Stephen Talpins Talks about His Passion for His Family and Public Service

05.28.14 | Permalink

An advocate, consultant and trial attorney, Stephen Talpins strives to make the world a better place. His love of country and service led him toward the path of becoming a law enforcement officer. “I lived in a home that placed a premium on serving our country and I thought that I could do that by working in the CIA,” said Stephen. “Unfortunately, I really had no capacity for language studies, which is ironic because my grandfather spoke eight languages,” noted Stephen. “I realized that my skills would be best put to use as a prosecutor, especially the debate skills I polished in high school.”

For 12 years, Stephen worked as an Assistant State Attorney in the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office where he worked in the DUI/Traffic Division, Felony Division and would develop and coordinate the Gang Strike Force, a multi-agency task force designed to investigate and prosecute violent, organized, criminal street gangs. To say he became familiar with the courts is an understatement. In his roles, Stephen investigated and prosecuted thousands of first, second and third degree felony cases and criminal traffic cases, including DUI’s, three major racketeering cases, including one of the largest gang RICO cases ever prosecuted in the Southeastern United States. As Deputy Chief then Chief of the Traffic Division, he oversaw the prosecution of over 100,000 criminal traffic cases, including 12,000-13,000 DUI cases, each year. “I am very comfortable in court,” Stephen acknowledged.

Stephen’s desire to serve his country even more, led him to a national opportunity where he could impact communities throughout the United States and not just in his home town of Miami. He began working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and National Association of Prosecutor Coordinators (NAPC) representing them as a Prosecutor Fellow at various regional and national meetings and conferences and advising on impaired driving issues.

“I realized I could really have an impact at the national level and spent time working with the National District Attorneys Association-American Prosecutors Research Institute, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and Alcohol Monitoring Systems,” he explained. 

“I enjoyed my work in Washington D.C., but after my wife and I learned our young son was autistic, we decided to go back to home where we are surrounded by family and I could go into private practice to better support my son’s needs,” said Stephen. Stephen’s extended experience in court along with his investigative background brings a unique set of skills to his practice. Stephen provides premises and products liability defense to retailers and hospitality clients and works with stakeholders in the substance abuse (alcohol and drugs), correctional (criminal justice) and public (government and non-profit) sectors. “My investigative skills from my days as a prosecutor often enable me to get cases dismissed with no payment just on the basis of investigation alone,” he revealed. “My trial experience serves me extremely well in what I’m doing today.”

When working on his cases, Stephen’s strategy is to move them along as quickly as possible to save clients both time and money. “My first step is to determine through investigation if the case is legitimate. If so, then I quickly assess the case, determine the value and advise the client on settlement or trial strategy. My goal is always to get the best possible result at the least possible cost,” Stephen said.

Stephen particularly enjoys uncovering fraudulent claims, which happens frequently. It is in those cases where he is most successful at getting the case dropped altogether. He takes advantage of his expertise on alcohol misue by defending businesses in dram shop cases where a plaintiff alleges that a licensee is liable for selling alcoholic drinks to a patron under the minimum drinking age or serving a habitual addict.  

“My passion to serve the country did not end when I went into private practice. I give 500 hours of pro bono work for government service each year,” Stephen said. He is the Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the National Partnership on Alcohol Misuse and Crime (NPAMC), an inclusive non-profit public-private partnership based in Washington, DC that is committed to identifying, developing, and promoting criminal justice programs that improve public safety, reduce recidivism and change lives for offenders who misuse alcohol. He also is the Vice President of the Institute for Behavior and Health and a Board Member of the Justice Management Institute and We Save Lives.

Steven’s strong inclination for public service was established as a young person and he plans to instill the same values in his son, Sammy, who is now 7-1/2 years old. Spending time with his family is Stephen’s highest priority. “Like his dad, Sammy enjoys a good fight and takes karate. Our favorite time together is ‘Possum time’ where we fight with Styrofoam swords. As my son says, ‘possum time is awesome time’,” said Stephen. “We also spend a lot of time reading, swimming, and having water gun fights.”

Living in South Florida, there are a number of great places for entertainment, but you likely won’t see Stephen at the beach. Instead, his family travels to Disney World in Orlando and Lion Country Safari in Palm Beach. “Just like many parents with young children, our lives revolve around Sammy and we really wouldn’t have it any other way,” Stephen said.  

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