OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - It is one of the most common criminal offenses, but DUI litigation is one of the most complex areas of criminal law.
The Opelika Police Department has brought in resources to make sure their officers are trained in every part of the DUI process.
The class "DUI Contact to Courtroom," offered by the Alabama Traffic Safety Prosecutor Program, helps ensure a safer community.
"It's designed to train officers in investigating impaired driving and it takes them all the way through the investigation process all the way through the court process," explains Brandon Hughes, Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor.
The class builds on what officers already know, but offers it from a different perspective.
"The Opelika Police Department trains its officers on DUI investigations. We send out guys to the academy to learn DUI investigations, but this is the first time an attorney has ever come in, who specializes in DUI prosecutions to show our officers what they need to do to make their case even better," explains Sergeant Ben Blackburn of the Opelika Police Department.
Hughes developed this class several years ago and has taught it to different agencies around the state.
He says even though DUI cases are common, they are complicated to investigate, and it is critical to know common defenses when addressing the issue.
"Telling them what we look for, something they can do on the roadside to better prepare their cases and also what they can expect in court when they testify," says Hughes.
The course is four hours long and over the past couple weeks, OPD has had all 60 officers complete the training.
"Impaired driving affects you, me, the officers, their families, everyone on the roadway and the fact that they are going though this training is a testament to the City of Opelika and the Opelika Police Department," explains Hughes.