Year One Course Syllabus

Year One Course

Course Information

  • 80 hours of lectures will be conducted over the course of 9 months.

  • Topics will cover the pathway of a DWI case from arrest through trial.

  • Scholars will learn the substance of what is needed to be learned to defend a DWI case as well as how to apply that knowledge to prepare for and conduct a trial.

  • During the course Scholars will attend a 24-hour National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Student Course.

  • Each day’s lecture will focus on a substantive topic in the morning and a trial skill applying that knowledge in the afternoon.

  • The course will culminate in a mock trial of a DWI case.

  • The Institute will have actual cases to work on.

Note: Completion of course will qualify Scholar for year two.

Register today by filling out this form.

Course Syllabus

Session 1 & 2 - September

DWI Defense

One and one-half day sessions on the basics of DWI practice in New York. Topics will include the relevant New York statutes, the arraignment process, driver’s license suspensions and revocations, the pathway of a DWI case, and penalties of a DWI conviction

Trial Skills

One half day session on DWI trial practice. Topics will include the pathway of a DWI trial, theory of case, story telling, jury selection and opening statements.

Session 3 - October

DWI Defense

Half day session on the DWI arrest process. Discussion will include the three phases of DWI detection; preliminary breath testing; an introduction into standardized field sobriety testing, and probable cause determinations.

Trial Skills

Half day session on skills. Each Scholar shall prepare and present an opening statement from a given fact pattern and present it to the group in break out sections. Instructions will focus on the implementation of skills learned from lectures on theory of case and story telling.

Session 4 - November

DWI Defense

Half day session on investigation of a DWI case, handling issues presented by discovery reform in a DWI case, motion practice pre-trial hearings and handling a DMV refusal hearing.

Trial Skills

Half day session on the cross examination of the arresting officer at both the pre-trial hearing and trial. Discussion will include how to tell your story by setting up a structure using the chapter method, establishing and maintaining control of the witness, and how to prepare for and cross examine the arresting officer. A sample cross examination will be conducted.

Session 5 - December

DWI Defense

Half day session on the pharmacology of alcohol and the fundamentals and law of breath testing. The breath testing devices relevant to those used in the jurisdictions of each Scholar shall be discussed.

Trial Skills

Half day session on the cross examination of the breath test operator. A sample cross examination will be conducted.

Session 6-8 - January or February

DWI Defense and Trial Track

Scholars will select one of two scheduled three day National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Student Courses. This hands-on course will teach the Scholars using the same curriculum law enforcement officers are trained under. This course will be instructed by nationally renowned SFST expert Anthony Palacios with Trial Practice lecture by Steven Epstein.

Session 9 - January or February

Trial Skills

Scholars will choose one of two scheduled seminars and workshops on acting techniques for lawyers. Scholars will learn how to use the space of the courtroom as a stage and to use theater techniques such as voice, blocking, inner monologue and subtext to improve persuasion skills.

Session 10 - March

DWI Defense

Half day session on blood testing for alcohol and the basics of gas chromatography. Discussion will include discovery in a blood test case, how a sample of blood is collected and tested and issues that may arise when cross examining a blood lab technicians.

Trial Skills

Summations. This discussion will focus on telling your story in summation to get the two-word verdict.

Session 11 - April

DWI Defense

Half day session on driving under the influence of drugs. Topics will include the DRE, prescription drugs, marijuana, and issues related to field testing and probable cause when drugs are alleged.

Trial Skills

Half day session during which each Scholar will deliver a summation in break out sessions which will be recorded and reviewed.

Session 12 - May

DWI Defense

Half day session during which Scholars will present their own case files to the group for discussion of the content learned throughout the sessions.

Trial Skills

Half day lecture on topics which will include bench trials, the ethical dilemma of representing the addicted client, and diversity, inclusion, and the elimination of bias. The final trial fact pattern will be distributed and discussed.

Mock Trials - June

DWI Defense and Trial Skills

•All Scholars will try a mock trial in teams of two. Each Scholar will do either an opening or a summation. Each Scholar will do a direct examination and cross examine a witness. We will record each trial and each Scholar will have their performance critiqued by an instructor from the Institute.