Thursday, November 5, 2015

OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .246 blood test result) Reduced to Minor Traffic Ticket for CDL Client in Waukesha County

Our client, JJ, has been a truck driver most of his adult life. It's the career he loves and the sole means of providing for his wife and children. So when JJ got arrested for his first-ever drunk driving charge, his immediate concern was for his family. As most truck drivers know, a drunk driving conviction can be a professional death sentence, leading to immediate termination in most cases. Even worse, it can scare off future employers for years. In short, a drunk driving conviction was not something JJ could afford to have. After calling numerous lawyers who offered him no hope, JJ came across the Melowski & Associates website and read about the countless CDL clients the firm has helped over the years. After speaking with Dennis Melowski himself, JJ knew he had found the only lawyer up to the task of saving his career.

When Dennis first looked at JJ's case, he knew there were two things definitely working against him: JJ had a very high blood test result of .246; and his case was in Waukesha County, which is notorious for taking a very hard-line approach in drunk driving cases. But Dennis also knew that JJ had a very legitimate issue regarding the officer's initial stop of his vehicle. You see, the officer stopped JJ solely because his high-mounted rear brake light was out. That's it. The officer did not see JJ commit any other traffic violations, nor did he see JJ drive erratically. While a defective high-mounted rear brake lamp can provide a valid basis for a traffic stop in certain situations, Dennis knows that it requires the officer to have certain information about the particular vehicle before stopping the driver. If Dennis could get the officer to admit that he didn't have enough information about JJ's vehicle prior to the stop, he could very well get JJ's case dismissed. With his plan in place, the officer was carefully (and successfully) questioned about this very issue at JJ's administrative suspension hearing. Based on the officer's testimony at the this hearing, Dennis filed a number of legal challenges regarding the stop of JJ's vehicle. After a few hearings were held, Dennis was gradually able to convince the prosecutor that the stop of JJ's vehicle was invalid. Rather than risk having the whole case dismissed, the prosecutor agreed to drop the drunk driving charges against JJ, in exchange for a no contest plea to the minor traffic ticket of Inattentive Driving, which carries only a fine. JJ's license would not be suspended and his CDL privileges would be completely spared. Most important, JJ would avoid the professional death sentence of a drunk driving conviction. Needless to say, JJ was thrilled with this fantastic result. So thrilled, in fact, that he posted a 5-star review of Dennis' work on the independent lawyer rating website Avvo. You can read JJ's review here (it's titled "CDL OWI first offense case):

Thursday, October 29, 2015

OWI-1st (Prescription Drugs) Reduced to Reckless Driving

This was a perplexing case.  SH, who was coming home from working as a nurse at a hospital, was called in for weaving all over the road.  She was pulled over and performed so poorly on the field sobriety tests that it was one of the worst videos we have ever seen.  Yet, SH had not consumed any alcohol or illegal drugs.  Nevertheless, she was arrested for OWI and blood was drawn, returning a positive test for Lorazepam.  With her career as a nurse on the line, she hired Attorney Matthew Murray and he began working on the case immediately.  The prosecutor initially refused to do much even though SH was within the therapeutic range for her Lorazepam prescription.  This was based in part on how bad the driving was and how poorly SH performed on the field sobriety tests.  The prosecutor believed the municipal court judge would not have a problem finding AH guilty.  A week before trial, however, the prosecutor came around when it was apparent we were serious about fighting the charge.  It was also apparent that we would be appealing the case to a jury trial at the circuit court level if we did not prevail at the municipal court level, something we have done several times against this prosecutor.  Given our past successes, the prosecutor thought a guilty verdict at a jury trial would be difficult and agreed to reduce the charge to a Reckless Driving ticket, which consists of only paying a fine.  SH was completely spared of an OWI conviction. She also never lost her license and her career was saved.  She could not be happier.  Neither could we.  These prescription drug cases are becoming more frequent and, as in this case, can be completely involuntary.  These are the kinds of cases that should not result in convictions and the loss of careers.  Unfortunately, prosecutors still pursue convictions and it is an honor and a privilege to help those in this very difficult situation.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Complete Dismissal of 3rd Offense Case in Ozaukee County on Morning of Motion Hearing

