Search through the internet profiles of the DUI attorneys you are considering to confirm that he or she is a specialist in “drunk driving defense”. The most highly-trained DUI lawyers have attended several of the following specialized courses:
NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Test (Student or Practitioner Course) – This is a 20 to 24 hour course that teaches the DUI attorney how field tests are supposed to be done, so that errors can be discovered and used to impeach the officer’s testimony in court. Most DUI Task Force officers have taken this course, at a minimum.
NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Test (Instructor Course) – This is the NEXT level of training for serious D.W.I. defense attorneys. This training consists of 32 to 40 hours, and teaches the DUI defense lawyer what the instructor teaches the police office students within his/her classes. This course has extensive written and DVD materials, and requires each person attending to practice instructing the course.
Breath Instrument Training Courses – Several of these breath testing devices are available, but no manufacturer will train DUI criminal defense lawyers. The manufacturers also block direct purchases of their breath machines because they fear that the flaws and limitations of the machines will be uncovered and disclosed. The best training is a 32 to 40 hour breath test course that covers the pharmacokinetics of alcohol, basic human physiology in the absorption and elimination of alcohol, the electronic components of the machine, the scientific principles upon which the machines function, shortcomings or limitations in the specificity of the devices, analysis of computer downloads and similar training.
A good course requires extensive hands-on laboratory work where the students are required to set up and connect all parts of the instrument (directly out of the packing box), connect and fill the simulator and run calibration tests, opening the cover of the machines to observe and identify the various parts (i.e., chopper motor, light source, solenoids, RFI detectors, etc.) This training meets or exceeds the training that most state supervisors receive. The National Safety Council set standards for breath instrument training in the late 1980s, and these standards are still our best available standards today. The State of Alabama has the most scientifically up-to-date breath testing program of any crime lab in the USA.
DRE (or DRT) Overview Course – The latest training for police officers (almost 100% of whom were originally trained as DUI Task Force officers) is the Drug Recognition Technician (DRT). The acronym DRE stands for drug recognition expert, a title that officers eagerly boast about. The officers are provided extensive training including time at hospitals where they observe symptoms of patients who are known to be under the influence of drugs.
Lawyers are not permitted to take the OFFICIAL course, but there are training courses designed especially for DUI-DWI attorneys to attend whereby DRE-trained, ex-police officers disclosed the PROPER and complete training methodology and expose how officers misuse this training by misstating the criteria and protocols required in conducting a proper DRE evaluation. These courses are 20 hours (or more) in length, and demonstrate the same steps that police officers must complete to be able to fully analyze a suspected DUI-drugs suspect for possible impairment.
Blood and Urine Training – Only one of these courses has been taught so far in the US. This course focuses on flaws in crime laboratory blood and urine testing procedures and testing methodology. A 24 to 32 hour course is required to identify these testing inadequacies and to explain the scientific and electronic components of blood testing by gas chromatography (for alcohol) or GC-MS methods (for drugs other than alcohol). Urine testing is also covered extensively, for such drug screening tests as immunoassay screens, marijuana identification, etc. Attorneys who handle DUI-accident cases, including vehicular homicide cases need this training to be able to challenge the junk science and sloppy laboratory work done at many state laboratories.