Monday, June 18, 2012

Women of NCDD: Ava George Stewart (Illinois)

Ava George Stewart is a rising rock star in the world of DUI defense.  Her practice is located in Chicago and she currently serves as the Illinois State Delegate for NCDD.  I have heard nothing but praise regarding Ava so if you're charged with a DUI in or around Chicago, you should give her a call.  

From her website:

Professional Memberships

  • Panelist, “Immigration Consequences in Traffic Law,” Illinois State Bar Association; March 2006
  • Panelist, “Statutory Summary Suspensions, Commercial Driver’s License Issues,” Illinois State Bar Association; October 2006
  • Panelist, “Questions and Answers with Experts on Traffic Matters,” Illinois State Bar Association; March 2007
  • Panelist, “Nuts and Bolts for the Young Lawyer: Basic Traffic Law and Other Issues Facing the Young Lawyer,” Illinois State Bar Association, Young Lawyers Committee; April 2007
  • Panelist, “The Study of Illinois DUI & Traffic Related Issues; Sentencing Issues of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code; DUI/Statutory Summary Suspension, Zero Tolerance, Alcohol; Potpourri Traffic Related Issues,” Illinois State Bar Association, Civil Practice & Procedures and Traffic Laws & Courts Sections; May 2007
  • Speaker, “DUI Issues: General and Specific,” CAN TV-21, Chicago; originally aired January 2007
  • Featured in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin; 2007
  • DUI, Statutory Summary Suspension, Zero Tolerance Nuts & Bolts Panel Discussion at theTraffic Laws: Issues, Updates and Hot Topics – 2008
    Presented by the ISBA Traffic Laws and Courts Section

A DUI arrest and conviction in Chicago and surrounding Cook County willmean that you face life-altering consequences, including serious penalties such as jail time, loss of driving privileges, large fines, expensive alcohol awareness classes, and burdensome community service. A DUI conviction may also lead to increased insurance costs, significant employment difficulties, the possibility of lost income, and other financial penalties and restrictions, as well as considerable personal embarrassment.

If you are serious about defending your freedom, protecting your driving privileges, and reducing the negative financial impacts of your DUI arrest, you need a skilled, experienced and responsive DUI lawyer. If the proper paperwork is not immediately filed on your behalf, you will automatically lose your license 46 days after your DUI arrest. Immediate action is required for both felony DUI and misdemeanor charges.
When you retain the Law Office of Ava George Stewart, your case will be personally handled by Ava, a former prosecutor, and the Illinois State Delegate for The National College of DUI Defense. Ava will aggressively investigate all the legal, technical, biological, and social aspects (and more) of your arrest. From correct police procedure and probable cause, to racial profiling; from Intoxilyzer to interrogation; every aspect of your felony or misdemeanor DUI case will be rigorously examined and reviewed in order to prepare the strongest legal defense to both the criminal and civil charges you face.
With Ava standing next to you at the bench, fighting to defend your privileges, freedom, and finances, you'll see first-hand the considerable respect she has earned among Cook County judges and prosecutors. You’ll be kept informed about the status of your case, and will always know what to expect, every step along the way; you'll be provided with easy-to-follow written instructions for your specific case. Ava will never hand off your case to 'substitute' attorneys who know nothing about you, and are ignorant about the details of your case. You'll also receive an explanation about how the charges may continue to affect you, even after your case is closed.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Women of AACDL

One of the great things about traveling around the country teaching at seminars is the opportunity to meet wonderful new people.  

As readers of this blog know, I am constantly seeking out talented women lawyers to spotlight.  Having spent so many years as an observer and a victim of the outrageous sex discrimination that is a part of the culture of the National College for DUI Defense, it is particularly rewarding to discover new female trial warriors in every city that I visit.  

This weekend I had the honor to present at the Arkansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer's Betting on Justice Seminar.  There were over 100 attorneys in attendance and the speaker lineup was outstanding.  Attorneys had flown in from as far away as San Francisco and Miami.  I learned quite a bit about police interrogation tactics and DNA.

I was particularly pleased to see three female lawyers on the faculty for this seminar, as well as the largest female audience I've ever encountered.  I've often asked the question, "Where are the women?".  Well, apparently, a great many of them are practicing criminal defense in Arkansas!

Kudos to AACDL for an outstanding learning experience!  Y'all did a great job. 