BH was charged with his third offense in Ozaukee County.  Ozaukee County is notorious for prosecuting drunk driving offenses to the fullest extent and refused to do much for BH initially.  On the other hand, our firm is notorious for defending drunk driving cases to the fullest extent. Something would have to give. In this case, as in any other case we handle, Attorney Matt Murray combed through all the reports and recordings, when a golden nugget revealed itself. Following BH's breath test, the booking video clearly showed BH asking if he could have the alternative blood test free of charge, which is his right under Wisconsin law in such a situation.  Yet, the arresting officer never responded to BH's question. She kept side-stepping the request, stating things such as “well, the machine is accurate … this is not a borderline result,” etc. In essence, the officer was trying to discourage BH from seeking an alternative test. Attorney Murray filed a motion to suppress (throw out) BH's breath test results on the grounds that the officer did not give BH the alternative blood test he had asked about, violating his rights in the process. When Attorney Murray initially raised this issue, the officer actually filed a supplemental report denying that BH had ever asked about a blood test, much less that she did anything to discourage such a test, not knowing that she was caught red-handed on the booking video. Finally, on the morning of the motion hearing, the prosecutor learned of the officer's actions as depicted by the video and agreed to dismiss the drunk driving charge.  BH could not be happier and neither could we.  This was a case in which the officer’s misconduct was exposed, protecting not just BH, but hopefully all citizens from such misconduct in the future. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .12 Breath Test Result) Completely Dismissed in Middle of Jury Trial

JAS was on his way to watch a concert in Appleton when he was stopped for speeding on Highway 41. When asked by the deputy if he had been drinking, JAS admitted to 6 beers. However, the deputy made no other observations that would suggest JAS was impaired. Nevertheless, the deputy subjected JAS to field sobriety tests and, based on what the deputy believed was poor performance, arrested JAS for drunk driving. A subsequent breath test at the sheriff's department revealed an alcohol level of .12. Upset and panicked after what happened, JAS met with Attorney Sarvan Singh and explained that evening’s events. While he admitted to drinking 6 beers, JAS also believed he had done well on the field tests. As Attorney Singh listened to JAS, he realized there may be hope. After delving into the police reports, breath records, and the arrest video, Attorney Singh noted substantial discrepancies between what was written in the deputy's report and what was displayed on video. He also discovered that the breath test machine used on JAS had not been properly maintained in the months leading up to the test. Armed with this knowledge, Attorney Singh proceeded to trial, which was his only option given the prosecutor's unwillingness to plea bargain. During trial, Attorney Singh did significant damage to the deputy's credibility on cross-examination, getting the deputy to concede there were several things in his report that did not correlate with what was shown on video. Furthermore, the County left out certain, vital information regarding the breath-testing device. At the close of the County’s evidence, Attorney Singh argued to the judge that the County failed to prove its case concerning the breath test. The judge agreed and did not allow the County to proceed on the breath test charge. After this ruling, the prosecutor, seeing how poor the deputy’s testimony was, chose to dismiss the remaining drunk driving charge. This meant that both the Operating While Intoxicated charge as well as the Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration charge were completely dismissed. Instead of being saddled with a drunk driving conviction for the rest of his life, JAS walked out of trial with a simple speeding ticket and one very big smile.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Add 3 More to the List: 3 More Melowski & Associates Clients Avoid Drunk Driving Convictions

Case #1: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .177 blood test) Reduced to Reckless Driving

An attorney's reputation for winning carries a lot of weight in negotiations. In fact, there may be nothing that's more important. The outstanding outcome in this case is a perfect example of that. Facing difficult facts, our client, FF, had to fight his case because his job required that he have no restrictions on his driving privileges. Despite being stopped for two alleged instances of crossing the centerline; an alleged admission of drinking "6 beers and a Bloody Mary"; performing poorly on the roadside tests; and having a blood test result more than twice the legal limit, Dennis Melowski was able to undermine the prosecution's case just enough to negotiate a very favorable resolution. Aware of Dennis' reputation for having an unmatched record of trial successes in drunk driving cases, the prosecutor agreed to drop the drunk driving charges in exchange for a plea to a reduced charge of Reckless Driving, which is a non-alcohol related traffic offense that carries no license loss. In addition, FF was able to completely avoid installing an ignition interlock device, which would have been mandatory under the original charges due to FF's blood test result. Aside from paying a fine, FF suffered no consequences from this incident. 

Do yourself a favor, ask other lawyers to whom you might be speaking to share their specific successes in drunk driving cases from the past year. And then ask yourself if you are impressed with the answer. If they even give you one.

