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DUI 101: Innovation in DUI Adjudication

On March 2-3, Suffolk University Law School offered the first-ever course for law students on DUI adjudication, which was funded by The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility and organized in collaboration with the National District Attorneys Association.  Suffolk University’s Law School offered the first-of-its-kind course, “Complexities in OUI Cases,” to third and fourth year law students which earned them one credit toward their required coursework. Additionally, a continuing legal education course on OUI was held on March 1st  for criminal justice professionals.

Nationwide, one of the challenges to adjudicating DUI (referred to in Massachusetts as OUI) is inexperienced prosecutors who are recent law school graduates with very little experience. DUI is one of the most complex cases to adjudicate and DUI defense attorneys are very experienced and knowledgeable. Our hope is that dedicated education on DUI will lead to more effective prosecution and ultimately reduced recidivism

The course was taught over a weekend and provided students with education on the following topics:

  • OUI statute review
  • OUI case law review
  • Elements of an OUI case and key points that challenge most prosecutors
  • The importance of collaboration with law enforcement
  • The effects of alcohol on the body
  • An orientation on breath testing and the Alcotest 9510,
  • Facts about hardcore drunk drivers (repeat offenders and drivers at high BAC levels of .15% and above) Hardcore Drunk Driving Prosecutors Guide.
  • Supervision options and administrative sanctions for OUI offenders
  • OUI from a victim’s perspective
  • Judicial perspective on OUI cases

Students participated in a mock OUI trial with a district court judge. The judge provided explanation on common areas of confusion around opening statements, cross-examinations, and the challenging details specific to OUI cases. Student had the unique opportunity to ask questions and network with a diverse range of practitioners who work on OUI cases, including judges, prosecutors, forensic scientists and law enforcement. The project will continue into 2014 and will be evaluated for effectiveness and potential expansion.

Suffolk University Law School offers over 200 upper-level electives, the most of any law school in the country, and is consistently ranked one of the most technologically advanced schools in the nation. Suffolk alumni are found in high-level judicial, political, and private positions throughout the United States. With over 25,000 alumni, Suffolk is the fourth largest law school in the United States.

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