Thursday, March 26, 2015

March 18, 2015: OWI-1st (Prescription Drugs) Reduced to Reckless Driving

Many of our clients have much more at stake than just the court-imposed penalties for an impaired driving conviction. Often, the far greater consequence is on their professional reputation. There may not be a better example of this than our physician clients. Not only do doctors face potential sanction by the state medical board if convicted of such an offense, they also face the loss of hospital privileges. Even worse, the stigma associated with such an offense can shake the faith of patients and scare off future employers. Simply put, an impaired driving conviction has career-ending potential for doctors.

This is the situation our client, MR, found himself in when charged with his first-ever impaired driving offense. Although highly-regarded, and with more than two decades of impeccable care under his belt, MR found himself facing a professional setback that he couldn't imagine. Initially, MR's chances of avoiding a conviction on the original charges seemed quite slim, given the initial allegations. Witnesses had observed MR's car swerving all over the road, striking a yield sign, and ultimately rear-ending another driver. On top of that, MR performed very poorly on the field sobriety tests...on camera. A subsequent blood test revealed the presence of several impairment-inducing prescription medications. Despite the very damning evidence, however, MR had a viable defense. As it turns out, MR's nighttime medications were mistakenly placed in the morning compartments of the pill tray laid out by his wife. He had inadvertently taken them in the morning before driving to work, believing he had correctly taken his morning pills. In short, MR had a defense of involuntary intoxication. But getting the prosecutor to believe MR's claims turned out to be no easy task. In fact, it took Dennis Melowski more than a year. Finally, however, Dennis won the prosecutor over as the case was gearing up for trial. And it was an outcome that was definitely worth the wait for MR. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the impaired driving charges were dropped, in exchange for MR's plea to a reduced charge of Reckless Driving. Aside from paying fines, MR suffered no license loss and completely avoided any type of drug or alcohol related impaired driving conviction. Most importantly, he is facing no professional repercussions and his outstanding reputation is still fully intact. Needless to say, he is thrilled with the outcome.  

Friday, March 13, 2015

Four More Clients Avoid Drunk Driving Convictions in the Last 30 Days

Case #1: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .118 Blood Test Result) Reduced to 2 Minor Traffic Tickets for CDL Client

Our client, TK, absolutely had to get out of his first-ever drunk driving charge. A conviction would have resulted in the immediate loss of a well-paying over-the-road truck driving job, with little chance of being hired again in the future. In the commercial driving field, a DUI conviction can haunt a driver for years, long after the period of license revocation has been served. TK was referred to Dennis Melowski by a very loyal referral source, the owner of a trucking company for whom Dennis has helped countless drivers over the years. Fortunately, TK can add his name to that long list. Based on some significant legal issues Dennis was able to leverage in negotiations with the prosecutor, the original drunk driving charges against TK were dropped. Instead, TK pled no contest to 2 completely non-alcohol-related, minor traffic tickets: Inattentive Driving and Failure to Display Front License Plate. TK never lost his license for a single day and his commercial privileges are all full intact. Another commercial driving career saved.

Case #2: OWI-1st/Refusal of Chemical Test Reduced to Reckless Driving

SR has a great job out-of-state that requires her to have fully valid driving privileges at all times. Like many of our clients, SR's job was on the line if she were found guilty of the charges she was facing when she came to us. On top of that, SR's home state would impose very drastic penalties if she were convicted of DUI or Refusal in Wisconsin, making it very difficult for her to find similar work. Not knowing where to turn for help, SR sought advice from her personal attorney, who referred her to Dennis Melowski. As of two weeks ago, SR has nothing more to worry about. As it turns out, Dennis' review of the squad video revealed several deficiencies in the officer's administration of the roadside sobriety tests to SR, along with some significant contradictions between what was on the video and what was described in the officer's report. In short, the officer's credibility was very much in question. Dennis brought what he found to the attention of the prosecutor and was able to negotiate a very favorable settlement for SR, despite some VERY difficult facts in the case, including a call-in by another driver. Under the terms of the deal, the drunk driving and Refusal charges were dropped, in exchange for SR's no contest plea to Reckless Driving. Aside from paying a $313.00 fine, SR suffered no consequences from her arrest. Not only did she avoid any loss of her license, she avoided a drunk driving conviction altogether. 