Case #2: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .11 breath test result) Reduced to Reckless Driving

Our client, SA, was absolutely committed to not becoming a convicted drunk driver. As a retired professional with an impeccable reputation in his community, SA could not bear the fact of such a stigma. So Dennis Melowski litigated the case for nearly two years. Finally, just a few days prior to SA's jury trial, the prosecutor decided he had had enough. Knowing that Dennis was hell-bent on seeing the case through, the prosecutor agreed to drop the drunk driving charges, along with the speeding citation that was the reason for the initial stop. In exchange, SA plead no contest to a reduced charge of Reckless Driving. He never lost his license for even a single day and was completely spared of the permanent stain of a drunk driving conviction. He couldn't be happier.

You can read SA's 5-star review of Dennis' work on his case on the independent lawyer rating website Avvo by clicking here (the review is titled "DUI Case"):

Case #3: OWI-1st/PAC-1st Reduced to Reckless Driving for One of Attorney Matt Murray's Clients

JT would lose his job if his licensed were revoked or suspended. Given what he had to lose, he had to fight his case. Attorney Matt Murray went to work immediately and convinced the judge to stay JT's administrative suspension that occurs prior to any conviction. After that, Matt pushed the case to trial. A few days prior to the trial date, the prosecutor called and came right out with an offer to resolve the case with just a Reckless Driving ticket. Thanks to Matt's hard work, JT never lost his license and saved his job. It's what our firm is known for.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

6 More Clients Avoid Drunk Driving Convictions Across the State

Our reputation for obtaining exceptional results is such that we attract clients from literally every corner of Wisconsin. The following results have capped what might have been our most successful Summer ever, in cases from counties that span nearly the entire length of the state:

Case #1: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .174 blood test) Amended to Non-Alcohol-Related Charge for CDL Client

Like all of our CDL clients, RJ could not afford a drunk driving conviction. It would put him out of business. Despite having a blood test result that was more than twice the legal limit, he had to fight the case. There was simply no viable alternative. After getting his name from several different people as the only lawyer for the job, RJ hired Dennis Melowski. Although the blood test and video evidence in RJ's case were not favorable, Dennis was able to craft an argument to challenge the officer's initial reason for stopping RJ's vehicle. As it turns out, there was nothing wrong with RJ's driving prior to being pulled over. He was not speeding; he was not deviating from his lane; and all of his vehicle's equipment was working properly. The officer, however, believed that he had heard RJ unnecessarily "revving his engine" and pulled him over because of it. Knowing that officers need an "objective reason" to perform a traffic stop, Dennis filed a motion to dismiss the charges, arguing that the officer could provide only a subjective reason...his personal belief that the engine was revved unnecessarily. After a motion hearing, the judge took the issue under advisement and stated she would issue her decision at a later time. Believing the judge would ultimately agree with Dennis, the prosecutor agreed to a very favorable settlement for RJ. Under the terms of the deal, the drunk driving charges were dropped in exchange for RJ's willingness to plead no contest to a completely non-alcohol-related misdemeanor charge. This charge would have no impact on RJ's regular or CDL privileges and would not even appear on his driver record. It was about the best outcome RJ could have hoped for and his business is still thriving because of it.

Case #2: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .108 blood test) Reduced to Reckless Driving in Very Difficult County

The outcome in BP's case is a perfect example of the lengths to which our firm will go in our efforts to obtain exceptional results for our clients. BP's case went on for nearly a year and a half. Through a contested municipal court trial, to an appeal to circuit court where multiple legal issues were raised and litigated, Dennis Melowski left no stone unturned in his commitment to his client's cause. Although several of Dennis' legal challenges were denied by the judge, at each hearing Dennis was able to further undermine the arresting officer's credibility on several key points in the case. Finally, about 10 days before BP's jury trial in circuit court, the prosecutor realized that there would be enough problems with the officer's credibility that a conviction on the drunk driving charges was in grave doubt and a very favorable resolution was reached. The drunk driving charges were dropped. In exchange, BP entered a no contest plea to a reduced charge of Reckless Driving, which resulted only in a fine. BP was completely spared of an awful drunk driving conviction and never lost his license for a single day. 

The result in BP's case was remarkable for a few reasons. First, it occurred in a county that is notorious for its unwillingness to plea bargain drunk driving cases. Second, BP is an out-of-state resident employed in the healthcare field and is subject to professional licensing in his home state. Had he been convicted of the drunk driving charge, it would have been professionally devastating. In addition, BP's home state treats drunk driving convictions even more harshly than Wisconsin. A conviction here would have disrupted BP's ability to lawfully drive in his home state for an extended period of time, making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for him to continue in his present position. The result that Dennis Melowski was able to obtain avoided all of that and BP is a very satisfied client.

