Friday, October 27, 2017

Fantastic Results for Three of Attorney Murray's Clients

Case #1: Operating With Detectable Amount of Restricted Controlled Substance-Second Offense Completely Dismissed

JR was pulled over for speeding around 9:30 PM on a Saturday while driving three friends home from a night out. She informed the officer that she was the designated driver and that she had not been drinking. The officer then had JR step out of the vehicle to blow a preliminary breath test (PBT). The first PBT did not register. The officer then questioned JR again if she was not drinking and now JR admitted that she had consumed alcohol. The PBT resulted in a "quick reading" that confirmed JR had been drinking. The officer then put JR through field sobriety tests, which she allegedly failed and another PBT was administered, which gave a result of .085 g/210L. JR was arrested for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)-Second Offense and a blood test returned a result of .07 g/100mL.

While prosecutors can choose to move forward on an OWI charge with a .07 result, it is much easier to work out an amendment to a lesser ticket in these situations. In spite of this, what many people do not realize is that if law enforcement does not like the result of the blood test, they can test your blood again for drugs, which is what happened in JR's case. The bigger problem is that any detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance is enough to prosecute someone as if it were an OWI. Unfortunately for JR, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC was found in her blood and the prosecution would not agree to amend the charge. On the other hand, JR hired Attorney Matthew Murray who successfully argued that the officer did not have the requisite reasonable suspicion or probable cause to extend the stop for the first PBT.

The real key to this was getting the officer to admit at the motion hearing that he never observed any of the typical signs of intoxication from JR--i.e., bloodshot eyes, odor of intoxicants, slurred speech, etc. Knowing how to cross-examine an officer is essential for these types of cases. In fact, at the motion hearing, the officer stated that the only reason he gave JR a PBT was to confirm whether she was telling the truth about drinking. It would be an enormous encroachment on our Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures if an officer could simply administer a PBT to anyone to see if they were telling the truth about drinking. Case dismissed. Happy client.

Case #2: OWI/PAC-First Offense with .14 and Horrible Facts Amended to Reckless Driving.

KB was in a difficult position. A deputy found her asleep in the driver seat of her vehicle on the side of a county highway. The deputy had to knock several times and yell before KB awoke. The deputy alleged that there was a strong odor of intoxicants coming from KB and that her eyes were bloodshot and glassy. She told the deputy that as she was driving home she felt too drunk so she pulled over. The officer took KB's driver's license back to his car and when he returned, KB was vomiting inside her car and on herself. KB then allegedly failed the field sobriety tests and submitted to an Intoximeter test resulting in .14. Not good. 

However, after reviewing hours of recordings and ferreting through police reports, Attorney Murray observed in the video of the Intoximeter room that the deputy used hand sanitizer immediately before handling the mouthpiece where KB was to blow. In fact, the deputy used so much that he had to use a napkin to wipe up the excess sanitozer that landed on the desk. While Attorney Murray filed several motions, a challenge to the admissibility of the Intoximeter test result was the breaking point and an amendment to Reckless driving was given.

Believe it or not, many attorneys do not bother getting the Intoximeter room recordings. KB sure is glad she hired an attorney who did.

Case #3: OWI-First Offense Amended to Inattentive Driving

AN was arrested and blew a .09 on a PBT at the scene. However, her blood test returned a result of .078. As noted above in JR's case, many prosecutors will still decide to move forward with these prosecutions and that could very well have happened here as AN had admitted to drinking, failed the standard field sobriety tests and also failed an alphabet test. This, however, would have been something we would have fought all the way. Knowing this, the prosecutor offered to amend the matter to a citation for Reckless Driving. This was rejected by the defense and the case ultimately settled with the lesser citation for Inattentive Driving. Another great result.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Third Offense with mandatory 45 days jail dropped to First Offense with no jail

TH's first two offenses were in 1993 and 1995. Unfortunately, after 22 years of being a model citizen, she was recently arrested for a third offense and was now facing between 45 days and 1-year jail and all the other enhanced penalties that come along with a third offense.

After pouring over the discovery, Attorney Murray was able to find an attack on TH's 1995 offense. TH offered to plead to a first offense if the prosecution would concede the argument but the District Attorney's Office refused.

