Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 8, 2014: OWI-4th/PAC-4th Reduced to Non-Traffic Misdemeanor Offense

A fourth offense OWI is serious business. A typical sentence for such an offense would include a jail term of 6-12 months, 3-year license revocation, ignition interlock device (IID) installation, lengthy probation, alcohol counseling and exorbitant fines. So when our client, SK, was arrested for what would be his fourth offense, he was terrified. It had been 16 years since his last OWI and he couldn't fathom facing such a harsh outcome at this stage of his life. He now had a firmly established career, owned his own home and was about to get married. All of that was in grave danger if he were convicted as charged. Knowing he had no choice but to do something about it, SK set out to find the best lawyer possible to save the life as he knew it. Fortunately, a close friend in whom SK had confided about his situation was a former client of Dennis Melowski. His friend told SK not to bother calling anyone else and to set up a meeting with Dennis. That's exactly what SK did and it was the best decision he could have made. After slugging the case out for more than a year, Dennis had sufficiently undermined the State's case against SK to the point that he was able to negotiate a fantastic deal for SK. The original fourth offense drunk driving charges were dropped. Instead, SK plead no contest to the non-traffic, non-alcohol-related misdemeanor offense of Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle. This offense carries no license loss whatsoever and will not even appear on SK's driver record, meaning no insurance ramifications. SK was also able to completely avoid probation and was spared of the awful ignition interlock requirement. SK was sentenced to just 50 days in jail, all with work release and electronic monitoring. Another extremely happy client.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 3, 2014: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .208 Blood Test Result) Reduced to Reckless Driving for CDL Client

This was truly a remarkable result given the allegations against our client, KH. Allegedly seen stumbling towards his car by a police officer after leaving a tavern, KH was warned by the officer not to get into his vehicle and drive. After initially heeding the officer's advice, KH thought enough time had elapsed that he would be okay to drive the short distance to his house. Unfortunately, the officer KH had encountered earlier was just waiting for him to drive away. A traffic stop occurred almost immediately. KH was arrested after allegedly performing very poorly on the field sobriety tests. Things only got worse from there, as the post-arrest blood test revealed an alcohol level of .208, more than two and a half times the legal limit. Knowing the deck was stacked heavily against him, KH had no choice but to fight the case. As a commercial driver's license (CDL) holder, a drunk driving conviction would professionally devastate him for years. Not knowing where to turn, KH sought advice from a local attorney who had done some work for KH in the past. Given what KH had at stake, the attorney told him that his only hope was Dennis Melowski.

When Dennis first delved into KH's case, the evidence against him seemed overwhelming. But there was a glimmer of hope. Based on what KH insisted the officer told him prior to the blood draw, Dennis believed there may be grounds to have the blood test result thrown out. Dennis knew the officer's video potentially held the key to this issue, so he requested a copy immediately. Suspiciously, however, the squad video was "inadvertently deleted" shortly after Dennis' request. Rather than chalk this up to bad luck, Dennis leveraged the failure to properly preserve the evidence into a fantastic result for KH. Under the terms of the deal, the original drunk driving charges were dropped in exchange for a plea to Reckless Driving, a non-alcohol-related offense that carries no loss of license and would have no impact on KH's CDL privileges. Aside from paying a fine that was less than half of the fine for drunk driving, KH suffered no consequences. An outstanding result in a very difficult case.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

November 17, 2014: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .186 Blood Test Result) Reduced to Reckless Driving

This outstanding result almost didn't happen. Although Dennis Melowski had reached a deal with the prosecutor that would completely avoid a drunk driving conviction for his client, KL, the judge responsible for the case bristled at the idea of approving such a drastic reduction in charges in a case with such a high blood test result and an independent citizen witness who initially reported KL to the police. But persistence paid off and Dennis was ultimately able to convince the judge to see the many holes he was able to poke in the prosecutor's case against his client. After a contentious hearing, the judge finally gave her blessing. KL completely avoided a drunk driving conviction in a case with some very difficult facts. Her career at a very prominent American corporation, which required her to maintain valid driving privileges, was preserved. Needless to say, she couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Attorney Murray Comes Up Big in Two Cases

1) November 25, 2014: Operating with a Restricted Controlled Substance Reduced to Minor City Ordinance Ticket: When BF was involved in an accident she knew she was going to be in a bit of trouble because she did not have a license.  However, she thought she would be fine when the officer asked her to perform field sobriety tests because she was sober.  Yet, even completely sober people can fail these challenging tests, which BF had the misfortune of learning....right there on the side of the road. She was arrested on the spot and taken to the hospital for a blood draw.  As is commonly done, the officer requested a drug test if BF's blood-alcohol concentration turned out to be below the legal limit for alcohol. While BF's blood-alcohol concentration did come back below .08, THC (marijuana) was found in her system, even though she had not used any for several weeks. Illegal drug cases like BF's can be extremely difficult to defend. Unlike a drunk driving case where the prosecutor has to prove a certain level (.08 or more) of alcohol consumption, in an illegal drug case the prosecutor merely has to show the drug was present in the person's system, even if it is just a trace amount from days or weeks before. Undaunted,  Attorney Murray scoured the discovery materials, including the blood test records, and prepared for trial.  On the morning of trial, the prosecutor offered to reduce the charge to a city ordinance ticket that would not even show up on BF's driving record.  The charge of Driving Without a License was also dismissed. This was about the best possible result BF could have hoped for. She avoided the awful stigma of a drug-related driving conviction and also avoided any loss of license. Another extremely happy client.

