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What is a DUI – OWI Specialist?
Under Wisconsin rules as set by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, attorneys can only hold themselves out as a specialist in any practice area if they meet all the rules and requirements for the designation as defined by the American Bar Association (ABA) and if they receive certification as a specialist from an organization accredited to do so by the ABA.
The National College for DUI Defense (NCDD) is currently the only organization accredited by the ABA to certify attorneys in the defense area of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol as specialists. Partners Andrew Mishlove and Lauren Stuckert hold this board certification from the NCDD as Specialists in DUI Defense Law.
Lauren became board-certified this year. Together, attorneys Mishlove and Stuckert are the only DUI Defense Law Specialists in the state. They join a distinguished group of fewer than 60 attorneys nationwide who are board-certified DUI Defense Law Specialists.
Simply put, NCDD Board certification as a DUI Specialist is the highest credential attained by a DUI-OWI defense attorney.
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Board Certified DUI Defense Specialist: The Details
The American Bar Association’s professionalism rules are quite clear. Whenever a lawyer communicates that he or she is a specialist, the certifying entity should also be named. Attorneys Lauren Stuckert and Andrew Mishlove received their board-certified specializations in DUI Law from the National College for DUI Defense.
The ABA has this requirement so that potential consumers can find out more information about how the attorney is qualified as a specialist in the particular practice area. We agree with this goal 100%. If someone’s entire future is on the line, they should have easy access to the best information available about any qualified attorney with the credentials, experience and skills to defend them. Here is the link to the NCDD’s page on what they require for certification in DUI Defense Law.
Most importantly, the ABA only accredits those organizations that will:
- Identify lawyers who exhibit an advanced level of skill and expertise.
- Maintain its commitment to the development and improvement of the professional competence of lawyers.
- Certify only those attorneys who provide evidence of substantial involvement in the specialty area.
- Certify only those attorneys who provide references from lawyers and judges.
- Certify only those attorneys who pass a written examination covering the substantive and procedural law in the specialty area.
- Certify only those attorneys who complete a minimum of 36 hours of Continuing Legal Education in the specialty area within 3 years prior to applying.
- Certify only those attorneys who are admitted to practice in at least one state wherein they are members of the bar in good standing.
- Re-certify at least every 5 years; and
- Revoke certification of any attorney if they fail to meet program requirements.
What a Specialist is Not
There are many, many hardworking and talented OWI defense lawyers out there. Most attorneys understand where there strengths lie, and communicate those strengths and capabilities accurately to the public. However, when researching DUI OWI attorneys, it is important for potential clients to know that there is a solid distinction between an “experienced DUI lawyer” and a DUI Specialist.
Merely devoting or largely concentrating your legal practice on DUI-OWI cases does not make you a specialist. While it is often written that such firms “specialize” in handling DUI cases, the attorneys themselves cannot be recognized as DUI Law Specialists in Wisconsin unless they have passed the examinations and all other certification requirements put forth under the NCDD’s Board Certification program.
To be clear, it is exceedingly important and very valuable to the individual who stands accused of a drunk driving violation that his or her attorney have several years of concentrated experience in DUI OWI litigation, including jury trials. Trial experience is so important, in fact, that NCDD Specialist Certification requires attorneys to have been lead counsel in at least 15 DUI trials to verdict or judgement in order to sit for the exam. Further, the Board also requires its candidates show they were lead counsel in 40 contested DUI matters involving hearings or motions (pre-trial litigation.).
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Evidentiary hearings and trials in a Wisconsin DUI case have become more technical and technology-centered than ever before. This is where the full meaning and value of a DUI Specialist comes into focus. To become a certified specialist, the attorney must pass oral and written exams on forensic science for DUI, including:
- Blood-drug analysis
- Blood-alcohol analysis
- Medical issues affecting alcohol
- Blood gas chemistry and concepts such as ‘salting out’ and
- Intoxication test evidence.
And while the above is only a partial listing of forensic knowledge tested, the examination also tests for substantial knowledge and advanced understanding of accident reconstruction science, search and seizure law, DWI detection and field sobriety testing.
We Are Nationally Acclaimed OWI Defense Specialists
In order to have the best chances for a successful outcome, these technical sciences need to be mastered by the defending attorneys. This is what it means to be a true DUI Defense Law Specialist. At Mishlove and Stuckert, we invest heavily in advancing our technical knowledge and in acquiring critical resources. We continue to do this because we mean it when we say that we will do everything in our power to protect our clients’ freedoms and defend their futures, reputations and careers.