Case #3: Another CDL Client's Career Saved: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .16 Breath Test Result) Reduced to 2 Minor Traffic Tickets

AB was actually referred to Dennis Melowski by one of Dennis' competitors in the Milwaukee area, a somewhat regular occurrence at our firm. Although having an excellent reputation of his own, this attorney though AB would be in better hands with Dennis, given the stakes involved and some difficult facts to overcome in AB's case. No doubt, AB had a tremendous amount on the line. He is the sole proprietor of his own trucking company in a state out West. If convicted of drunk driving, AB's CDL privileges would be completely disqualified, causing him to go out-of-business. With a wife and children to support, this was an unimaginable outcome for AB. But thanks to a significant breach of protocol in the administration of AB's breath test was revealed at AB's DOT suspension hearing, Dennis was able to create just a big enough hole in the case to negotiate a fantastic settlement. The drunk driving charges were dropped. Instead, AB entered no contest pleas to 2 minor traffic tickets: Inattentive Driving and Deviation from Lane. Bot of these minor offenses are completely non-alcohol-related and would have no impact on AB's regular or commercial driving privileges. His trucking business was completely saved and AB is a VERY happy man.

Case #4: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .098 Blood Test Result) Reduced to 2 Minor Traffic Tickets

3 years ago, Dennis Melowski was able to help JK's twin brother avoid a drunk driving conviction, an outcome that saved his commercial driving career. So when JK picked up a first offense of her own, Dennis was the first person she called. And Dennis delivered again, in a county in Southeastern Wisconsin that is notoriously difficult to deal with in drunk driving cases. After laying the groundwork for some very favorable legal issues at JK's DOT suspension hearing, Dennis was able to ultimately convince the prosecutor to drop the drunk driving charges in exchange for reduced charges of Inattentive Driving and Lane Deviation. These two completely non-alcohol-related, minor traffic offenses did not impact JK's driving privileges in any way and she was able to completely avoid the stigma of a drunk driving conviction. Another very satisfied client.

Monday, February 23, 2015

February 12, 2015: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .12 blood test result) Reduced to 2 Minor Traffic Tickets

Nothing pleases us more than helping a young adult with a promising future avoid the awful stigma of a drunk driving conviction. Beyond the obvious court-imposed penalties, the black mark of a drunk driving conviction can haunt someone for years to come, particularly when they are just starting out. Even the most routine background check will reveal the details of  a DUI conviction, often disqualifying otherwise excellent candidates from their dream jobs. That certainly was the concern for our client, CR, and his parents. An excellent student, CR was pursuing a degree in a field that would not tolerate a conviction on the drunk driving charge he found himself facing. His parents decided that Dennis Melowski was the best attorney to save their son's future. And Dennis delivered. After enduring a frustratingly slow court process, Dennis was ultimately able to leverage a legal issue he had raised into a fantastic negotiated settlement on the afternoon of a motion hearing in CR's case. Under the terms of the deal Dennis reached, the original drunk driving charges were dropped in exchange for CR's plea of no contest to 2 minor traffic offenses: Inattentive Driving and Improper Parking Off Roadway. Aside from paying fines, CR suffered no consequences. He never lost his license for even a single day and completely avoided an alcohol-related conviction. It is as if his drunk driving arrest never occurred. Most importantly, his bright and promising future is still fully intact.  CR's dad was so thrilled with the outcome that he posted a review of Dennis' work on the independent lawyer rating website Avvo. The review is entitled "Best of Class!" and can be read here: http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/53081-wi-dennis-melowski-1523763/reviews.html

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February 5, 2015: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .20 breath test result) Reduced to Reckless Driving in Milwaukee County

