Suffolk Law School
Suffolk Law School Online DUI Course
It happens all the time. A new prosecutor, fresh out of law school, begins a new career and one of their first cases to prosecute is a drunk driving case. What most people don’t know is that DUI cases are very complex and defense attorneys have years of experience in defending these cases. The result: new prosecutors often find themselves unprepared to try DUI cases.
Responsibility.org provided funding to Suffolk University Law School to create Prosecution of the Impaired Driver, an intensive, interactive 14-week online course available to law schools nationwide. This is a first of its kind online resource for law school students that will prepare them to prosecute complex DUI cases. This resource joins Responsibility.org’s award-winning specialized resources for judges, prosecutors, probation, parole and law enforcement to improve impaired driving education among criminal justice practitioners.
Why does this course matter? The science of how alcohol affects the body is very complex, and understanding driver impairment at various BAC levels is extremely technical. Additionally, a prosecutor must qualify expert witnesses and manage motions from the experienced defense attorneys that could significantly weaken the case. Finally, jurors tend to relate to the defendant and feel as if “there but for the grace of God go I.” All of these factors make DUI cases tough to win. After taking this course, students will be better prepared to handle these difficult and important cases.
Suffolk Law School gathered a faculty of nationally recognized leaders in the fields of impaired driving to develop the course which can be adapted by individual law schools as desired. It is easily incorporated into a trial advocacy course or can be used to teach case preparation. This course will teach students technical information on DUI trials while giving hands on experience in impaired driving case discovery, direct and cross-examination of witnesses, and opening and closing arguments.
Specific topics to be covered in the online course include:
- the science behind the absorption, distribution, and elimination of alcohol;
- DUI traffic stops and standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs); and,
- common evidentiary issues that arise in DUI cases.
The practical experience gained from this course will also help to hone general trial skills that are transferable to the prosecution of criminal cases broadly. For more information about the course, or if you are a law professor who is interested in teaching it, please contact Erin Holmes, Director of Traffic Safety at [email protected].