The Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys’s (MIAOWIA) fall conference 2016 was in Detroit in November. I went to it, learned a lot, and highly recommend MIAOWIA to criminal-defense lawyers. Typically, people think of a DUI as an easy case, but they’re wrong. There’s a lot to know when defending people charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI). To effectively and intelligently defend someone charged with OWI, you must know the science, strategy, and tactics behind these cases. That’s why I’m a MIAOWIA member. It’s an organization designed only for that purpose.
Defending drinking drivers is something I’ve been learning about for a long time. In law school, I took a class on it. Being a MIAOWIA member helps me stay on top of current developments in the law and practice.
The conference was titled “DUI 1, 2, 3” and was geared to get the new OWI (commonly known as driving under the influence or DUI) defender up to speed as quickly as possible. While some of it I’ve heard before – like the science I learned during the class I took in law school – it also had a lot of new information too.
For example, I never understood the power that FOIA requests have in criminal-defense cases. FOIA stands for Freedom of Information Act. This is the process where citizens can request public documents to see what government agencies and employees do.
Since the conference, I’ve been using FOIA requests a lot more in my OWI cases. There are a variety of reasons why to go this route, but, primarily, it is because you can get much more information. More information means a better decision whether to go to trial or to make a deal.
Not only was the conference great for that, but it was a great networking too. Other MIAOWIA members were sharing stories, information, and documents to show what worked for them and what didn’t. You can’t get that kind of information on your own and it immediately makes you a better attorney.
In any event, staying on top of the current developments in the law and science of OWI cases is essential. MIAOWIA’s fall conference did exactly that. I highly, highly recommend it to all Michigan criminal-defense lawyers who take cases defending people charged with driving under the influence.