This was an amazing result in a case with some very difficult facts. Initially stopped for multiple traffic violations by a veteran police officer (a lieutenant, no less), our client, DP, proceeded to fail the roadside field sobriety tests and blew a .20 on the breath test done at the police department. When all was said and done, things were looking very bleak for DP. But as an out-of-state resident who traveled extensively for his job, DP simply could not have a drunk driving conviction on his record. It would have ruined him professionally. He had to do everything he could to prevent that from happening. After extensive research, DP turned to our firm to save his career. After slugging it out in court for more than a year, Attorneys Singh and Melowski ultimately did enough damage to the prosecutor's case to negotiate a very favorable outcome, due primarily to deficiencies in the breath test machine they were able to expose. Under the terms of the deal, DP completely avoided a drunk driving conviction by having that charge reduced to Reckless Driving. DP never lost his license for even a single day and suffered no employment repercussions. He couldn't have been happier with the result. DP was so happy, in fact, that he posted a glowing review of our work in his case on the independent lawyer rating website Avvo.com. The review is titled "Amazing Results" and can be read by clicking the following link: http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/53081-wi-dennis-melowski-1523763/reviews.html

Monday, February 2, 2015

January 14: 2015: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .138 blood test result) Reduced to 2 Minor Traffic Tickets in the Middle of a Jury Trial

This was a major victory for our client, MN. He had been arrested for drunk driving the night before he was scheduled to start a very lucrative new job with a large corporation...a job that required him to have a valid CDL. A drunk driving conviction would immediately disqualify his CDL and MN would lose the job he had worked so hard to obtain. He had no choice but to fight the case. Dealing with a very stubborn prosecutor, the case was destined for trial from the beginning and Dennis prepared it accordingly. Although Dennis was able to unearth several promising issues in the case, he was careful not to disclose them to this particular prosecutor, knowing he still would not budge off the drunk driving charge. Not wanting to needlessly tip his hand, Dennis waited until trial to unleash what he had discovered on the unsuspecting prosecutor. As it turned out, it was a strategic move that paid huge dividends. During the trial,  Dennis' cross-examination of the arresting officer was so effective in undermining the case against his client that during the first court recess afterwards, the judge asked to see both attorneys in his chambers. The judge literally told the prosecutor that he was going to lose the case if it went to the jury and strongly encouraged him to settle the case to avoid a complete loss. Initially reluctant (apparently he couldn't see the jury's eye rolls during the officer's testimony), the prosecutor finally, and grudgingly, agreed. And it was a settlement that couldn't have been much better for MN. Under the deal, the drunk driving charges were dropped. Instead, MN plead no contest to two non-alcohol-related minor traffic tickets: Inattentive Driving and Improper Stop at Stop Sign. Aside from paying fines, MN suffered no consequences. He never lost his license for even a single day and his CDL was completely saved. As was his job. Another very real result.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Attorney Murray Gets a Hat Trick

January 22, 2015: Client Avoids OWI - 3rd Conviction for Second Time with Our Firm

After a year of college and four years as an apprentice, B.O. had become a journeyman lineman when he was charged with his third drunk driving offense.  The mandatory license revocation would result in him losing his job and possibly his career.  He hired Melowski & Associates when things initially looked bleak.  Someone called B.O. in after he was observed throwing up in a parking lot.  The officer observed B.O. driving erratically, the field sobriety tests were not favorable, and the blood test was high.  Things would have been difficult had the case made it to trial.  Attorney Murray knew the case would have to be won ahead of time and went to work right away.  At the administrative suspension hearing, the officer admitted that B.O. had asked multiple questions about the blood test; however, when a motion was filed attacking what was discussed, the officer testified there had been no questions, and had there been he would have noted them in his report.  When Attorney Murray brought out a copy of the transcript from the prior hearing, it was apparent the officer had either made a mistake or was lying.  Either way, things started looking better.  The judge took the case under advisement and prior to a decision on the motion being rendered, the prosecution agreed to amend the drunk driving charges to a Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, which carries zero license revocation and no ignition interlock device.  B.O. kept his license, job and career.  Many attorneys do not even bother requesting the administrative suspension hearing.  At Melowski & Associates, we know that outcomes like these begin with that hearing and that is why we request the hearing in just about every case.  What makes this an even greater outcome is that this is the second time our firm was able to help B.O. avoid a drunk driving conviction.

