Center for Studies of Law in Action

The Borkenstein Courses

Dear Borkenstein Alumni and Friends of the Course; 

We are pleased to announce that enrollment is open for the December 5-10, Robert F Borkenstein Course on Alcohol and Highway Safety: Testing, Research and Litigation.  The course will be held in historic Alumni Hall at the Indiana University Memorial Union in Bloomington, IN.  We are optimistic that circumstances around the pandemic will have improved by December and will permit us to proceed with these dates. The course will be held while following all applicable health and safety requirements and guidelines.

Join our customary world-renowned faculty members, and some new content for the course that has set the standard for preparing toxicologists, chemists, analysts, law enforcement officers, and traffic safety professionals, to have the most relevant and up to date information on the fundamentals of alcohol and its relationship to traffic safety and driver impairment.  

Our instructors are among the best-known names in their field from around the world, and all are involved in investigation, research and testimony on alcohol, drugs and traffic safety topics. We continually update our course content to ensure it reflects the issues of concern and interest to our students. Visit our faculty pages to see the current lecture topics, summaries and resource documents.

The course was founded in 1958, by Professor Robert F. Borkenstein, the inventor of the Breathalyzer® and a professor of Criminal Justice at Indiana University. It is a requirement in many state programs for analysts to complete the training before they go to court.   For over sixty years the course has helped over 5,000 individuals from every US state, and over 20 countries get quickly up to speed on:

  • The fundamentals of the chemistry, toxicology and pharmacology of alcohol,
  • How it is tested for in a forensically defensible manner in blood and breath,
  • The specific effects of alcohol on the skills needed for safe driving,
  • What we learned from laboratory based, and on-road driving studies with alcohol,
  • The basis for the field sobriety tests used to detect impairment in drivers,
  • Statistical treatment of test data and measurement uncertainty in alcohol analysis,
  • Use of Widmark and retrograde extrapolation calculations,
  • Typical court challenges to blood and breath alcohol test results,
  • Basic testimony skills and what to expect when you go to court,
  • The legal precedents that govern the admissibility of tests and expert testimony in court,
  • The Capstone event is the faculty panel discussion of participants questions and concerns from cases or issues they have encountered in court.

 *Special Note:
The mission of this course as envisioned by our Founder is to educate individuals involved in the implementation of scientific programs of testing and calibration for blood and breath alcohol programs. There is a policy restricting attorney registration in the program. Attorneys can refer to other programs designed exclusively for the defense bar, such as the National College for DUI Defense (, or the Chemistry and the Law section of the American Chemical Society ( that provide excellent training programs more suited to the defense bar.

The Faculty and Course Directors have worked to create a user-friendly schedule, broken out into 6 *3.5 hour sessions spread over two weeks, to allow participants to fit this critical training in around their regular work assignments, and make the extensive content engaging and manageable in the online learning environment.  We have condensed some of the curriculum material and collaborated on reducing redundancy to retain the complete syllabus and give students the full academic experience they would expect from the in-person version of the course.  

Although virtual, we will be limiting registration to encourage more instructor participant interaction.  Attendees will receive a certificate of completion of the Robert F Borkenstein Course on Alcohol and Highway Safety: Testing, Research and Litigation.

The Course will be delivered on the D2L/Brightspace learning environment, hosted by the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education (CFSRE) that allows a mix of live and pre-recorded content, participant-faculty interaction, and class interaction through Chat and meeting rooms. 

To register for the course, please go to the CFSRE registration page.

To view the schedule, please click here.

Future Courses:

We are also pleased to announce that we have scheduled the next in-person iteration of the Borkenstein Alcohol Course back on campus at Indiana University in its traditional format December 5-10, 2021.  We are optimistic that circumstances around the pandemic will have improved by December and will permit us to proceed with these dates. 

If you have questions about the May online course please reach out to
Questions about the December or future in-person courses, please contact

Upcoming Courses:

Robert F Borkenstein Course on Alcohol and Highway Safety: Testing, Research and Litigation


  • December 5 - 10, 2021 - Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Register Now

Future Alcohol Courses:

  • May 15 - 20, 2022 - Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
  • December 4 - 9, 2022 - Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
    • Questions about future in-person courses, please contact

Robert F Borkenstein Course on Drugs: Effects on Human Performance and Behavior

  • September 26 - 30, 2022 - Philadelphia, PA

This companion course on the effects of drugs on driving and the state of knowledge of drugs on human performance and impairment has been running since 2002.  It provides a primer on the pharmacology of drugs most frequently involved in suspected impaired driving cases, covering opioids, stimulants, CNS depressants, Hallucinogens, Novel Psychoactive Substances, (NPS), and the latest information on the impacts of cannabis on driving.  The course also discusses recommendations on testing procedures, scope and cut-offs, as well as guidance for effective testimony in these challenging cases.  Our instructors are internationally recognized for their leadership in this area, presenting, testifying and publishing extensively and excited about sharing this knowledge with our participants.  Looking forward to a hybrid online/in person program in September 2021!

For more information and to register for the Drug Course click on:

Special cake celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Robert F. Borkenstein Alcohol Course
Executive Course Director Dr. Barry Logan cutting cake commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Robert F. Borkenstein Alcohol Course
Faculty member Pat Harding answers questions from students at the May 2015 class
Students listening to class discussion at the May 2015 class
Student takes notes during class discussion December 2015