*A second offense committed more than 10 years after the first offense is considered another first offense. Any offense committed thereafter, even 50 years down the road, is considered a third offense.

Attorney Murray then filed the challenge to the 1995 conviction along with three other motions challenging the arrest, the administration of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test and the Informing the Accused form used to ask individuals to submit to a blood draw. The morning of the motion hearing the prosecutor finally agreed to Attorney Murray's initial proposition. TH was so happy she hugged Attorney Murray and told him she was so happy she could kiss him. We are pretty happy too. This was another great result.

Monday, September 11, 2017

8 More Clients Avoid Drunk Driving Convictions in Cases Ranging from OWI-1st to OWI-3rd

Case #1: OWI-3rd/PAC-3rd (with .186 blood test result) Reduced to Non-Traffic                  Misdemeanor

This was a case Dennis Melowski litigated for 3 years because his client, GL, had a very good job as a sales rep that absolutely required a valid driver's license. Had GL been convicted of the original OWI-3rd charge, he would have lost his job immediately. Not only that, he would have been facing a several-month jail sentence; a 3-year license revocation; thousands of dollars in fines; and potentially years of IID-installation. All of this was avoided when, about a week before the scheduled jury trial, Dennis finally convinced the prosecutor to drop the drunk driving charges in exchange for a no contest plea to a reduced charge of Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, which is a non-alcohol-related, non-traffic misdemeanor that would not even appear on GL's driver record. Aside from being placed on probation for one year and paying a fine, GL suffered no consequences. He never lost his license for even a single day and spent no time in jail. Most importantly, his career was saved. GL was enormously happy with this fantastic outcome, so much so that he posted the following 5-star review of Dennis' work on the independent lawyer-rating website AVVO: 

Professional and Amazing: 5.0 stars

If you are reading this and your are looking for the best, look no further. I was facing a 3rd OWI and I contacted Dennis Melowski and I can tell you that you wont find a more professional or understanding lawyer. I also can tell you first hand that Dennis will not give up even when it gets tough. There wasn't a time that my questions or phone call weren't answered. After almost 3 years Dennis was able to get me a AWSOME result, nothing on my driving record, minor fine. 
Thank you Dennis Melowski for my life back!!!!

Case #2: OWI-1st/PAC-1st Reduced to Minor Traffic Ticket; CDL Client's Career is Saved

MP has been an over-the-road truck driver for years. It's a lucrative business, but one that obviously requires a valid CDL. Had MP been convicted of the OWI or PAC charges he was facing, he literally would have lost everything. Fortunately for MP, he was referred to Dennis Melowski by a former client (also a CDL holder) whose career Dennis had saved. And Dennis did the same for MP. After extensive litigation at the municipal court level, Dennis was able to expose several significant holes in the prosecutor's case against MP, holes that ultimately allowed for an incredible result. MP was able to enter no contest pleas to a minor traffic ticket and a minor municipal ordinance violation which would not even appear on MP's driver record. Aside from paying fines, MP suffered no consequences. He never lost his license and his CDL remains fully intact. MP is a very satisfied client.

Case #3: Another Fantastic Result for a CDL Client: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .11 breath test result) Reduced to Reckless Driving 

JS was another over-the-road truck driver who resided in another state on the east coast. His routes took him all over the country. Like MP, JS was facing the end of his successful trucking business if he was convicted of the drunk driving charges he was facing. But Dennis Melowski made sure that didn't happen. Despite some difficult facts, Dennis was able to negotiate an outstanding resolution for JS that resulted in the OWI and PAC charges being dropped in exchange for a plea to a reduced charge of Reckless Driving. This resulted in no license loss for JS and absolutely no impact on his CDL. Thanks to Dennis, his business is still thriving.

