going to get pulled over and even if you’re not intoxicated, you may get a ticket for trying to avoid a checkpoint altogether.

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