I want to give a special shout out to attorneys Shannon Blatt (Arkansas), Brandi Collins (Arkansas) and Lisa Kirsch Satawa (Michigan).  You are a credit to our profession and it was wonderful to meet you.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Women of NCDD: Mimi Coffey (Dallas/Ft. Worth)

I first met Mimi Coffey in 2004. She was a rising star in DUI defense out of Ft. Worth and I was very impressed with both her knowledge and her tenacity. 
I was transitioning from a felony trial practice to DWI defense and looked to Mimi for inspiration.  She forged the science path that I later followed. 
Though our styles and personalities are very different, I have always thought of us as kindred spirits.  We both believe in justice and the greatness of the Constitution.  Mimi doesn’t just talk about being a Constitutional Warrior, she walks the walk.
 From her website:
Mimi Coffey is a trial attorney with 17 years experience.  She is the founder of The Coffey Firm, with law offices in Dallas, Tarrant and Collin counties.  She is board-certified in DWI by the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD) and has been the Texas delegate for the NCDD for several years.

She has also appeared numerous times as a legal commentator for CNN, National Fox News, as well as local Dallas/Fort Worth stations on DWI-related stories.  She is also a frequent speaker at both national and state-wide seminars.

She is a prolific trial attorney with a proven trial record.  She has tried over 300 cases, with 80% of them being jury trials in her 17-year career.  Her success include everything from .21 breath tests, blood tests  to 3 car accident cases just  to name a few. Mimi’s cases have also made good case law for the State of Texas.  For example, in Tarvin v. State, it was found that weaving within your own lane was not a traffic violation. In Lajoie v. State, the courts determined that the defendant’s request to have his attorney must be suppressed as opposed to used as evidence of guilt.

She is the author of Texas DWI Defense:  The Law and Practice.  She is also the author of three nationally-published articles and four state-wide articles.

Mimi has twice attended Indiana University’s Borkenstein Course for state toxicologists both on alcohol and drugs.  She has also completed the NHTSA SFST Course, SFST Instructor Course and the 12-Step DRE Mini-Course Program.  She is also one of the first attorneys in the United States to attend the Axion Labs Gas Chromatography Training. Her minor in college was Geology lending her a comprehensive and disciplined scientific mind when it comes to scientific and mathematical issues such as blood and breath testing.

Mimi has won the President’s Heart of a Champion Award presented by the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA) numerous times.

Mimi also led the effort to get the State Bar of Texas’ Board of Legal Specialization to recognize the NCDD’s DWI Certification.

Mimi has been active over the past 4 legislative sessions in fighting against bad DWI laws.  Her efforts prevented the breath/blood test refusal as being a separate crime.  She has advocated for true deferred adjudication for DWI.

Mimi also sued a Dalworthington Gardens police officer for illegally drawing blood.  Since her lawsuit, the 2nd Court of Appeals ruled against police officers drawing blood.  (The Court of Criminal Appeals overturned this).

Mimi also sued the Texas Department of Public Safety for its double jeopardy surcharge program.  Since the initiation of her suit, Texas DPS  has instituted amnesty programs based on one’s earning potential.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Winning Women at the 2012 DWI Defense Project

This week I had the honor of serving as a Course Director and Speaker at the Annual TCDLA DWI Defense Project.  Kudos to the Winning Women who also presented at the seminar:  Julissa Martinez (Ellis County, Texas), Stephanie Alvarado (Dallas County, Texas) and Kimberly Griffin Tucker (Denton County, Texas).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Finding the Bullet-Takers in Your Life

There are times in your life when events force those around you to show their true colors.  You find out that some people you think are your friends are not, while others rise up and are willing to take a bullet for you.

If I had made a list of the "bullet takers" before filing my discrimination lawsuit against NCDD, I would have been sadly mistaken.  People I have known for years, some as long as 18, could not wait to throw me under the bus in their haste to defend NCDD.  Their cult-like obsession with a pathetically flawed organization led them to paint me as a "villain" for exposing NCDD's discriminatory practices.  Interesting.

On a brighter note, I have discovered who the true "bullet takers" are in my life.  I have friends that have gone above and beyond in demonstrating their loyalty to me and I will forever be grateful to them.  They have been patches of sunlight in an otherwise dark time.  I am very lucky.

As a dear friend told me today - there's a lot to be said for gaining this knowledge.