Case #4: Complete Dismissal of OWI-1st/Restricted Controlled Substances; Posession of THC and Posession of Paraphernalia Charges 

KJ was stopped for speeding. After making some initial observations, the officer summoned a K-9 unit to the scene for a drug search of KJ's vehicle. Marijuana and drug paraphernalia were ultimately found and, after allegedly failing some field sobriety tests, KJ was arrested for not only the drug charges, but for Operating While Impaired by a restricted controlled substance (marijuana). After careful review of the video evidence, and after thorough questioning of the officers at a DOT hearing, Dennis Melowski discovered significant problems with the officers' handling of the roadside encounter. Dennis filed a number of legal challenges and, following several contested hearings, the judge ultimately ruled in Dennis' favor. Just as Dennis had argued, the judge determined that the officers did not have a sufficient basis to justify the K-9 search of KJ's vehicle, which meant the search was illegal and any fruits of that search (the drugs, the paraphernalia, the field sobriety tests and even the blood test that showed THC in KJ's system) were all thrown out. Because the prosecutor was literally left with no evidence in the case, ALL charges against KJ were dismissed. It was the best possible outcome for KJ. And he could not possibly be any happier.

Case #5: OWI-1st/Refusal of Chemical Test Resolved with Non-Traffic Misdemeanor for CDL/Power Lineman Client

Dennis Melowski has saved the careers of countless power linemen over the years. A dangerous but very well-paying career, most power line work requires a valid CDL. A drunk driving conviction (with its mandatory CDL disqualification) is typically a professional death senetnce in this line of work. That was the bleak prospect our client, AS, was facing when he was arrested and chrged with his first OWI, along with the equally problematic charge of refusing the subsequent blood test. A conviction on either of these charges would have meant the end of AS's budding career as a power lineman. But that never happened thanks to the hard work and shrewd lawyering of Dennis Melowski. After raising a number of legal challenges on AS's behalf, even the prosecutor assigned to the case was forced to concede that there were significant problems with how the arresting officer handled the investigation in AS's case. In the end, both the OWI and Refusal charges were dropped in exchange for a plea of no contest to a non-alcohol-related, non-traffic misdemeanor offense that would not even appear on AS's record. It was a fantastic result and one that accomplished AS's goal of saving his career.

Case #6: Yet Another CDL Victory: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .17 breath test result) Reduced to Two Minor Traffic Tickets

RZ owns and operates a successful excavating business that requires a valid CDL. A conviction on the charges he was facing would have ended that. Not only would his CDL have been disqualified, he would not be able to afford the exhorbitant insurance rates for all of the vehicles and equipment he owned that were essential to his business. In short, the stakes couldn't have been higher, which is the reason he hired Dennis Melowski to represent him after being referred by several others whom Dennis had helped over the years. And Dennis delivered in a big way for RZ. After a devastating cross-examination of the arresting officer at a pretrial motion hearing, the prosecutor knew her case would be in grave jeopardy if it went to trial. Rather than risking a complete loss, the prosecutor agreed to a resolution involving just two minor traffic tickets. RZ's CDL was spared and his business continues to thrive.

Case #7: OWI-1st/Refusal of Chemical Test Reduced to Two Minor Traffic Tickets

Talk about a lot at stake. Dennis Melowski's client, RW, has a great job with a large multi-national company that requires him to travel to Canada on a regular basis. It is very dificult to travel to Canada with a drunk driving conviction on one's record, since such an offense is considered a felony there. Any disruption in RW's ability to go to Canada would have resulted in his termination from a high-paid position. He had no choice but to fight his charges and he selected Dennis Melowski for the task. It was the best decision RW could have made. After discovering an issue that most lawyers would likely have missed, Dennis was able to leverage a fantastic result for RW. The drunk driving and Refusal charges were dropped. In exchange, RW entered no contest pleas to the minor traffic offenses of Inattentive Driving and Improper Parking Off Roadway. Aside from paying fines, RW suffered no consequences. He still has his job...and a trmendous amount of gratitude. Hiring the best almost always pays off.

Case #8: OWI-2nd/PAC-2nd (with .175 blood test) Reduced to Non-Traffic Misdemeanor

Dennis Melowski isn't even sure how he got the prosecutor to agree to the resolution in this case. It involved some very difficult facts. Dennis' client, NS, was found passed out behind the wheel of his vehicle in the middle of a county highway...across the centerline. He performed poorly on the field sobriety tests and had a blood test result more than double the legal limit. But after pushing the case to the brink of trial, Dennis was able to achieve a remarkable result. NS pled no contest to a reduced charge of Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, an offense that does not involve any license revocation and will not even appear on NS's driver record. Sometimes the best lawyers get results simply because of their reputation for winning. Case in point.  

