What Does It Mean to be Board-Certified in DUI Defense?
Board Certification means that a lawyer has demonstrated a commitment to the particular field of law, has practiced in that field for at least five years, and has learned the advanced skills necessary to provide exceptional counsel to clients.
The Florida Bar says, "Board certification recognizes attorneys' special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice."
There is a difference between a Board-Certified general criminal lawyer and a Board-Certified DUI specialist
Florida does not yet recognize DUI Defense as a separate specialty, and so Tom Hudson is not yet certified as a specialist by the Florida Bar. However, the distinction between criminal defense and DUI defense is crucial. There are hundreds of board-certified criminal trial lawyers in Florida. Many of them have little or no expertise in DUI. Tom is one of a handful of Florida lawyers who are board certified in the sub-specialty of DUI Defense.
Being a Board-Certified DUI Lawyer means knowing a lot of science. DUI cases are heavy on the forensic sciences, including blood and breath testing by gas chromatography and infrared spectroscopy. It is also important for a lawyer to be very familiar with how the body metabolizes alcohol and other impairing drugs, and also to know medical conditions which might mimic the effects of alcohol or drugs, like diabetes or high blood pressure. The lawyer must also learn about "metrology"--the study of measurement, and why some measurements are more reliable than others.
And one other thing: DUI cases involve an automatic administrative license suspension. For that reason, a DUI specialist also has to know the license suspension laws and regulations. Many general criminal lawyers--even board-certified general criminal lawyers--are not familiar with the license suspension rules. These rules can be critical, especially where a Commercial Drivers License is involved. The rules are very strict and to get the best result, you need to get things right. Don't take chances with your livelihood.
In 2004, the American Bar Association authorized the National College for DUI Defense to create a national board certification program for DUI Defense. That program requires that the lawyer have served as lead trial counsel in at least 15 DUI jury trials in the three years preceding application. It also requires at least 40 additional hearings involving the taking of evidence. The lawyer must pass an extensive background check and interviews with judges and lawyers in the community. Lastly, the lawyer must pass the Board Certification Examination. Since the program was begun in 2004, only a small minority of lawyers sitting for the DUI Board Certification Exam have passed. Fewer than 100 lawyers in the entire country have successfully passed this difficult test.
The NCDD's website describes the examination for board certification:
The exam shall cover the issues and the complexity of DUI defense, including a demonstration of knowledge in substantive, procedural and scientific areas, as well as evidentiary issues, which impact and affect the defense of a person accused of DUI.In addition to the written examination, the applicant must pass an oral examination. The oral examination will be fashioned as an appellate oral argument or a trial skills exercise, such as the examination of a witness. In conjunction with the oral examination, a brief of law or outline of the trial exercise may be required. The examination, both written and oral, will attempt to proportionately reflect the knowledge and skills needed for an enhanced level of advocacy in the field of DUI defense.
Tom Hudson was originally Board Certified in 2008, after taking the national Board Certification Examination in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was re-certified in 2013. If you want a professional in your corner--a specialist who has shown that he is among the leaders in DUI Defense nationwide, then the designation "Board Certified" could mean a lot to you! Call us today!
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