Case #3: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .196 blood test) Reduced to Two Minor Traffic Tickets

This was an outcome that seemed impossible at the outset of KH's case given the allegations. Repeated lane deviations, poor performance on the filed sobriety tests captured by the officer's squad camera and a very high blood test result of .196 made this a very uphill battle. But there was one potential issue Dennis Melowski found in his careful review of all the evidence: the officer's squad video hardly showed a vehicle that was all over the road. At most, it showed some very minor deviations that appeared to occur entirely within KH's own lane of travel. Dennis believed that the officer's video did not show a sufficient basis for a traffic stop and he filed a motion to dismiss. At the hearing on Dennis' motion, prior to it even starting, Dennis was able to enlist the support of the officer himself in dropping the drunk driving charges. How? This officer is one whom Dennis has dealt with many times, and almost every occasion was favorable to Dennis' client. Rather than being dragged through the court process again with a similar outcome, both the officer and prosecutor agreed to just cut their losses by offering a plea agreement that KH simply couldn't refuse. Under the terms of the deal, the drunk driving charges were dropped. In exchange, KH agreed to plead no contest to two non-alcohol-related, minor traffic tickets: Inattentive Driving and Operating Left of Center. Aside from paying fines, KH suffered no consequences. She avoided the horrible stain of a drunk driving conviction; avoided the equally horrible ignition interlock device; and never lost her license for even a single day. Another very real result and another very satisfied client.

Case #4: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .153 blood test) Reduced to Two Minor Traffic Tickets

This was another outstanding outcome in a case with some difficult facts...for a client with a LOT at stake professionally. Despite a .153 blood test, TH was ultimately convicted of just two minor traffic tickets: Speeding and Inattentive Driving. Aside from paying a fine, he suffered no consequences and his job was saved. TH was so thrilled with the outcome that he posted a 5-star review of Dennis' work on the independent attorney rating website Avvo.* The review is titled "Great Results and Handled Everything!" and can be read here:

*Dennis has 69 client reviews on this website and each and every one is 5 stars. Dennis has the most 5-star client reviews of any DUI lawyer in Wisconsin.

Case #5: OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .136 blood test) Amended to Non-Traffic Misdemeanor for CDL Client

This was another case with difficult facts. EB had smashed his vehicle into a guardrail when he swerved to avoid a deer, causing significant damage to  both the guardrail and his own vehicle. Having occurred in a rural area, EB left the scene and drove home, only to be found there shortly thereafter by a police officer who followed a trail of vehicle fluid directly to EB's house. After a brief investigation, EB was arrested for drunk driving. A subsequent blood test revealed an alcohol level of .136. Despite the damning evidence, EB had to fight the case to keep his lucrative job, which required a CDL and operation of company-owned vehicles. A drunk driving conviction would result in immediate termination, as his employer's policy manual made very clear. EB chose Dennis Melowski for the task of saving his career after he had been provided Dennis' name by several friends and acquaintances. After months of litigation, including some novel legal issues, Dennis was able to gain enough leverage to negotiate a very favorable settlement that resulted in the drunk driving charges being dropped in exchange for a plea to a misdemeanor charge of Negligent Handling of a Weapon, of all things. This offense would not appear on EB's driver record and would have no impact on either his regular or commercial driving privileges. Most importantly, it would allow him to keep his job. Even better, Dennis secured an agreement from the judge and prosecutor to have the charge completely expunged from EB's record upon successful completion of a probation period. This means that it will be erased from EB's record as if it never happened in the first place. Another truly outstanding result.  

Case #6: OWI-1st/Refusal of Chemical Test Reduced to Two Non-Alcohol-Related Traffic Offenses 

This was a must-win case for our client, JF, whose job required extensive travel, both nationally and abroad. A suspension or revocation of his driving privileges would have placed that job in great jeopardy. And a drunk driving conviction would have prevented him from consideration for further advancement at his company, which held him in very high regard. Fortunately, Dennis Melowski was able to deliver in a big way for JF. After months of negotiating, Dennis was finally able to convince the prosecutor to agree to a very favorable resolution for JF. Both the drunk driving and Refusal charges were dropped in exchange for  pleas of no contest to reduced charges of Reckless Driving and Driving Too Fast for Conditions (JF's vehicle had slid off of a snow-covered road). Aside from fines, JF suffered no consequences. He avoided a drunk driving conviction and suffered no license loss. His very promising future remains fully intact.