So to all the bullet-takers in my life - and you know who you are - thank you.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

More Words to Live By

Words to Live By

Emailed to me this past week by a fellow attorney supporting me in my fight for equality of opportunity in the National College for DUI Defense:

“It is not the critic that counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or the doer of deeds could have them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the Arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but he who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great devotion; who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails while daring greatly, knows that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls, who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Teddy Roosevelt

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spotlight On: Mary Claire Mulligan (Colorado)

Mary Claire Mulligan is a criminal defense and DUI warrior in Boulder, Colorado.  She was recommended for this blog by a dear friend of mine who is also one of the top expert witnesses in the field of DUI defense.  He worked with her on a DUI case and was IMPRESSED with her knowledge and trial skills.  When he talks, I listen.

Charged with an alcohol-related offense in Boulder, Colorado?  Call Mary Claire Mulligan.

From her website:

Admitted: 1992, Colorado and U.S. District Court, District of Colorado

Law School: University of Colorado at Boulder, J.D.

Boulder County Bar Association

Colorado Criminal Defense Bar (Member: Board of Directors; Policy Committee; Training Committee)

Colorado Women’s Bar Association (Member, Judicial Nominating Committee)

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Sheridan Foundation Scholarship Dean’s List
Maryland Distinguished Scholar
Recipient: The Marketing Medal, 1987
Presidential Scholarship
Academic Achievement Award
Philosophy Core Essay Award
Achievement in Marketing Award
Regional Finalist, National Trial Competition, Portland, Oregon, 1992
Recipient: Moses Lasky Scholarship
Davis, Graham & Stubbs Scholarship
Bernard J. Seeman Scholarship
Student Attorney, Legal Aid and Defender Program
Co-President, Women’s Law Caucus
Treasurer, American Civil Liberties Union
Law Clerk: Office of the United States Attorney, 1990-1991
Martin McAllister & Murphy, 1991
Research Assistant to H. Patrick Furman, Clinical Professor, University of Colorado School of Law, 1991-1992
Deputy State Public Defender, 1992-1993, 1994-1997
Author, “Jury Nullification: Its History and Practice,” The Colorado Lawyer, December 2004
Coach, Boulder High School Mock Trial Team, 2003-2005
Lecturer, Criminal Procedure and Trial Practice: Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, University of Colorado Trial Advocacy Class
Legal Panelist, “Law and Justice: DUI,” 2006
Member, Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice Probation Task Force
Fellow: Boulder County Bar Foundation.

   Criminal Defense
   Drug Crimes
   Driving While Intoxicated
   Criminal Law
   Assault and Battery
   Constitutional Law
   Controlled Substances Law
   Criminal Appeals
   Criminal Conspiracy
   Criminal Fraud
   Drivers License Suspension
   Drugs and Narcotics
   Drug Forfeiture
   Drug Trafficking
   Excessive Use of Force
   False Arrest
   Fifth Amendment Law
   Fourth Amendment Law

   Grand Jury Practice
   Mail Fraud
   Malicious Prosecution
   Parole and Probation
   Police Brutality
   Police Misconduct
   Post-Conviction Remedies
   Search and Seizure
   Sex Crimes
   Sexual Assault
   Traffic Violations
   Trial Practice
   Weapons Charges
   White Collar Criminal Defense
   White Collar Crime
   White Collar Fraud
   Wire Fraud

Women of NCDD: Gretchen Lynch Taylor (Virginia)

Gretchen Lynch Taylor is a Virginia trial lawyer concentrating in DUI and criminal defense.  She is a member of NCDD and a rising star in the area of DUI defense in Virginia.  She has experience as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney and has even logged time as a law professor.

Charged with an intoxication-related offense in Virginia? Give Gretchen Lynch Taylor a call.

From her website:


1995-1997: Assistant Public Defender

1998-2002: Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney (prosecutor)

1999-2002: Adjunct Professor of Law, College of William & Mary

2002-2008: Assistant Federal Public Defender

2008-2011: Law Office of Gretchen L. Taylor

2011-present: Taylor Law Company

Ms. Taylor has both prosecuted and defended individuals charged with every conceivable crime, from Murder to DUI to federal white collar conspiracies.   She has proven to be a zealous advocate in local and federal courts all over the state of Virginia.

J.D., College of William & Mary, 1995 
Moot Court Board, Bill of Rights Journal

B.A., Virginia Tech, 1992 
Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Virginia, 1995
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, 2002
U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 2003

U.S. Supreme Court, 2004

Professional & Bar Association Memberships
Virginia State Bar
 - Member Since: 1995 

National College for DUI Defense 
- Member Since: 2009 
General Member 

Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
 - Member Since: 2008 

Fairfax Bar Association
 - Member Since: 2008