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Landmark Win in the Wisconsin Supreme Court for Dennis Melowski: State's High Court Tosses a Blood Test Result in a Felony OWI-Injury Case Due to Coerced Consent**

In a landmark decision that will have a statewide impact on drunk driving prosecutions, Dennis Melowski was able to successfully convince the Wiscosnin Supreme Court that his client's .10 blood test result should be thrown out in a prosecution for a serious felony OWI-Injury case. Dennis argued that the form read to his client seeking his consent to a blood test was misleading and unlawfully coercive. The "Informing the Accused" form is one that is used by all law enforcement agencies across the state of Wisconsin. It is read any time an officer wants a suspected impaired driver to consent to a breath or blood test following an arrest, which is virtually every case. This form, however, significantly misstates the consequences a person is facing for refusing such a test when they have been involved in an accident where there has been a serious injury or death. Essentially, the form threatens the accused driver with penalties that could not lawfully be enforced. Because the penalties that were threatened to Dennis' client could not be enforced in his situation, the High Court agreed with Dennis that his client's consent to the blood draw was coerced and not voluntary. If consent to a search (in this case a blood test) is not the product of voluntary consent, the fruits of the search (the alcohol level) have to be thrown out. Dennis' victory is being hailed as the most significant ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the field of DUI defense in 20 years.

The Supreme Court's full decision can be read here:

Media accounts of the decision can be read here:

**This was Dennis Melowski's fourth time arguing a case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court and his third victory.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Back-to-Back Jury Wins for Dennis Melowski

June 15, 2017: Client found Not Guilty of OWI-2nd/PAC-2nd (with .232 blood                                         test result)

JS's job was literally on the line in this case. Had the jury found him guilty, he would have been fired the very next day from his lucrative job with an energy company, a job that required him to have a valid CDL at all times. Despite being stopped for crossing the centerline, failing the field sobriety tests on camera and having a blood test result nearly three times the legal limit, Dennis Melowski was able to dismantle the State's case against his client through devastating cross-examinations of both the arresting officer and the blood analyst from the State Lab. Dennis was able to expose several exaggerations and inconsistencies in the officer's recounting of events, but the real damage was done to the blood evidence. Dennis was able to get the State's expert to admit to numerous failures of the machine used to test JS's blood sample, in addition to exposing a major failure in protocol the very morning JS's sample was tested. By the time Dennis was done, the jury had no confidence whatsoever in the State's blood evidence and they found JS NotGuilty of both the OWI and PAC charges. He walked out of the courthouse completely exonerated. He's also probably one of the happiest clients we've ever had.

June 20, 2017: Waukesha County Jury Finds Client Not Guilty of OWI-3rd,                                     PAC-3rd, and Operating with a Restricted Controlled Substance                                   (with .099 blood test and THC) 

Waukesha County juries are known for being conservative, so Dennis Melowski's plan of essentially calling three police officers liars as the cornerstone of his defense in CR's case was definitely a risky one. But given most of the overwhelmingly bad evidence in the case, Dennis had little choice. CR's performance on the field sobriety tests was quite poor...and captured on video. Even more damning was the fact that CR's blood had both an alcohol level above the legal limit and the presence of THC (marijuana). Add to that the fact that CR was very uncooperative after his arrest, and was even accused of urinating in the back of the squad car en route to the hospital. However, this was a case where CR was found passed out behind the wheel and the State's ability to prove its case hinged on whether or not they could prove the vehicle was running at the time the officers arrived on scene. You see, in Wisconsin, the vehicle does not have to be in motion for a person to be charged with an OWI-related offense. All the State has to prove is that the vehicle was running and that is enough to constitute vehicle "operation" under Wisconsin's tough drunk driving laws. 