January 20, 2015: OWI - 1st with Admission to Drinking More Than 20 Beers Amended to Inattentive Driving

A.J., also a journeyman lineman, was in a similar position to the post above.  Charged with an OWI - First Offense, his career was on the line due to the mandatory license revocation.  This was another difficult case, mainly because A.J. had admitted to drinking over 20 beers and the officer testified that A.J. fishtailed so badly that he thought he was going to roll the vehicle.  Nevertheless, A.J. had no choice but to fight the case.  He hired Melowski & Associates and Attorney Murray fought the case aggressively through municipal court and then on an appeal to circuit court.  At the municipal court level, it was discovered that the breath test would be inadmissible as the breath test operator had left the department and moved out of state.  Sometimes you get lucky.  However, the prosecutor refused to budge, thinking they had an easy win with the driving and horrible admission of drinking 20 beers.  After the appeal to circuit court, Attorney Murray made it clear that despite the bad facts, we would be fighting the case and would be going through with a jury trial.  Then the reckless driving offer came.  Normally, this offer would be a no-brainer in a case as difficult as this.  The problem was that A.J. had a Michigan license and Michigan suspends licenses for reckless driving citations, meaning he would still lose his job. Attorney Murray refused the offer and in turn offered an inattentive driving ticket, a minor traffic offense that would not result in license loss in Wisconsin or Michigan.  The prosecutor finally gave in and A.J. couldn't be happier.

December 2014: Criminal Hit and Run of Attended Vehicle Dropped to Minor Non-Moving Traffic Violation

S.O. smashed into the back of a semi while the driver of the semi was sleeping in the cab.  S.O. pulled his car into a nearby parking lot, panicked and left on foot.  Officers came to his apartment, and while they suspected drunk driving, they could not prove it given the time that had passed.  Instead, they charged S.O. with the crime of Hit and Run of an Attended Vehicle, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000.00 fine.  However, one thing that was overlooked by the prosecution was that they had to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that S.O. knew the vehicle was attended or occupied.  Since the driver of the semi was sleeping in the cab and never woke up until police arrived, this would have been a very difficult task.  When Attorney Murray pointed this out, the prosecution amended the charge to a non-moving traffic violation for failing to report an accident.  Aside from paying a forfeiture, S.O. did not spend a single day in jail, does not have a criminal conviction, and did not even receive an assessment of demerit points.  S.O. was ecstatic.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

Two More Fantastic Outcomes: Complete Dismissal of OWI-2nd and an OWI-1st Reduced to Two Minor Traffic Tickets

1) Complete Dismissal of OWI-2nd/PAC-2nd (with .10 Breath Test Result) for CDL Client Facing Lifetime Disqualification

The stakes in this case for our client, WC, couldn't have been much higher. As an over-the-road truck driver, WC was facing lifetime disqualification of his commercial driving privileges if he was convicted of his second offense drunk driving charge. With a young family to care for, this would be financially devastating. After substantial internet research, including the outcomes described right here on the Real Results Tracker, WC put his family's future in the hands of Dennis Melowski. As of January 13, 2015, WC has nothing more to worry about. Dennis was successful in having the entire case against WC thrown out by the judge, after Dennis convinced him that the officer did not have a sufficient basis to pull WC over in the first place. It was the best possible outcome WC could have hoped for because it is as if the charges were never even issued the first place. The sense of relief WC experienced when Dennis delivered the great news had to be witnessed to be believed. Suffice it to say, he couldn't be happier.

2) OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .10 Breath Test Result) Reduced to Two Minor Traffic Tickets

This was yet another high stakes case with a tremendous outcome. Our client, CR, is an English citizen here in the United States on a work visa as an engineer. An OWI conviction would severely compromise his status and likely would cost him his job. CR was such a valuable asset to the company for whom he worked that it was actually his employer who sought Dennis Melowski out to defend CR's case. They had as much at stake as CR...they simply couldn't afford to lose him. Despite having some  very difficult facts to overcome, including the fact that CR was called in by an off-duty police officer because of his driving, Dennis was able to undermine the prosecutor's case just enough to negotiate an outstanding resolution. Under the terms of the deal Dennis worked out, the original charge of OWI-1st was reduced to the non-alcohol-related, minor traffic offense of Inattentive Driving. The remaining PAC-1st charge was reduced to the even more minor offense of Impeding Traffic by Slow Speed. Aside from paying some fines, CR suffered no consequences. He never lost his license for even a single day and was completely spared of the awful drunk driving conviction. His work visa status went completely unscathed. Both he and his employer are thrilled.