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.

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 15, 2014: OWI-1st/Refusal of Chemical Test Reduced to Inattentive Driving

As a resident of Illinois, JD was facing severe consequences against his driving privileges in his home state if he were convicted of his first-ever drunk driving charge in Wisconsin. The severity of his situation was compounded by the fact that JD travels extensively for his job and has to maintain a valid driver's license. Quite frankly, a drunk driving conviction would finish JD's career at his present company. He had to fight his case. But how? JD's vehicle had been called in by the concerned employee of a gas station he had just patronized and he performed poorly (on camera) during his roadside sobriety tests. Even worse, JD refused to submit to a breath or blood test following his arrest, leading to a so-called "Refusal charge" that can be very easy for prosecutors to prove...and these Refusal charges carry even worse penalties than the drunk driving charge itself. Bottom line, the deck was stacked heavily against JD and he was going to need the services of the best possible attorney he could find. Not one to leave things to chance, JD undertook extensive research of the top DUI attorneys in Wisconsin and ended up interviewing 6 of them, three of whom told JD to hire Dennis Melowski. After interviewing Dennis himself, JD knew he had found the lawyer he was looking for and it was the best decision he ever made. After months of intense negotiations, Dennis was able to reach a fantastic resolution of JD's case. Just 2 days before JD's Refusal Hearing, the prosecutor agreed to reduce the original OWI charge to the non-alcohol-related, minor traffic offense of Inattentive Driving. The remaining Refusal charge was dismissed completely. Aside from paying a fine, JD suffered no consequences from this incident. He was able to completely avoid any license loss and also avoided the horrible ignition interlock device. Most importantly, he avoided the career-ending stigma of being a convicted drunk driver. To read just how pleased JD was with Dennis' work on his case, click the following link to read his review on the independent lawyer rating website Avvo. The review is titled "The Best DUI Attorney in the State of Wisconsin": 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 7, 2014: OWI-2nd/Refusal of Chemical Test Reduced to Non-Alcohol-Related, Non-Traffic Misdemeanor

EJ was terrified at the thought of being convicted of his second offense drunk driving charge. In addition to the mandatory jail time, the 1 to 2 year license revocation he was facing, along with mandatory ignition interlock device installation in all of his vehicles, would have destroyed the business EJ had worked so hard to make successful. EJ had no choice but to fight the case, so he turned to his close friend (an attorney) for advice in finding the best possible lawyer to defend his high-stakes case. His friend provided EJ just one name: Dennis Melowski. After going through EJ's very factually difficult case with a fine-toothed comb, Dennis was able to seize upon just enough to negotiate a very favorable outcome. On the morning of EJ's scheduled Refusal Hearing, Dennis was able to convince the prosecutor to reduce the OWI-2nd charge to the non-alcohol-related, non-traffic misdemeanor offense of Negligent Operation of a Vehicle, an offense that will not even appear on EJ's driver record. The Refusal charge was dismissed completely. EJ was given one year of probation, but never lost his license for a single day and completely avoided the horrible ignition interlock requirement. Since no offense will appear on his driver record as a result of this outstanding outcome, EJ also avoided what would have been massive insurance increases for years to come. Most importantly, EJ was spared of becoming a convicted drunk driver for the second time. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September 24, 2014: Jury Finds Client NOT GUILTY in OWI-1st/PAC-1st Case (with .106 Blood Test Result)**

This complete jury exoneration of our client, TB, was another textbook example of a prosecutor overestimating the strength of his case. Because TB was arrested by a very well-trained, 18-year-veteran of the force (an expert, in fact, in both drunk driving and drug impairment detection), the prosecutor assumed he would just put his cop on the stand and it would be an open and shut case. And the fact that there was also a blood test result over the legal limit was just icing on the cake. In short, the prosecutor viewed this case as a slam dunk and he was not willing to give TB any breaks. But it is precisely this type of over-confidence that Dennis Melowski likes to take advantage of. The 18-year-veteran was no match for Dennis on the stand, as countless contradictions, embellishments and downright errors were exposed to the jury. The blood analyst suffered the same fate as he evasively played the role of apologist for the lab's breached protocols that related directly to the validity of TB's blood sample. In the end, despite Dennis not calling a single witness of his own to the stand, it took the jury only 37 minutes to find TB NOT GUILTY of both alcohol-related charges. TB walked out of the courtroom as if his drunk driving arrest never happened. It was the best possible outcome he could have hoped for and he couldn't be happier. To read this client's review of Dennis on the independent lawyer rating site Avvo, click here (the review is titled "Trial Experience and Expertise that is Second to None"):