All three cops who were on scene that night took the witness stand and swore under oath that CR's vehicle was running when they found him. In fact, they were quite adamant. But CR insisted that the keys were in his pocket the whole time. Dennis had no doubt his client was telling the truth, but could he possibly convince twelve citizens of Waukesha County that the cops were lying? As each cop testified, Dennis systematically destroyed them. Outright lies were exposed in two of the officers' reports, lies that the other officers repeated in their own testimony, unaware that Dennis had already gotten the officers to admit the "mistakes" (their word, not Dennis') they had made. This is why it's so important for witnesses to be "sequestered" during a trial, so they can't watch another witness testify and conform their own testimony as needed. So each cop took the stand, not knowing what the cop who testified before them was forced to admit under Dennis' withering cross-examination. When the next cop took the stand, he would stick to a story that had already been conclusively debunked. Even more problems with the officers' "version" were exposed as Dennis used their own video evidence against them. Dennis managed to make eye contact with several jurors who were literally shaking their heads in disbelief at the cops' manufactured testimony. Dennis had such complete faith that the cops' credibility had been completely destroyed that he decided not to call any witnesses himself, not even his own client. Just thirty minutes into their deliberation, the jury reached a unanimous verdict that CR was NOT GUILTY of all charges. CR's family, who were all in attendance, wept for joy as the verdicts were read. And CR? He was completely vindicated.

Here is the 5-star review that CR posted on the independent lawyer rating website Avvo regarding Dennis' work on his case:

My case went to trial and Dennis was THERE.

VERDICT: NOT GUILTY!!! Dennis has a lot of passion for what he does. I trusted him to get the job done and he did more than that. I have never been in a trial before but when the time came I am so glad that Dennis was there to represent me. He was so organized and had a passion for me and my case. In my opinion a good foundation for a lawyer is when you can find somebody that has a passion for what they do and they honestly believe in you. I will always be impressed by how Dennis carried himself in the courtroom during my trial, he is a leader, not a follower. If you want to WIN you will choose Dennis as your person to represent you! Thank you so many times Dennis!
5.0 stars

Thursday, May 18, 2017

4 of Attorney Murray's Clients Avoid Drunk Driving Convictions

Case # 1: OWI/PAC - 1st (with .138 blood test) Reduced To Reckless Driving

RS was coming home from a wedding in an unfamiliar area. He was radared  traveling 40 MPH in a 25 MPH zone, pulled over and put through field sobriety tests after the officer alleged glossy eyes, the odor of intoxicants and that RS nearly dropped his insurance paperwork out of the window when providing it to the officer.

The officer alleged that he observed all the clues on the HGN test, 3 of 8 clues on the Walk and Turn test, and 2 of 8 clues on the One Leg Stand test. RS also was unable to recite the alphabet as instructed by the officer. A preliminary breath test returned a result of 0.123. A blood test returned a result of 0.138.

Attorney Murray filed a motion asserting that the officer failed to provide the proper administrative suspension paperwork based upon the officer putting "no" in the paperwork that asks if a certain form was provided. The prosecutor responded that such paperwork is automatically populated by a computer and that the officer was prepared to testify that he indeed did provide the paperwork to RS. However, anticipating this at the beginning of the case, Attorney Murray specifically asked this question at the administrative suspension hearing and the officer indicated he did complete this particular section of the form manually.

Ultimately, the day before the motion hearing and jury trial, the prosecutor agreed to amend the charge. RS could not be happier as a drunk driving conviction would have made it difficult or impossible for him to visit his in-laws in another country. RS can now rest assured that he can leave the country with his wife to see family. He was so happy that he posted the 5-star review of Matt's work titled "Won my case" on the independent lawyer rating website Avvo:

Case # 2: OWI/PAC - 1st (with .18 Breath Test) Reduced Reckless Driving

DG was pulled over at 11:28 PM for traveling 41 MPH in a 35 MPH zone and for traveling over the fog line. She handed the officer her credit card when asked for her driver's license and the officer noticed the odor of intoxicants, red/glassy eyes, and slurred speech. DG denied drinking but was nevertheless asked to perform field sobriety tests, which she allegedly failed. A preliminary breath test returned a result of 0.19 and the evidentiary breath test at the police station return a result of 0.18. This occurred in 2014.