If you are considering another law firm to represent you, please ask them to specify the outcomes of their clients' drunk driving cases over the past 3 months. We are confident you will here nothing close to this.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Two Clients Found Not Guilty in Back-to-Back Jury Trial Victories

Case #1: Milwaukee County Jury Finds Client Not Guilty of OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .14 breath test result)

Recently, Dennis Melowski heard from another lawyer that our firm shouldn't expect the same level of success in Milwaukee as in other counties. The lawyer explained that prosecutors don't budge and the juries are unforgiving in drunk driving cases. In response, Dennis simply pointed to Attorney Sarvan Singh's most recent jury trial victory, a .14 breath test case in Milwaukee County. Against the DA's office self-described "top gun" DUI prosecutor no less.**

Attorney Singh represented AA, a young man with a lot at stake. He had just graduated college as a chemical engineer and had a fantastic and lucrative job overseas. However, his employer would not allow for any alcohol-related conviction. Therefore, his entire livelihood hinged on whether he was found not guilty of the drunk driving charges he was facing. Initially, AA looked like he was facing an uphill battle. He failed to properly stop at a stop sign; admitted to drinking; performed poorly on the field sobriety tests; and blew a .14. Moreover, the officer who stopped AA specializes in OWI arrests and had nearly one thousand drunk driving arrests under his belt.

Since AA had so much at stake, Attorney Singh attempted a resolution that would still allow AA to keep his job. However, the prosecutor flat-out refused. There was no other option but to present AA's case to a jury.

Given the facts, the prosecution was very confident in its case and demanded to the judge that it take precedence over other trials scheduled that same day. During the first day, the County paraded its witnesses on the stand with the expectation of a quick victory. However, on the second day, things changed very quickly when Attorney Singh got his chance at cross-examination. Multiple conflicts in the testimony of police witnesses was exposed to the jury, putting the prosecutor on his heels. Attorney Singh also masterfully exposed flaws in the way the breath test was administered to AA, leaving significant doubt about the reliability of the result. By the end of day two, there was not much left of the prosecutor's slam-dunk case. After an hour of deliberation, the jury returned verdicts of NOT GUILTY on both the OWI and PAC charges.

Once the jury returned its verdicts, the relief on AA's face was immediate. He kept his job and would not have this one black mark derail his promising future.

**Our office has actually never lost to this particular prosecutor.

Case#2: Waushara County Jury Finds CDL Client Not Guilty  of OWI-1st/PAC-1st (with .123 blood test result)

This case was destined for trial from the beginning. Not only was RT pulled over in a county that takes a hard-line approach to prosecuting accused drunk drivers, he also had some very difficult facts to overcome. Stopped for excessive speeding, RT ultimately gave multiple conflicting statements to the officer about how much he had to drink, according to the officer at least. On top of that, the officer found an open container of beer in the console area of RT's truck. Combine those allegations with alleged failed field sobriety tests on camera and a .123 blood test result and RT looked like he was facing some very long odds. However, given his CDL status, RT knew he needed to do whatever he could to avoid the career-ending stigma of a drunk driving conviction. After discussing his situation with the owner of a trucking company, RT was told there was only one attorney for the job: Dennis Melowski.

Knowing that the prosecutor he was dealing with would not likely plea bargain RT's case, Dennis prepared the case for trial. After meticulously combing through the lab records pertaining to RT's blood test, Dennis found a smoking gun. As it turns out, the machine used to analyze RT's blood test failed a calibration test the very same day RT's sample was tested. This cast significant doubt on the reliability of RT's result. Armed with his findings, Dennis was able to do substantial damage to the prosecutor's case when he cross-examined the lab analyst during the trial. The arresting officer fared no better. During the officer's evasive testimony, it became very apparent that many of his claims regarding RT were overstated, if not outright manufactured. In the end, it took the jury** only 40 minutes to find RT NOT GUILTY of both the OWI and PAC charges. It was the best outcome RT could have hoped for and he was overcome with relief when the jury's verdicts were read in court. RT was so happy, in fact, that he posted a 5-star review of Dennis' work in his case on the independent lawyer rating website The review is titled "Got My Life Back" and can be read by clicking the following link:

**Immediately after the trial, two of the jury members waited around to speak with Dennis outside the courthouse to tell him how impressed they were with his performance. They even asked him for his card.