**Over the last 3 years, Dennis Melowski has had 15 drunk driving trials go to verdict. He has won 12 of them (meaning no alcohol-related conviction of any kind). When we say that no other firm in Wisconsin can come close to matching our record of success, this is what we're talking about. If you are speaking to other lawyers about representing you for something as life-altering as your drunk driving charge, be sure to ask them their track record over the last few years. Make them be specific. You will be surprised at what you hear, if they tell you at all.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 18, 2014: OWI-1st/Refusal of Chemical Test Reduced to Reckless Driving

As a professional subject to licensing in another state, our client, TRW, had a lot riding on the outcome of this case. A drunk driving conviction would have ruined her professional reputation and haunted her for years to come. TRW's case was complicated by the fact that she refused to submit to the breath test following her arrest, leading to a separate charge that actually carries worse penalties than the drunk driving charge itself. These "Refusal Charges" as they are known, can often be very difficult to defend, since there are only a very limited number of issues that can be raised to defend such a charge. But persistence and shrewd negotiating by Attorney Liz Majerus ultimately saved the day. On the afternoon of TRW's court trial, Attorney Majerus was able to negotiate a fantastic resolution. The OWI charge was reduced to the non-alcohol-related offense of Reckless Driving and the Refusal Charge was completely dismissed. Aside from paying a fine, TRW suffered no consequences from her arrest. She never lost her license for a single day and, because she avoided the awful stigma of a drunk driving conviction, her well-deserved professional reputation is fully intact. She could not have been more pleased with this outcome.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September 4, 2014: Client Found NOT GUILTY of All Charges in OWI-1st Case (with .11 Blood Test Result)

This was a major victory for our client, CH. As a former police officer looking to get back into law enforcement, a complete exoneration in court was her only option. The prosecutor was dead set against giving CH any breaks, not only because he did not want to be perceived as giving a former cop preferential treatment, but also because he did not want to "kowtow" (his word) to Dennis Melowski. It also didn't help matters that CH was the ex-wife of the police chief, who was hellbent on making sure CH was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The trial was very contentious from the start and it was clear that the prosecution was willing to do whatever was necessary to secure a guilty verdict. But by the close of the prosecution's case to the jury, Dennis Melowski had done so much damage to the police witnesses that there was practically no case against his client left. By the time Dennis was done cross-examining the arresting officer, his credibility had been so badly damaged that, at Dennis' request, the judge took the highly unusual step of striking ALL of the officer's testimony. The judge instructed the jury to disregard everything the officer testified to and to treat the case as if the officer never took the witness stand. Without the officer's testimony, Dennis knew the prosecutor could not prove his case. Dennis asked the judge to direct verdicts of NOT GUILTY in favor of his client, a request the judge immediately granted. All charges against CH were dismissed on the spot and she was completely cleared of both the OWI and PAC charges. It was the best outcome she could have hoped for and she broke down with tears of joy. As we have said more than once, there is no substitute for superior lawyering. It's a lesson we love to teach to overzealous prosecutors. And dishonest cops.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August 11, 2014: Operating with Restricted Controlled Substance-2nd Offense Reduced to Minor Traffic Ticket

RF had no idea he was committing a serious crime at the time he was stopped for a minor equipment violation by the State Patrol. Thinking he would just receive a warning and be sent on his way, RF was stunned when the Trooper began aggressively questioning him about drug use. After some very questionable police tactics in the ensuing investigation, RF found himself cuffed and in the backseat of the squad car for allegedly Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Restricted Controlled Substance as a second offense, a serious charge involving a mandatory jail sentence and a very lengthy license revocation. Things only got worse when the result of the post-arrest blood test revealed the presence of an illegal drug in RF's system. Not knowing where to turn, RF and his mother conducted extensive research of Wisconsin's top defense attorneys. After interviewing several, they chose Dennis Melowski.

These cases can be very difficult to defend because the prosecutor only has to prove that the illegal substance was present in the blood at the the time of driving. Proving the drug was at a certain level is not required, nor is proof of impairment by the drug. Thus, the fate of such cases is often determined by whether or not there are sufficient legal challenges to get the blood test result thrown out by the judge. Recognizing the potential legal challenges in a given case and successfully raising them is often a function of the skill of the individual defense lawyer involved. After carefully reviewing the squad video evidence and police reports, Dennis Melowski identified several game-changing legal issues on RF's behalf, all of which had to do with the Trooper's investigation on the side of the road. Dennis brought these challenges to the attention of the judge in the form of written motions. Within just days of the motions being filed, Dennis received a phone call from the prosecutor who admitted there was significant merit to Dennis' arguments. A fantastic deal was offered to RF. The criminal charges would be completely dropped in exchange for a plea of no contest to a minor traffic ticket for lane deviation, a deal RF happily accepted. Aside from paying a $200 fine, RF suffered no consequences from this incident and avoided a criminal conviction. Another exceptional real result.