Occasionally, cases are lost or forgotten about by the prosecutor and that is what happened here. Attorney Murray laid low knowing full well that the longer the case remains pending, the stronger the case for a motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute. Years later, the court discovered what was happening and scheduled a hearing. Attorney Murray was then able to work out an amendment to a Reckless Driving ticket.

Case # 3: OWI/PAC - 1st (with .211 Blood Test) Reduced to Reckless Driving

Officers were dispatched to a report of a red four-door car parked on railroad tracks. Upon arrival, there was no vehicle on the railroad tracks, but there was a red four-door car parked in a nearby parking lot. The officer pulled into the parking lot and the vehicle began to drive away. The officer then conducted a traffic stop, which ultimately led to LW being arrested for Operating While Intoxicated - 1st Offense. Attorney Murray was able to convince the prosecutor that the basis for the stop was insufficient and the parties agreed to resolve the case with a Reckless Driving ticket.

Case # 4: OWI/PAC - 1st (with .135 Blood Test) Amended to Non-Traffic Offense for CDL Client

FG had a difficult case. He was called in by a store owner stating that FG was driving on his lawn and doing doughnuts in the middle of the road. Police were dispatched and found FD stopped at a traffic light. FG had his foot on and off the brake at the light tot he point where his vehicle was visibly jerking. FG then cut the officer off going from the far right lane to the left turning lane. To make matters worse, FG had a bottle of liquor in the car and failed the field sobriety tests according to the officer. A blood draw was performed and the test returned a result of 0.135. Unfortunately, FG was also a commercial driver and a conviction on either the OWI or PAC charge meant that FG would lose his career.

Attorney Murray filed several motions challenging the initial detention, administration of the field sobriety tests, and the arrest. By watching the officer's body camera, Attorney Murray also discovered that FG's blood test was performed in the garage of the hospital because all of the emergency rooms were occupied. To make matters worse, everything was done beside a dirty garbage can with much of the equipment being placed on the lid of the garbage can! Based upon this discovery, Attorney Murray challenged the blood test. Prior to the motion hearing, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the OWI and PAC charges and have the non-alcohol related charge of Negligent Operation issued which does not show up on an individual's driving record. Career saved.

*Since joining Melowski and Associates in September of 2012, Attorney Murray has obtained 33 amendments or dismissals in drunk driving cases among many other fantastic results.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Another Melowski & Associates OWI-Homicide Client Avoids Prison: Pleads to Reduced Charge and Sentenced to One Year in the County Jail with Full Work-Release Privileges

Six of Dennis Melowski's last eight OWI-Homicide* clients have avoided prison and been sentenced to county jail time with work-release. This is a record of success in these difficult cases that simply can't be matched by any other attorney in Wisconsin. And Dennis' work in this particular case demonstrates the lengths to which his firm will go to achieve the best possible result for their clients. After taking over the case from a local attorney, Dennis discovered some shocking legal improprieties by the police, judge and prosecutor, the exposure of which ultimately resulted in the latter two individuals being removed from the case. Given the gravity of the issues Dennis unearthed, the Wisconsin Attorney General's Office took over the prosecution and a judge from a county 2.5 hours away was assigned. After months and months of legal wrangling and negotiations, a remarkable plea agreement was reached in which the original charges of OWI-Homicide and PAC-Homicide were dismissed. In exchange, Dennis' client entered a no contest plea to a reduced charge of Negligent Homicide, with the Attorney General's Office agreeing to a sentence of just 12 months in the local jail with full work-release privileges, meaning Dennis' client would be released 12 hours per day for his job. The reduced charge also carried only a 1-year license revocation as opposed to the mandatory 5-year revocation that the original charges entailed. In her statements to the judge at the sentencing hearing, the assistant attorney general remarked that she could not recall her office ever agreeing to such a low sentence in a case like this, but that her hand was essentially forced by the legal issues Dennis brought to light. In fact, the proposed sentence was so atypical that it had to be approved by the attorney general himself before she could proceed with the agreement. In the end, the judge followed the plea agreement to the letter and Dennis' client walked out of the courtroom (he also got two weeks to report) a VERY happy man. The local newspaper account of the outcome in the case can be read here:

*An OWI-Homicide carries a maximum penalty of 40 years imprisonment and a $100,000.00 fine.