2) November 12, 2014: Client Escapes OWI-3rd Conviction for the Second Time with Our Firm: RG had previously retained our firm to represent him in an OWI-3rd several years ago. We delivered by getting those charges reduced to a non-alcohol related offense.  Unfortunately, RG picked up another OWI-3rd earlier this year and naturally came to us again.  Things initially seemed grim.  There was an accident, a high test result, and poor field sobriety tests.  But by focusing on the improper procedure used by the hospital staff in drawing RG's blood, Attorney Murray was able to convince the prosecutor to reduce the charge again to a non-alcohol related misdemeanor offense, Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.  This reduced offense carries no license loss, no ignition interlock device and will not even appear on RG's driver record. Given that this was the second OWI-third charge RG had escaped, however, the prosecutor did want some jail time.  This was problematic for RG given his work schedule.  Ultimately, Attorney Murray convinced the judge to allow RG to serve his sentence at the rate of just five days a month.  RG once again had a huge load off his chest and kept his job. Not many people are able to avoid even one offense as significant as an OWI-3rd, let alone two. These are the types of outcomes for our clients that separate us from the rest. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 3, 2014: OWI-1st/PAC-1st Reduced to Two Minor Traffic Tickets for Delivery Driver Client

MB is employed as a delivery driver for a very well-known package delivery corporation. It's an excellent job, with great pay and benefits, and one that MB couldn't imagine life without. Unfortunately, in this field, any disruption to valid driving privileges, especially when alcohol-related, is nothing short of a professional death sentence. So when MB was arrested for her first-ever drunk driving charge, she was looking at far more than just the court-imposed penalties. She was staring down the end of her career. She had to do something, but what could be done? She knew she had struggled on the field sobriety tests and she also had a breath test over the legal limit. Not knowing where to turn, MB sought the advice of a local attorney, who was pessimistic about her chances if she chose to fight the case. The attorney bluntly told MB that her only shot was to hire Dennis Melowski. Convinced Dennis was the only one who could help, MB put her future in Dennis' hands. The decision is one MB will never regret. Despite having to contend with some very difficult facts, Dennis was able to find an issue which seriously called into question the validity of how the breath test was administered to MB at the police station. By scouring the maintenance records of the breath test machine, Dennis identified an issue that most lawyers would have missed. Just a few days before MB's jury trial, Dennis was able to leverage his ammunition regarding the breath test into a fantastic result for MB. Dennis convinced the prosecutor to reduce the OWI charge to the minor traffic offense of Inattentive Driving. The remaining PAC charge was reduced to the equally minor offense of Deviation from Designated Lane. Aside from paying some fines, MB suffered no consequences from her arrest. She never lost her license for a single day and avoided the career-ending stigma of a drunk driving conviction. She is still driving for the same well-known company...and she couldn't be happier. (To read MB's thoughts of Dennis' work on her case and just how thrilled she really was, please read the review she posted on the independent lawyer-rating website Avvo. It's entitled, "Go with the Best!" and can be read here: http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/53081-wi-dennis-melowski-1523763/reviews.html).

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

October 27, 2014: Complete Dismissal of OWI-2nd/PAC-2nd Case in Milwaukee County

The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office was not particularly happy the first time Dennis Melowski got the charges against his client, WK, dismissed in this case, so they tried issuing the charges a second time...almost one year later. Unfortunately for them, their second attempt to get a conviction was no more successful than their first. The reason? The cop who arrested WK was no longer with the force and he refused to come back to face Dennis in court, despite having been personally subpoenaed by the prosecutor. On the morning of WK's scheduled jury trial, Dennis successfully persuaded the judge to dismiss all charges against WK, this time for good. Needless to say, WK was thrilled when the heavy weight that had been hanging over her head for more than two years was finally gone. To read WK's review of Dennis' work on her case on the independent attorney rating website Avvo.com, click here (the review is titled "An Excellent Attorney"):  http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/53081-wi-dennis-melowski-1523763/reviews.html

Friday, October 31, 2014

October 20, 2014: OWI-2nd/PAC-2nd Reduced to Non-Traffic Misdemeanor; Commercial Driving Client Avoids Lifetime CDL Disqualification

The stakes couldn't have been much higher for ST in this case. As a CDL holder, ST was facing lifetime disqualification of his commercial driving privileges if he got convicted of the original second offense drunk driving charges he was facing. He had no choice but to do everything in his power to avoid this devastating consequence. He knew he would have to find a lawyer up to the challenge of saving his future. During his research, ST was told of someone who had just beaten a sixth offense OWI charge on appeal, a very rare occurrence. ST was determined to find out who the defense lawyer was on that case. After doing some digging, ST learned the lawyer was Dennis Melowski. ST immediately hired him. It was the best decision he could have made. After going through ST's case with a fine-toothed comb, Dennis found several legal issues that had significant promise. Dennis brought these issues to the court's attention and a hearing was scheduled. By the close of round one of the hearings, Dennis had made significant headway into undermining the State's case against ST. Shortly before round two of the hearings, the prosecutor called Dennis and made a fantastic settlement offer. Under the terms of the deal, the original drunk driving charges would be dropped. Instead, ST would enter a no contest plea to a newly issued charge of Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, which is a non-alcohol-related, non-traffic misdemeanor offense that would not even show up on ST's driver record. ST agreed to be placed on probation for one year, but served no jail time; never lost his license for even a single day; avoided the dreadful ignition interlock device; and, most importantly, avoided a drunk driving conviction altogether. And his CDL privileges remain fully intact. Another very real result.